In “Why were we created here and not just directly into heaven?” I explained that there is value in a moral history, and this is one reason why human beings were created as finite, imperfect creatures who can grow into the perfection toward which we’ve been called. Jason Thibodeau responded with, gulp, sarcasm:
“Babies who die, I’m sure, have undergone great personal transformations.”
I’m sure Jason could work this quip into a formal objection if he so chose. But let me respond to it in present form by making a supplementary point to my main claim: God can allow creatures to suffer for the benefit of other creatures.
Certainly human beings have no problem with this concept. For example, we omnivores believe it is morally permissible to allow all sorts of other creatures to suffer enormously because we like to eat them.
Now it is true that these are non-human animals, but it is also true that the gustatory reasons we subject them to suffering are not of great moral significance.
But let’s ask a question more strictly parallel. Is it moral for a parent to subject one of their children to suffer for the benefit of another? Let’s say that the Smiths realize their three year old son will die without receiving a blood transfusion which can only come from his infant brother. Is it licit for the parents to subject their infant son to the blood transfusion purely for the benefit of the three year old? Certainly.
God’s guardianship of creation is of a whole different order of magnitude from that of a mere human caregiver to their child. And so is his wisdom. Consequently, there seems to be very good reason to believe that at least some suffering endured by non-moral human and non-human agents could be allowed because it benefits (human) moral agents in some way.
Supplement that account with the promise that non-human agents who suffer in this life are compensated in the next and we are well on the way to understanding some of the reasons why God did not create with perfection in the first place.