Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
In spite of a fine arrangement of intellectual thought, David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion has continued to evade perfect, or still believable, explanation. The first circumstance that was discussed by Hume which introduces evil is that contrivance or economy of the animal creation by which pains, as well as pleasures, are employed to excite all creatures to action, and make them vigilant in the great work of self preservation. The Second circumstance was the conducting of the world by general laws. Nature seems regular and law-governed, but there are still inexplicable and accidental events. Why doesn’t a compassionate god make these happy accidents? A few such events as these would change the face of the world, and yet no more seem to disturb the course of nature than the present economy of things.
The Third circumstance was the great prudence with which all powers and faculties are distributed to every particular being. Animals which excel in swiftness are commonly imperfect in force .The human species, whose chief excellence is reason and sagacity, is of all others the most necessitous, and the most deficient in bodily advantages. The fourth circumstance whence the unhappiness arises and ill of the universe is the imprecise workmanship of all the springs and principles of the great machine of nature. Rains are necessary to nourish all the plants and animals of the earth; but how often are they defective? How often excessive? Children! Possible? Have free will?