Evil and Suffering

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Theism is the belief that "the world was created by an omnipotent and perfectly good personal being". From
this 5 facts are highlighted of a Theist's belief...
1. There is only one God
2. God created the world ­ The world exists because of God and everything in it is contingent (dependant
on God).
3. God is omnipotent ­ Not all theist's believe this but if it is to be argued that "God brings about the state
of affairs" then it is logical to believe this
4. God is personal ­ He is a conscious being who has thoughts, intentions, desires and will. God is deeply
concerned about humanity and continues to influence the world even after creation.
5. God is perfectly good ­ Also not accepted by all theists except to say God never does morally wrong. He
only causes humanity to suffer with overriding moral necessity; it will lead to greater good.
Simply stated "Why does God allow evil and suffering?". To many, it is the main reason for rejecting Theism.
John Hick defines evil as a physical pain, mental suffering and moral wickedness. He distinguishes between 2
types of evil...
The consequence of this evil is suffering which involves mental anguish, depression and physical pain. The
magnitude of this suffering often seems unjust as those who have done nothing wrong such as new-born babies
are often the victims.
The problem of evil poses threat to religious people's beliefs. How can an all-loving, all-knowing and
all-powerful being allow evil to exist with no avail of his creation. This is often why so many are unable to believe
he exists. - Mainly for believers of the God of classical Theism.
1. If God was Omnipotent ­ He created the world therefore is responsible for all that happens in it. He
should be able to do anything logically possible (Aristotle). He could have created the world free from
evil and suffering/ the possibility of it ever going wrong. He could also end all suffering.
2. If God was Omni-benevolent ­ He would wish to end all evil and suffering. He would not allow his
creation to suffer with no avail. As God is omnipotent, he could end all evil and suffering.
3. If God was Omniscient ­ He would have knowledge of everything within the universe and would
therefore know how to stop evil.

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God creation is flawed and according to some, created evil. Even if you do not believe humans are the cause of
evil, they still carry out evil acts on each-other such as Murder and Rape.
J.L. MACKIE ­ An outspoken Atheist, also a compatibilist (believed we are both determined and have Free Will).
Developed the inconsistent triad to show the Traditional idea of God cannot exist with evil present. It shows how
the main monotheistic position is unattainable.…read more

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Religious believers want to be able to uphold the traditional idea of God alongside evil. This lead to the
development of theodicies; a justification of God alongside the existence of Evil.
A classical Biblical response to the existence of evil.
God is wholly good and created a world free from defects. He used the evidence within Genesis 1 "God looked
at everything he had made and he was very pleased". Evil and suffering was therefore unknown in the
beginning.…read more

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BRIAN DAVIS ­ Supports that evil cannot be a substance. It is not valid to blame God for creating it.
The argument that evil is a result of human free will rather than God's will can be supported. If God gave humans
Free Will, this necessarily entails the possibility of moral evil.
PLANTINGA ­ Although humans freely choose good if God designed them to always choose good, they would
not be truly free. Their choices would be `predetermined' much like the decisions of robots.…read more

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Unlike Augustine, Irenaeus accepted God is partly responsible for evil as he created humans imperfect in order
for them to develop into perfection. Uses Bible as evidence, like Augustine.
"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness".
Man is made in the image of God to later develop into his likeness.
Being made in God's image = having intelligence, morality and personality.
This lacked completion
Completion would be gained upon transformation into God's likened.…read more

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If the world were a paradise (no harm come to anyone) ­ humans not free, every action would result in
happiness. Evil would be indistinguishable from good = result in same thing.
Humans like robots. With no real evil, everyone would follow God as there would be no difficulty doing so.
Qualities would be unknown (courage, honour and love) = no opportunity to develop into God's likeness as these
qualities are essential to this development.…read more

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Jan 2009
1a. Explain why Irenaeus argues that the existence of evil is a necessary part of the universe. [25]
1b. "Irenaeus is wrong: evil disproves the existence of God" Discuss. [10]
Jan 2011
1a. Explain why Irenaeus argues that the existence of evil is a necessary part of the universe. [25]
1b. "Irenaeus is wrong: evil disproves the existence of God" Discuss. [10]
June 2011
1a. Explain the Irenaean theodicy. [25]
1b.…read more


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