Well, just to clarify, an omnipotent being is not necessarily benevolent or omniscient. So there is that. But, if we assume omniscience and benevolence, then we must assume that the current world exists in its current form for a particular reason. Seeing as how we have sentient life, and that suffering/happiness are virtually proven to be relative emotions, it would be my guess that the world exists in its current form as a means garnering experience. This experience of pain, suffering, worry, etc., is what allows a sentient being to understand and grasp that it’s future circumstances are either better or worse.
In other words, in order to create a paradise, you must first create something imperfect, yet capable of perfectly preparing one for paradise.
“Surely there must be a way to create beings which have knowledge of pain and suffering, but do not have to experience it in order to fully appreciate and understand the importance of not causing pain and suffering?”
Perhaps, but how can someone fully appreciate something without experiencing it? How can a blind man appreciate a sunset, or a deaf man appreciate a great symphony? I am sure that you can do so in some limited capacity, by describing it and visualizing or imagining it.
Simulations could be used, but if the simulation is to be meaningful in any way it would need to be realistic. This means that it would need to be far more advanced than an Oculus headset, it would need to cause sensations which could qualify as suffering or pleasurable. As I stated earlier, these sensations are virtually proven to be relative, meaning that the scale going from best to worst is relative to your personal experience. In this way, we have no way to reliably know that we aren’t already in a simulation, and that our experiences of pleasure or suffering aren’t already being reduced to that which we can bear.
Ultimately, given our current form of reality, assuming that we have a benevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent creator, and assuming that life persists beyond this reality (which is the predominant religious worldview), then we must also assume that this life has some critical lesson to impart in the form of personal experience. Additionally, given the predominant teaching among the world’s religions regarding the golden rule, it would appear to be reasonable to assume that this lesson is in regards to morality and the proper conduct of self in a group setting.
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