Divine Justice or the Problem of Evil
A question and its answer
Question: Now that we know that suffering and hardship could be used for the benefit of the individual, let us see what the benefits are in more detail. But, at this very point you might ask: Even if I agree that there is goodness and 'purpose in suffering, why couldn't God create the same result without suffering? If He is Omnipotent and Wise, why did He prescribe for us to go through all this difficulty and hardship to reach a developed stage?
We can answer this question in many ways, but there is a very basic answer that cuts the root of the problem from the very bottom and shows how narrow and unwarranted our questions are.
ANSWER: "Justice means to have a method and current according to a law (or a set of laws). So, unless there is a law outside a being who has to conform to that law, we cannot conceive justice.
A person is just when his method and practice is according to a law (or a set of laws) which its reality is outside the belonging of that person and is not changeable by that person. For example, in society there is a law that workers should be paid. This law is a reality outside the choice of the individuals. In other words, they cannot change this law individually. If somebody pays the worker he has observed justice and if' lie does not, he has not observed justice.
"This principle about justice, does not apply to God at all, since there is no law which can be outside the realm of God's power or choice and no law can restrict Him. Therefore, we say that God's actions are according to Divine `hikmah' or purpose, and not according to laws which we create through our knowledge and desires, and falsely compare them with His justice. In other words, the clay in the hands of the potter cannot make laws for the potter, and cannot compare the potter's justice with those laws."
This was the first answer that makes the question vanish completely. There is also another answer to the question. But before we go to that, let us repeat the question once again: "Why do we have to go through all these difficulties, created by God, in order to reach a developed stage?" We need to study the orders of existence to understand the second answer.
Orders of Existence
There are two orders in the beings of the world. We can cal! them the longitudinal order and the transversal order. The longitudinal order is the place of things in the cause and effect chain of creation. In the language of religion, Angels, The Book (of Allah), The Distributors, The Pen and so on, all show of a certain order and arrangement in existence. This order is not formal but necessary. In this order, the flame of a matchstick cannot compete with the Sun, and the change of a possible thing into something necessary is not imaginable. A cause cannot change its place with its own effect (at the same time and place). All the mistakes that we make that why `this' couldn't have been in the place of `that' or why an imperfect being can't change its place with a perfect being is because we have not understood the necessary and essential relations of things. We compare the existential order with conventional orders and social stratifications.
We think that when we can change a manager with his worker, or a landlord with a peasant, then why couldn't have a sheep been a human being. When the exploited workers and proletariat can overthrow and replace the rich exploiters, with belief and class struggle, why couldn't have God made a lame person a perfect athlete. This is impossible, because the cause being the cause and the effect being the effect is not conventional or formal. If `A' is the cause of 'B' it is because there is something in the nature of `A' that has made it the cause. Also, the specification of 'B' has made it relate to `A' and this specification is nothing but those attributes that have made 'B' exist. Once you take the specifications away from `B,' you are left with something else and not 'B.'
These specifications are real and not conventional or transferable. Take the number `5.' It comes after `4' and before `6.' You cannot put `5' anywhere else without loosing its identity. If you put it, say, before `4' it will be `3,' even if you call it `5 ' You cannot change the reality of `3,' although you change its name.
Between all creatures of the universe exists such a deep and existential order. If you take anything out of its existential place, it will loose its substance and will not be the same thing anymore. If you give four sides to a triangle instead of three, it is not a triangle anymore; in fact it is a square. Ibn Sina (Avicenna) has a nice sentence here. He said: "God did not make apricots into apricots, but He created apricots." What it means is that there was no stage when all the fruits were equal and then God discriminated between them.