IB Philosophy of Religion - The Problem of Evil

Revision sheet on the problem of evil, possible solutions: augustinian theodicy, iranaean theodicy, free will defence

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The Problem Of Evil
Possible Solutions to the
Problem of Evil
The Augustinian Theodicy
Evil came about as a consequence of the misuse of free will. Firstly, evil was
brought into the cosmos by the fall of the angels, some angels, led by Lucifer, freely
chose to rebel against God. Secondly, evil was brought into the world by the fall of
Adam and Eve (Genesis 3), man and woman were tempted by Satan, and they freely
chose to rebel against God. The Augustinian Theodicy definitely shifts the blame
away from God; he appears blameless for the existence of evil. This malfunction that
corrupted the perfect universe that God created occurred through free will. Free
will, which is good in itself, was corrupted by choosing evil. This argument protects

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God, as we are supposedly the ones who brought evil into the
world, rather than Him, allowing him to remain omnibenevolent.
This seems to cover moral evil, but how does the Augustinian Theodicy account
for natural evil? Augustine argued that moral revolt by human beings set all nature
awry; it destroyed God's perfect harmony. These natural disasters are penalties for
moral evil. This can explain why many Christians often blame certain human actions
for natural disasters.…read more

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God's path.
Throughout the life of a person a gradual transformation takes place, we are turned
from human animals into `children of God', this occurs as a result of freely choosing
God. John Hick referred to this as an `epistemic distance', i.e. we have to learn the art
of goodness and perfection throughout life; it is a journey of improvement. God,
therefore, brought evil and suffering into existence for the benefit of humanity,
i.e.…read more

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However, Swinburne
has responded to this criticism by stating that the amount of suffering is acceptable
as God has set limits to human suffering, for example when pain reaches a certain
intensity we pass out. Also, our earthly life has a relatively short extent, so we
cannot suffer for too long. This seems quite weak though considering the real
extent of evil in the world, it either seems that God cannot intervene (i.e. he is not
omnipotent) or that he doesn't want to intervene (i.e.…read more

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God could intervene
Theists typically believe in miracles being performed by God, but if God can
intervene in the physical world, which surely He can if He is omnipotent, then why
doesn't he intervene more often? Why didn't God intervene in the Holocaust, or the
Second World War or the AIDS epidemic? Theists might reply that if God always
intervened we would not genuinely have free will, but this then seems to
contradict theists' belief in miracles.…read more


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