Evil and Suffering Revision Notes

WJEC - Evil - Natural and Moral Evil.  Problems of Evil and Solutions (theodicies)

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Evil and Suffering
Problem of evil is an ancient philosophical and theological
one. The universe was created out of nothing deliberately by
so how is it possible that things can go wrong within the
universe? Also human beings were created by God
deliberately but why do they suffer to appalling extremes?
Any answer to question of why suffering exists in relation to
the characteristics of God would be a contradiction.
J L Mackie formulated the problem of evil into an
inconsistent triad.
It is logically inconsistent for all 3 to exist simultaneously
when you remove one you solve the problem.
If God is omnipotent then he would have to power to
remove evil or been able to create a universe where evil does
not exist. If he cannot remove evil or create a universe where
evil does not exist than he is not omnipotent and removing
this from the triad we would be able to provide a solution for

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However the problem that this poses is that if
God was able to create the world out of nothing it doesn't
make sense to say that he is not all powerful.
If God is Omnibenevolent than he would have love for
the creation of the universe that he would not want them to
suffer. If God is not Omnibenevolent than it would make
sense to say that he is a wicked God and the reason why evil
exist.…read more

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Evil categorised in two main ways: Moral evil which is
controlled by man due to free will agents where we have a
choice of choosing between good and evil and therefore God
can't be accountable for the existence of evil in the world
because if an individual could have chosen good but decide
to chose evil it is the individual who is accountable. Example
of moral evil is violence and wars.…read more

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Particular Problems
Animal Suffering
Christianity, Islam and Judaism believe that humans have a
higher status in the created order than animals and also do
not have the spiritual quality of a soul. But Buddhism and
Hinduism believe that animals do posses a spiritual nature
and are subject to laws of reincarnation in the similar ways to
humans and animal suffering may have a purpose.…read more

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Animal suffering allows human being to practice compassion
and develop positive spiritual qualities.
Innocent Suffering
It is unfair that those who are blameless and guiltless have to
suffer for example young children as victims of famine or
war.…read more

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Gods. The existence of evil and suffering allows
humanity to respond in positive ways to the suffering of
others and develop qualities such as courage, charity and
dignity. Immense suffering is in order to provoke the
immense positive Reponses from humanity.
Theodicies Developed by religious believers who
hold a belief in a God of Classical Theism and defend and
justify God in allowing suffering and evil to exist in the world.…read more

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Free will is one of the most significant defences for the God
of classical theism in the face of the terrible suffering faced
by creation.
Augustinian theodicy
God creation was originally free from evil; evil did not exist
before the sins of angels and humans. It first came into
existence when angels followed by humans misused their
wills and turned from God, their creator.…read more

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We suffer through moral evil because it is
humankinds thought through their actions performed on the
basis of free will. The suffering that humans face as part of
the natural world is the direct result of the absence of good
by turning away from God and therefore bringing corruption
to the world.…read more

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Evil already
existed if God decided to give us free will to choose
between good and evil and evil in the world is therefore
the responsibility of God.…read more

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This reduces the plausibility of the
creation story as a historical fact.
Irenaean theodicy
Irenaeus maintained that the presence of evil in the created
order was a deliberate action of an Omnibenevolent God
who wanted God's creation to develop the qualities that
would make them spiritually perfect. His ideas are a result of
his interpretation of Genesis 1v26.…read more


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