The Problem of Evil

All you need to know about the Problem of Evil.

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  • The Problem of Evil
    • What is it?
      • evil undoubtedly exists
        • two types
          • natural
            • "evil which originates independently of human actions", Hick
          • moral
            • humans doing "that which they ought not to"
            • human negligence to do the right thing
      • responses
        • some disregard
          • Hindus believe evil is an illusion
            • brought on by karmic misdeeds
        • most face the reality of evil
          • for believers in the God of Classical Theism, this poses a problem
            • How does the GoCT retain his characteristics and allow evil to exist?
    • Atheistic responses
      • Mackie
        • inconsistent triad
          • if God is omni benevolent and omnipotent, how can evil exist?
            • it is undeniable that evil exists
              • God does not exist
              • God does not have these qualities
      • Dostoevsky
        • the price of innocent suffering is too high for God to be considered omni benevolent
    • Augustine
      • conservative theistic response
      • THEODICY
        • God created a perfect world ex nihilo
          • "it is a logical contradiction to state that a perfectly created world has malfunctioned. Either it was not perfect or God caused it to malfunction" - Schleiermacher
          • the existence of Hell contradicts the notion of a perfectly created world
        • God created man with free will
          • man misused his free will
            • moral evil
              • disrupted the harmony
                • natural evil
          • contrary to evolution
        • initially, a harmony between all things existed
          • moral evil
            • disrupted the harmony
              • natural evil
        • God is just
          • we are born into Original Sin and thus experience evil
          • we may reach salvation by following Christ
      • evil is privatio boni
        • rejection of cosmic dualism
          • logical - most do not believe evil is an "entity"
    • Irenaeus
      • THEODICY
        • God created man in his image and ikeness
          • after the Fall, man retained image but lost likeness
            • now we must grow into God's likeness
              • we may grow into God's likeness after death by learning from evil
        • God created man with free will
          • we are free to choose to love or reject God
            • now we must grow into God's likeness
              • we may grow into God's likeness after death by learning from evil
        • the Mother and Baby analogy
          • not developed enough to eat food when born
            • humans are not developed enough to be in God's likeness at birth
      • "part of being good is effort of will" - Kant
        • God cannot interevene
      • Hick
        • "a world which is to be a person-making environment cannot be a pain-free paradise"
        • God had to create humans an epistemic distance away from us so that we can have true freedom
        • "without an eschatological fulfillment this theodicy would collapse"
          • animals do not have souls yet suffer
      • Swinburne
        • even death is necessary so that we can make meaningful contributions to the world
      • caters for evolution
      • some people suffer more than others - does God want them to mature more?
      • an omnibenevolent God would not conclude that suffering is a way to help someone
        • Free Will Defences
          • alternative to theodicy
            • God's existence is not made logically impossible by the existence of evil
          • Hick
            • "if some evils are too great, then the slightest suffering becomes too much"
            • the alternative would "approximate to a prolonged dream in which our experiences arranged themselves according to our desires"
          • Plantinga
            • an omnipotent God can only actualise a world in which logic follows
              • a world with moral good requires the presence of moral evil also
          • Swinburne
            • without choices people are not free
              • God cannot interevene
            • natural evil necessary so tat we have knowledge of how to avoid suffering
            • death necessary as there is no development without a finite timespan
            • "there will be victims of the system"
          • not all get a chance to exercise their free will
          • God could have made beings who acted freely but always went right
            • an omnipotent God can only actualise a world in which logic follows
              • a world with moral good requires the presence of moral evil also
        • allows others to suffer for the wrongs of others
    • Process theodicy
      • the universe is an uncreated process of which God is a part
        • bound by natural laws
          • must accept the reality of evil
            • must take some responsibility - started evolution knowing he would be unable to later control it
              • "believed it would produce a sufficient wuality and quantity of good to outweigh the evil" - Hick
          • not omnipotent
            • not worth worshipping
              • people want an interventionist God
                • God isn't interventionist anyway
              • "the God of the élite" - Hick
            • not a true theodicy?
            • "God cannot completely control the creatures" - Griffin
            • St.Anselm - "God is that than which nothing greater than can be conceived"
            • contradicts the Bible - book of Job clearly states God's omnipotence
      • God is dipolar
        • partly immersed, partly distinct
        • mental pole
        • physical pole
          • the Earth
            • shares in suffering
              • not omnipotent
                • not worth worshipping
                  • people want an interventionist God
                    • God isn't interventionist anyway
                  • "the God of the élite" - Hick
                • not a true theodicy?
                • "God cannot completely control the creatures" - Griffin
                • St.Anselm - "God is that than which nothing greater than can be conceived"
                • contradicts the Bible - book of Job clearly states God's omnipotence
      • Continuous creativity
        • new things happen all the time
          • harmony - good
            • God tries to maximise harmony
              • "persuasion and lure" - Hick
              • "believed it would produce a sufficient wuality and quantity of good to outweigh the evil" - Hick
          • discord - evil
    • Free Will Defences
      • alternative to theodicy
        • God's existence is not made logically impossible by the existence of evil
      • Hick
        • "if some evils are too great, then the slightest suffering becomes too much"
        • the alternative would "approximate to a prolonged dream in which our experiences arranged themselves according to our desires"
      • Plantinga
        • Swinburne
          • without choices people are not free
            • natural evil necessary so tat we have knowledge of how to avoid suffering
            • death necessary as there is no development without a finite timespan
            • "there will be victims of the system"
          • not all get a chance to exercise their free will
          • God could have made beings who acted freely but always went right
          • Mill - "all things seemed designed to inflict pain" - any God cannot be omni benevolent
          • Evidential form of the problem of evil
            • Rowe
              • lightning fire killing a fawn - suffers for several days beforehand
                • reduces the likelihood of existence of GoCT - fawn's free will wasn't involved, so pointless suffering

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