Considering the prevalence of natural disasters such earthquakes and hurricanes that beleaguer humankind across the world, Swinburne is categorical that they are just but bad consequences of moral evil. To the religion philosopher, such sufferings cannot exist in the world in the presence of all-powerful and all-good God lest he permits them for the purposes of warning his humanly free agents against the future harm of evil actions.
Swinburne explains that even though God created humanly free agents (man) without any evil in them, they have the opportunity, power, and option to choose between morally evil and morally good actions. If men opt to do that which is morally evil, God would allow passive evil with bad consequences so that they become responsible for their actions. These bad consequences manifest in the forms of natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricane. As a result of these tormenting experiences, man learns responsibility by associating the evil actions with their future deadly consequences. So these sufferings shun man from engaging in evil actions hence are of great good to them.
I am not persuaded by Swinburne’s explanation at all. How can omnipotent and omnipresent God, as he portrays the maker on high, create humanly free agents with evil agents in them? The explanation is not satisfying because all-powerful God should be in a position to safeguard his beloved creatures against destruction and undesirable influence of the evil one. Definitely, this notion portrays God as a lesser authority over the evil force which he seems to have command over. Furthermore, God could only allow men to suffer mild consequences of evil but not severe calamities that cause massive loss of human lives such as earthquakes and hurricanes. On this basis, I strongly disagree with Swinburne’s explanation of the occurrence of natural disasters.