• Created by: mevan
  • Created on: 17-05-21 18:46

(1) Moral and Natural Evil

why is there so much evil and suffering if god is all loving and all powerful?

moral evil:

  • evil and suffering exist because of human free will. 
  • when we make the wrong choice, evil and suffering are the result. 
  • god cannot affect free will, so cannot be blamed for moral evil.

natural evil:

  • some suffering is not caused by human choices but is a consequence of natural disasters.
  • how can god let this happen?
    • some say god is not as powerful as we thought and cannot stop all natural disasters.
    • some say human activity has caused this to happen through climate change ect.
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(1) Original Sin

christians respond to the existence of evil using the story of genesis:

  • in genesis we see adam and eve disobey gods only order 
  • this act of disobedience explains the problem of evil because it details the change that adam and eve experience
  • their misuse of free will brought them punishment and suffering

different christians believe different things about the genesis story:

  • fundamentalist christians
    • they believe that the story should be taken literally, so adam and eve were real people and their sin introduced pain, inequality and death into the world.
    • all humans were effected by this original sin and are unable to live without sinning. this creates more moral evil
  • catholics
    • they believe that genesis was not a real historical event, and is meant to be interpreted figuratively.
    • we all share the burden and responsibility of sinning 
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(2) Catholic Perspectives - Origin of Evil

st augustine was one of the earliest and most important catholic thinkers. he came up with three answers to the question of why evil and suffering exists if god is all loving and powerful:

1) evil helps us appreciate good

  • sometimes we do not appreciate the good things we have until they are not here anymore
  • enduring suffering helps us to enjoy the good things in life which we might not have noticed before

2) evil is not a thing -  it is just the privation of good

  • he says that god does not permit evil or suffering because it does not exist 
  • god creates good things, but through wrong decisions, we can cause those things to be taken away

3) evil makes us better

  • god allows evil because he is all loving and powerful; he knows he can bring about a greater good after it
  • sometimes we arrive at a place of greater happiness after suffering, so suffering is sometimes good for us
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(2) Christian Perspectives - Origin of Evil

hick argues that god loves us so much that he wants us to learn for ourselves how to be good and loving. he created an imperfect world for the purpose of building character and true efforts to strive for good.

only through suffering can humans grow into god's likeness. suffering is painful and difficult but ultimately leads to a healthier soul.

a problem with hick's theory is that there are people who suffer for no purpose, and do not gain anything from it.

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(2) Jewish Perspectives - Origin of Evil

jews do not believe in original sin, but agree with christians that every human is born facing temptation and must make choices.

they believe that humans are born with the inclination to do good (yetzer ha tov') and the inclination to do evil (yetzer ha ra). the torah teaches that god gave humans free will, and that it is important to struggle against the inclination to do evil by obeying god. it is impossible to hide evil actions from god

yom kippur

  • yom kippur happens every year, and in the 10 days before it, the faithful can make ammends and ask for forgiveness
  • they believe it is not possible to say sorry after death, so are judged every year by god
  • they believe that god is a fair and merciful judge, and is not a negative thing
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(3) God's Goodness - Jewish and Catholic Similar B

both catholics and jews are monotheists and believe in only one god

god is the source of all life and referred to in both the bible and the torah as sole creator

he is judge and he is merciful, and will care for all that he has created

the goodness of god is shown by his creation of the world and giving of the torah

stories of the fleeing israelites from egypt show god's goodness and care

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(4) David Hume - Existence of Evil

inconsistent triad:

  • god is all loving, so should want to end suffering
  • god is all powerful, so should be able to end suffering
  • suffering still exists

all three claims should not logically be able to exist at the same time

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(4) John Mackie - Existence of Evil

rejected traditional answers to the problem of evil:

- evil is necessary as an opposite of good

  • we can see and appreciate a kind and generous person even if we have never met a selfish one
  • even if it is true that we need some evil and suffering, we only need a small amount, not he devistation we see in the world today

- evil helps us become better people

  • god does not need to make us better through suffering
  • some people who suffer become bitter and resentful, and can lead to greater evils instead of greater goods

