The Problem of Evil

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  • The Problem of Evil
    • The logical problem of evil
      • Evil a problem for a believer, challenges the existence of God as it challenges the nature of God.
      • Theistic religion: How can God be all powerful (omnipotent) and God being all loving (Omni-benevolent)?
      • Epicurus problem: Inconsistent triad to be resolved. Three parts of omnipotence,benevolence and evil
        • God isn't omnipotent and can't control evil.
        • Maybe God isn't benevolent, benevolence new view focusing in love.
        • Definition of omnipotence and omnibenevolent needs to change.
        • Maybe doesn't evil exist like we think it does.
      • The evident problem of evil
        • Evil problem evident due to the suffering of people.
        • Question why God allows natural disasters and unthinkable human acts.
        • If God knew everything, why did he create the universe knowing evil and suffering will occur.
      • Some responses
        • Evil part of 'big picture plan' that God has for the world.
        • Some suffering good so we learn from our mistakes.
        • Suffering and evil brings the best in people.
        • God is testing humans.
        • Suffering due to previous actions= forms of punishments.
        • Allowed to be free, have to accept some suffering.
        • Bible says we need to let go of intellectual suffering about evil and accept the love of God.
      • Untitled
    • Augustine
      • Original perfection
        • Augustine believes Perfect God creates a perfect world- Bible/
        • Evil is the absence of privation of Good.
      • The fall
        • Augustine saw the story of the fall as central to understanding why there's an absence of good.
        • Some angels mislead free will- hell created.
        • Evil stems from disobedience- Adam and Eve.
      • Augustine's theodicy
        • Everything's created perfectly by God.
        • Everything fall's short of perfection. Fall of angels and humans. Natural evil.
        • Humans punished for the sin of Adam and Eve.
        • God fair and can't stop evil and suffering as they can't interfere with action.
        • God sent Jesus to give people to the opportunity to go to heaven.
        • Augustine: evil comes from fall, affecting harmony and leads to human punishment.
        • Augustine's soul-deciding (emphasises evil requires a decision from humans about whether they will follow God or give in to evil.
      • Strengths
        • Fits with the experience of the world: Free will will cause suffering.
        • Explores natural evil. Aquinas's idea of death as a part of punishment like motivation to humans.
        • Privation makes sense and emphasises the goodness of God.
        • Idea that something's based falls short our our expectations.
        • Augustine's theodicy is coherent: evil doesn't mean God has fallen short of our expectations
      • Weaknesses
        • Challenged by Theory of Evolution: adapt. Augustine other way round where you move away from perfection.
        • Did Adam and Eve know they were disobeying and choosing evil?
        • Why should we be punished because of Adam and Eve?
        • Blame God- if things were made perfectly, why did it go wrong?
        • Augustine argues humans have natural inclination to sin due to Fall. Not fair as we can't make free choices.
        • Augustine believe God controls who goes to heaven/hell. Human free will limited.
        • Theodicy doesn't help suffering people understand what's happening.
        • Augustine's response to suffering of innocent babies if they're tainted by original sin.
    • Hick
      • Iranean theodicies
        • Augustine emphasis on punishment of evil.
        • Soul making theodicy: explains evil as way of developing and making the soul.
        • Focuses on the idea that evil in the world develops characteristics and shape perfection.
        • God creates human in his image. So we grow and develop.
        • "Then God said, 'let us make [human] kind in our image, in our likeness'" Genesis
      • Hick's reworking.
        • Free will must be complete so we have genuine relations with God.
        • Epistemtic stance (gap in knowledge between God and humanity) where God gives us freedom.
        • Something is good when the purpose is considered. Instrumental good.
        • Gods image- develop into his likeness.
        • Free will, relationship with God freely chosen. Evil response to suffering.
        • Hick argues the problem of evil, no good from suffering. Hell cleanses soul before humans go heaven.
        • Hick believes in universal salvation- after opportunitiesdevelop likeness of God.
      • Strengths
        • Hick overcomes problem of Augustinan theodicy. Evil by God not to stop free will and not rely on terminal presence.
        • Development-aspect supporting evolution.
        • Allows non-literal approach to Genesis.
        • Incorporate suffering as a real thing.
        • Looks beyond moment of suffering.
        • Recognises the role of Jesus in Christian thought and heaven.
        • Place relations at the centre of human existence- correspond to how to experience life.
        • Recognises true virtues ar e being developed.
        • Universal salvation closer to understanding of God who cares and loves.
      • Weaknesses
        • Why is there a great eptimistic gap? Why couldn't the world be nicer?
        • Does not account the suffering of animals and plants.
        • Why couldn't God make a world where we could make right choices?
        • Doesn't explain the imbalance of suffering.
        • Removes some freedom.
        • Undermines what Jesus achieved- dying and rising.
        • There must be some other ways than pain/suffering, God to develop humanity.
    • Discussing the problem of evil
      • Analysing the logical and evidential approaches
        • God's power limited due to giving us free will.
        • Hick sees suffering as development.God benevolent.
        • Augustine- evil as privitation. Iranean theodicies don't deny evil exists, not against omnibenevolence and omnipotence.
        • Evil in world enough to argue against existence of God.
        • Asumming God's nature and decisions.
      • Augustine: is God spared the blame?
        • Yes: Privation means evil isn't something that God has made.
        • Yes: Natural evil came by disruption to order of God's creation.
        • Yes: Moral evil continued use of free will/
        • Yes: focus is God's refusal to engage with evil God keeps away.
        • No: Evil is more significant than privation.
        • No: God stops, prevent or change natural evils (protect victims).
        • No: God doesn't have to hold us accountable for sins of Adam and Eve.
        • No: God doesn't have to keep away from it, not sign of loving creator.
      • Hick: Does soul making justify evil?
        • Doesn't explore issue of balance/quantity of suffering not taking into account other sufferings.
        • Universal salvation justify suffering. No freedom to go to hell.
        • Religious believers suffering improve and trust God.
        • Christian point to the suffering of Jesus=model. Assumption that its bad but it can be good.
      • Ireanus
        • God created humans in his image and must develop his likeness.
        • Development like child on mother's milk= solid food.
        • Developmentuses suffering to learn- Jonah learns in whale belly.
        • God= preterm moulding clay. Clay must be moulded, need to keep our ones moist=workmanship.

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