The Problem of Evil is arguably one of the biggest conflicts many people have with religion and God. I am currently reading a book by Ibn Qayyim that address Divine Wisdom and the Problem with Evil and although I'm not finished, I would like to mention a few points that Ibn Qayyim states that I felt would be worth sharing. I am interested in hearing your opinions and I hope we can have a respectful and inspiring discussion about this topic, God-Willing.
Ibn Qayyim, states:
"Although the existence [of a particular good] may be better than its non-existence, its existence [in all situations] may result in forgoing (fawat) something that is more beloved to God. Likewise, although the non-existence of something evil may be preferable to its existence [in one aspect] it may be that its existence is a means or a cause that leads [indirectly] to something more beloved to Him.~Ibn Qayyim.
In short, Ibn Qayyim states that although an existence of a particular good may be preferred, it might result in the surrender of something [existence] that is even more beloved to God. Likewise he states, that although the non-existence of an evil is preferred, that very existence might indirectly cause the existence of something that is beloved to God. I believe that this the root definition of what necessary evil is, meaning an evil existence that leads to a existence beloved by God. Of course, such knowledge of what an existence can directly and indirectly lead to, is something only God knows.
Ibn Qayyim, states:
"He asserts that one of the greatest reasons for the creation of
both good and evil is to manifest God’s Names, Attributes and
actions in a manner which is concordant with His wisdom: ‘If the
effects of His Names and Attributes cannot become manifest, except
by [creating] opposing [entities], then His wisdom deems it to be
inevitable that He bring them into existence. Had they not been
created, then His Attributes would not have become manifested;
and this is implausible.
"God loves repentance and loves to manifest His Attributes of forgiveness and mercy, so that the believer may become humble rather
than proud; and so he may recognize that it is only his deficient
nature, ignorance and injustice which results in sin.
Ibn Qayyim states, here that evil did not exist, then the Names and Attributes of God could not be manifested, or "displayed". Ibn Qayyim here also claims that the only way for God to manifest his Attributes is to create opposing entities (good and evil) which would result in his Attributes being manifested. Therefore the creation of evil and good would be inevitable according to God's Divine Wisdom.
In the next passage, Ibn Qayyim also states that God loves to manifest his forgiveness and mercy (which are Attributes of God) in order that a believer is humbled through his mercy and is aware that his own deficient and ignorant nature will result in his own downfall unless he repents and seeks forgiveness. This isn't necessarily related to the topic but it's related to the first premise and I thought it was worth sharing.
What are your thoughts on Ibn Qayyim's claims? Let me know if you have any questions.