Problem of evil

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  • Problem of Evil
    • Augustine's Theodicy
      • 'God made man in his image after his likeness'
      • Based on Genesis creation story-Humans and angels to blame for evil as abused free will
      • What is the origin of evil and the role of free will?
        • Augustine said that moral evil originated through the disobedience of angels and the temptation of Adam and Eve. Thus moral evil came about  by the misuse of free will by Adam and Eve. Natural evil is punishment for moral evil. Based on Genesis 3 and Romans 5
      • Is God responsible for the existence of evil?
        • For Augustine, God is responsible the existence of evil - he created a perfect world free of evil
    • Criticisms to Irenaeus' Theodicy
      • Jesus's sacrifice was unnecessary if connected with God wasn't broken
      • No encourage to develop if everyone reaches heaven
      • Suffering wouldn't be a tool of an omnibenevolent God
      • If we all need suffering to develop then why do some suffer more or less than others
      • Follows evolution flawed to perfect
      • Suffering can turn people into ones that cause evil, and negative emotions like bitterness and hatred
    • Irenaeus' Theodicy
      • Is God responsible for the existence of evil?
        • For Irenaeus God is partly responsible for evil. Evil is a means by which we can grow and learn
      • What is the origin of evil and the role of free will?
        • Irenaeus said that the world was made imperfect and so moral evil was the result of freewill to follow or disobey God
    • The nature of the problem
      • This 'inconsistent triad' presents Christians with a problem.
        • Omnibenevolent but not omnipotent as God could be all loving but not powerful enough to stop evil
        • Omnipotent but not omnibenevolent as powerful enough to stop evil but won't
      • Augustine in his 'Confessions' expressed the dilemma thus:
        • "Either God cannot abolish evil, or he will not; if he cannot then he is not all-powerful; if he will not then he is not all-good"
      • The assumption is that a good God would eliminate evil as far as it possible.
        • If he is omnipotent then all evil should be eliminated. However, evil exists. So why does God allow evil to continue?
      • David Hume argues that either: (I)  God is not omnipotent (II) God is not omnibenevolent (III) or evil does not exist
        • It is counterintuitive to suppose that evil does not exist but since the notion of  God cannot lack omnipotence or Omni benevolence, this means God does not exist
    • Criticisms to Augustine's Theodicy
      • Perfect creation couldn't go wrong
      • Not supported by evolution as world develops from chaos to perfection
    • Different Types of Evil
      • John Hick described evil as "physical pain, mental suffering and wicked wickedness". Two types of evil exist
        • Natural Evil: suffering caused by natural disasters e.g. volcano eruption killing humans
        • Moral Evil: suffering caused by human selfishness e.g. the Holocaust
    • Counter criticisms using Irenaeus' Theodicy
      • Irenaeus contended that heaven was everyone because:
        • Only a supremely good future in heaven can justify the magnitude of the suffering
        • If life simply ended, God's purpose would never be fulfilled
        • Many 'evil' people cannot be held responsible for their actions. I.e. their actions could be the result of illness or ill treatment. Eternal punishment would be unjust. This supports Jesus' teachings of compassion
    • Other solutions to the problem of evil
      • evil and suffering are an illusion
      • Evil leading to greater moral goodness
      • The positive value of suffering


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