Thomism and the Problem of Animal Suffering

Thomism and the Problem of Animal Suffering Cover


The problem of animal suffering is the atheistic argument that an all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good God would not use millions of years of animal suffering, disease, and death to form a planet for human beings. This argument has not received as much attention in the philosophical literature as other forms of the problem of evil, yet it has been increasingly touted by atheists since Charles Darwin. While several theists have attempted to provide answers to the problem, they disagree with each other as to which answer is correct. Also, some of these theists have given in to the problem and believe it entails that God is limited in certain ways. B. Kyle Keltz seeks to provide a classical answer to the problem of animal suffering inspired by the medieval philosopher/theologian Thomas Aquinas. In doing so, Keltz not only utilizes the wisdom of Aquinas, but also contemporary insights into non-human animal minds from contemporary philosophy and science. Keltz provides a compelling neo-Thomistic answer to the problem of animal suffering and explains why the classical God of theism would create a world that includes animal death.


“At colleges and universities today, students are inundated with arguments against God’s existence. Keltz takes up a major such argument, from animal suffering. Brilliantly retrieving Aquinas’s philosophy in dialogue with modern science, he demonstrates that the standard arguments along these lines against God’s existence arise from mistaken notions of both God and animals. This book is a level above all previous work on this subject and should be required reading for scholars and upper-level students.”

Matthew Levering, Mundelein Seminary

“The last decade has seen an extensive and robust discussion of the problem of evil as it relates to animal suffering. This volume provides a rigorous and thorough Thomistic response to the topic. Keltz’s treatment is philosophically rich and scientifically grounded. Future treatments of the matter will need to engage the arguments in this volume.”

Michael J. Murray, Franklin and Marshall College

Thomism and the Problem of Animal Suffering represents a landmark contribution to the scholarly debate over the problem of evil. Using insights from both Thomistic metaphysics and modern cognitive science, Keltz argues convincingly that animal suffering poses no problem at all. This is, in my opinion, a far superior approach than other works on this topic. The topics covered in this book make it valuable not just for those interested in studying the problem of evil, but also for those interested in broader questions surrounding the moral status of animals and the nature of animal mentality.”

Timothy Hsiao, Grantham University