The Problem of Evil

Key ideas surronding the problem of evil

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  • Created by: Bethany
  • Created on: 16-11-14 14:28
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  • The Problem of Evil
    • Augustine
      • Book = Confessions
        • When God created the world - he created it perfectly good "And God saw that it was good" Genesis 1:27
        • Evil is not a substance in its own right but is merely the absence of good = privation
        • Angels and Humans deliberately chose to turn away from God (FREE WILL)
          • "The cause of evil is the defection of the will of a being who is mutably good" (mutably = can change)
        • Only God is perfect (other things are susceptible to change)
        • Everyone is guilty because they were present in Adams loins so can be punished
          • "All of humanity is therefore implicated in his sin"
        • Natural evil is because human actions have destroyed the natural order, God saves some through Christ.
        • "All evil is either sin or punishment for sin"
        • Believes in judgement (heaven and hell)
    • J.S. Mill
      • Mill first came up with the inconsistent triad
      • Omnipotent - he doesn't have the power to do anything about it
      • Omniscient - he doesn't know anything is wrong
      • Omnibenevolent - doesn't love us enough to do anything about it (protest atheist)
      • Any evil that humans can do nature can do better (or worse).
        • "Nature has no mercy or justice"
        • "Nearly all the things which men are hanged for or imprisoned for doing to one another are natures everyday performances
    • 'Evil'
      • What is it?
        • Moral Suffering - People have free will to choose to behave in a way that hurts others, as a result of how people act
        • Natural Suffering - Caused by natural events eg. earthquakes and tornados, this is just as a result of the way the earth developed and not much can be done about it
      • Does suffering have a purpose?
        • 1) Suffering is necessary to keep us alive and well as pain tells us something is wrong.
        • 2)  Suffering helps us to appreciate what we've got
        • 3) Suffering can make us a stronger person if we show courage to get through a difficult time
        • 5) Religious people may see suffering as a test of faith
        • 4) Sometimes we suffer to achieve a goal
        • 6) Religious people may say suffering is a part of God's big plan which we can't yet understand
    • Irenaeus
      • The world is deliberatley created with a mixture of goodness and evil - this is so we can develop and grow as human beings into a mature and free relationship with God
      • There has to be evil in order to appreciate good
        • How if we had no knowledge of the contrary, could we have instruction in that which is good"
      • We grow as individuals through tackling problems, making mistakes, persevering and being patient, suffering is a part of Gods original intention
        • "That which does not kill us makes us stronger" - Friedrich Nietzsche
      • God created us in his image and likeness and he included free will in this so humans can make good or bad choices - so we are not puppets.
        • "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" Genesis 1:26
    • Alternative Views
      • Swinburne
        • A world where humans can create others (birth) and improve their world is better than a static world and a world where people can die is better than a world where people can't die.
          • The young would never have a chance
          • Death makes us remember yolo
          • No possibility of an absolute sacrifice - or there would be a different form of harm
      • Peter Vardy
        • Book = The Puzzle of Evil
          • Swinburne is obscene - in the face of torture of innocent people or children you cannot maintain the argument.
      • John Mackie
        • Modal logic - God may have created a world where everyone made the 'right' decision - but failure to actualise this means he isn't wholly good
          • If God is omnitemporal then it may not be he should know what happens and not to create such a world.
          • If God isn't omnitemporal then he may  have had to take a risk in that moment so he didn't know what would happen NOT OMNIPOTENT
      • Descartes and Aquinas
        • Aquinas
          • God can do everything that is absolutely possible (logically possible)
            • God can't have created humans which have complete free will and always make the right decisions
        • Descartes
          • God can do absolutely everything we shouldn't limit him because we don't know - epistemic distance
            • There may be a reason for the evil that we just don't know
      • Dostoyevsky
        • Book = The Brothers Karamazov, character Ivan Karamazov
          • Ivan says "nothing is worth the suffering of innocent children"



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