This question is asked in different ways. For example, “Why did God need to create anything? Is he incomplete without us?” or “It would be better if we did not exist. There would be no suffering. God, if he existed, would not have created us.”
I first ran into this problem a year ago when thinking about the problem of evil. I couldn’t find any way to handle it then so I just put it in my “I’ll get to it later’ drawer. But I was multiplying matrices the other day when it occurred to me: Maybe God created the world for the same reason some people paint. The world is beautiful, afterall. It has a lot of good. Who says that the evil trumps the good? Could it not be the other way around? Those who argue that God should not have created us because we would suffer seem to assume that the good in our lives and in the world at large do not compensate for that.
Take Kaithlyn for instance. Kaithlyn is a florist. Visiting her friend Bridget one day, she is handed a huge box of Roses.
“Why are you giving them to me?” Kaithlyn asks.
“My husband” she rolls her eyes in exasperation “got them somewhere. Some of them are obviously bad, but there might be a few good ones in there”
“They won’t be good enough to sell”
“Of course. But I’m sure you can find some use for them. I just plan to trash them.”
So, Bridget takes the box home and uses a few minutes to sort the flowers. A lot of them are bad, but she does find three good ones, looking as if they had been freshly picked. Pleased, she puts them in vases. Just then, her husband gets home and inquires into her actions. She explains and is shocked to find him displeased at her actions.
“You shouldn’t have taken them”, he says “Just look at how many useless ones there are.”
“But the useless ones are not a problem” Kaithlyn says. “But I got three good ones. I’ll just trash the bad ones. Aren’t those beautiful?”
Of course Kaithlyn’s husband is being silly. The flowers were free and it only took a few minutes to sort through them. She found three beautiful ones among them. As a result, the good result of her action outweighs the bad. It was well worth it. In fact, I personally think the only way Kaithlyn’s effort could have been wasted was if she hadn’t found one good flower among them.
Apply that to the existence of the universe. As long as the good God did in creating the universe is not outweighs the negative repercussions, it was a good idea. The taste of a good meal is worth the dirty utensils afterwards. A clean house is worth the trash that needs to be disposed.
So, does the Bad outweigh the good?
Sadly, I can’t take inventory of all the good and evil in the world, but I can speak from personal experience. I’ve had many many more wonderful
nights than bad ones. My current depression is worth it if only because it has produced in me a greater love, desire, and appreciation for my King. I’ve been healthy a lot more often than I’ve been sick. The good in my life outweighs the bad. There are soemtimes when it doesn’t seem that way. When I’m depressed all the good things in life feel worthless but we’ve already established that it’s an issue with my psychological state, not the world around me.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 1 Corinthians 4:16 – 18
For further study, some one has written a very complete and comprehensive (though hardly concise) series on the topic here: http://christianthinktank.com/gr5part1.html .
If you make it till the end, I doubt you could have any more questions about this topic. Seriously. Check it out.
NOTE: I know very little about flowers, so if there are any problems with my analogy, do point them out. Or just ignore them.