- evil is a consequence of free will

  • god could have made free human beings who always chose good over evil
  • the ability to choose evil is not a required part of human freedom
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(5) Positives - The Meaning of Suffering

suffering is a sign of love

  • love is impossible without suffering 
  • the pain we feel when we lose someone represents the depth of our love for them

suffering is proof of commitment

  • if we are really committed to something, we often have to experience suffering
  • jesus made it clear to his disciples that following him would require suffering and cost

suffering is a blessing

  • jesus said that those who are the lowest in society are often the closest to god
  • blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

jesus suffered

  • christians believe that the death and resurrection of jesus saved all humans from their sins
  • therefore jesus' suffering brought about something good and as can ours
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(5) Suffering Servant - The Meaning of Suffering

isaiah wrote about a servant who would suffer, be rejected by his own people and be cruelly punished by them. the suffering he endured, however, brought about those people's salvation.

this is believed to be a prophecy of jesus

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(5) Jewish Perspectives - The Meaning of Suffering

jews see isiah's prophecy as being about the suffering of israel instead of about jesus.

for jews, suffering comes from humans or from nature.

often, suffering happens as a result of our own free will; god has given us the ability to do evil or good.

some evil has come from god as a test or punishment, but the reason can never be fully understood.

they believe that humans should live in the present, and try to do good regardless.

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(6) The Trinity in the Nicene Creed

what we learn about god the father in the nicene creed:

  • almighty creator of all things

what we learn about god the son in the nicene creed:

  • eternal - never a time when he did not exist
  • consubstantial with the father
  • the son took on the limitations of human nature
  • he rose from the dead

what we learn about god the holy spirit in the nicene creed:

  • gives life to all things
  • unites the father and son in love
  • equal in power to the father and son
  • inspires people to let them know the will of god
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(6) Council of Nicea and Constantinople

nicea argument: is jesus god?

  • some belived that jesus was the highest creature but was less than god
  • some believed that father and son were equal and both were god
  • the council sided with the argument that father and son were equal

constantinople argument: are father and son distinct persons?

  • the father and son were so equal that they weren't really two persons, just different aspects of god
  • the council made it clear that the father, son, and holy spirit are all equal, and equally good, but are three distinct persons
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(6) The Trinity in the Bible

st paul's letter - proof of the son

  • the son is the image of the invisible god. for in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth. - st paul's letter to the colossians
  • the son is equal to the father. he was present with the father at the creation of the world 

pentecost - proof of the holy spirit

  • early christians experienced the holy spirit at pentecost 
  • the holy spirit is also god but not the father or jesus

baptism of jesus - proof of the trinity

  • the father is seen when god speaks and refers to jesus as his son 
  • the son is seen when jesus is referred to as the son
  • the spirit is seen when a dove flies in

jesus' final instructions - proof of the trinity

  • asks disciples to baptise people in the name of the father, the son and the holy spirit
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(7) St Augustine - Other Beliefs about the Trinity

he compares the trinity to love and believes that god is love

john talks about this: "whoever does not love, does not know love, because god is love"

love needs three things :

  • 1) the person who is doing the loving = the father
  • 2) the person who is being loved = the son 
  • 3) the love itself = the holy spirit
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(7) Judaism - Other Beliefs about the Trinity

jews reject the idea of the trinity

deuteronomy : "god is one"

  • jews are monotheists
  • the idea of jesus and the holy spirit challenge jewish beliefs in one god
  • jesus was an ordinary man
  • god can have different attributes but he is not different people 
  • the shema (prayer) states there is only one god
  • 10 commandments say there is only one god
  • god has divine presence on earth but he does not split up into different beings
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(8) The Incarnation

jesus the incarnate son

  • god became visible in the flesh in the person of jesus - jesus is the son of god
  • son is used to name the 2nd person in the trinity
  • he is the visible image of the invisible god

fully god and fully human

  • jesus is fully god, but also fully human
  • he has two natures: one divine nature and one human nature
  • performing miracles and being reincarnated shows he is fully god
  • dying and being born from a human shows he is fully human
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