Evil and Suffering

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  • Evil and Suffering
    • natural (tsunami, earthquake etc) moral (rape, murder, wars etc).
      • John Hick defined as 'physical pain, mental suffering and moral wickedness.'
        • for him, the consequences of evil are suffering.
      • the problem of suffering.
    • Augustinian Theodicy.
      • according to Augustine, everything in the world was created good or perfect.
        • there is no totally evil thing in the world, 'God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.'
      • something becomes 'evil' when it ceases to be what it is meant to be, or stops doing what it is meant to be doing.
        • evil is not a thing or substance, God did not create it. evil is the going wrong of something that, in itself, is good.
      • Evil came about from humans having free will.
        • humans were created perfect but with the capacity to make decisions that are evil as well as good.
          • this caused the 'fall' (adam and eve). causing disobedience in the world.
            • as a consequence the state of perfection was ruined by human sin.
              • natural evil came about through the loss of order in nature.
              • moral evil came through the knowledge of good and evil discovered through our disobedience.
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      • believed the sin of Adam was passed on to all humans. (original sin) as a result humans could no longer remain in paradise.
      • human free will means God would not interfere in humans committing acts that were at all evil.
        • it was impossible for God to create a human being who freely only ever performed good acts.
          • free will would inevitably lead to evil and suffering.
      • the idea that God is not in control of everything is anathema. his theodicy is designed to protect not only sovereignty, but also God's perfect goodness.
        • as far as the natural order is concerned, death and destruction are a necessary part of things. without them there would be no way new life could emerge.
      • Augustine would say that real evil does exist.
        • there are things in the world that God would desire not to happen.
          • evil does not upset the moral order of things.
      • AO2
        • largely adopted by the Western Church. key idea being God is in control of everything but free will.
        • the blame for evil and its consequences comes from mankind.
          • Fredrich Schleiermacher disagreed.
            • argued it was logical explanation to say that a perfectly created universe had gone wrong.
              • either it was not perfect to start with or God made it wrong.
        • Augustine's view is contrary to the theory to evolution, which asserts we are continually developing.
          • even if God foresaw the need for the christ event as a reason for reconciliation- this would not justify the suffering we experience.
        • 'if the angels are finitely perfect, then even though they are in some sense free to sin they never will in fact do so.'
        • Augustine's theodicy is a 'soul-deciding' one.
          • it depends upon the classical belief in the fall of humanity from a state of perfection.
            • liberation for those who accept God's gift of salvation; devastating for those who don't.
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    • Ireneous theodicy
      • soul-making theodicy.
        • God did not make a perfect world.
          • God created them imperfectly so that they may develop into perfection over time. 'work in process.'
            • to achieve this God gives them free will. it is through suffering that soles are made noble.
              • the world is a 'vale of soul -making' - John Hick.
      • evil and suffering are-
        • useful as a means og knowledge.
        • offfers the opportunity grow morally.
        • a predictable environment
      • one way this is tested is through the faith in God 'epistemic distance'
        • if God had made people perfectly, they would have the goodness of robots.
          • we would automatically love God without thought or question. therefore the love would be valueless.
            • so God created an empistemic distance away from them. (counterfactual hypothesis.)
              • developed by John Hick
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        • some people suffer a lot more than others.
        • some are made worse because of their suffering
        • if everyone is saved in the end, what is the point of evil and suffering?
        • some people are unable to benefit from evil and suffering but still experence it.
        • the suffering some experience is too extreme.
        • the idea that everyone is going to heaven is not 'just. inconsistent with the orthodox of christianity. (genesis 3.)
        • is the magnitude of suffering really necessary for soul-making?
      • counter arguments
        • if life suddenly ceased to exist, God would not have achieved his purpose.
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