- The existence of evil is compatible with the existence of God, most theists would claim, because evil either results from the activities of free agents, or it contributes in some way toward their moral development.
- According to the 'free-will defence', evil and suffering are necessary consequences of free-will. Proponents of the 'soul-making argument' – a theodicy with a different emphasis – argue that a universe which is imperfect will nurture a whole range of virtues in a way impossible either in a perfect world, or in a totally evil one.
- The pain of animals is widely thought to constitute a major difficulty for both of these accounts, for if we ask whether the only evils present in the world result directly from the free actions of created agents, or contribute in some way to 'soul-making' of such agents, we are bound to admit that, on the face of it, much animal pain does not.
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