Problem of evil


Problem of evil:

  • Existence of evil and suffering within the world is an arguement against the existence of God. The POE is: If there is a God who is omnipotent and omniscient and who is all-loving, then why do evil and suffering exist in the world?
  • POE is sometimes known as "The inconsistent triad"- J.L Mackie: That God is perfectly good. That God is all-powerful. That evil and suffering exists= It is argued that if God created the universe and everything it in, then he could have made the world in any way he chose

-Vardy and Arliss: "The POE is not simply an intellectual problem- It is a challenge that confronts all of us and which demands a responce"

  • Natural evil: Suffering which results from the natural world and the way things were made- Aquinas and Augestine argue that evil is the natural world was not intended by God, but it is necessary inevitable part of the existence of good
  • Moral evil: Suffering that results from a human wickedness. Theists believe God lovingly gave us freedom of choice when he made us, and unfortunately we often choose to do wrong. BUT: Did God know, when he gave us free will, that we would choose wrong things?

-Brian Hebblethwaite: The two types of evil often overalap,even though moral evil can be blamed on human failure, we still need an explanation of why we are made in such a way that we feel physical pain, bereavement and anger.

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Problem of evil:

Augustinean Theodicy:

  • Evil as the Privation of Good: Augestine did not believe that God would delibrately create something imperfect. God's creatio is explained in the Bible as "very good". Augestine argued that evil is a privation of good (Privatio boni). This means that evil does not have a separate existence, but is instead falling away from good
  • Evil is NOT come from God, but arises when God's creation fail to live up to the standards God expects of them
  • In Auguestine's view, evil first came into the world through the "fall" of angles and humans, as they were misusing their freewill by trying to become "Lord of their own being" rather than relying on the goodness of God. This misuse of freewill was then repeated in the fall of Adam and Eve as representatives of humankind
  • Augestine argues that the corruption of human beings that happened to our remote ancestors in passed on down the generation a Original Sin

-Criticisms: Schliermacher- Logical contradiction to say that a perfectly created world had gone wrong, Existence of hell- Place of eternal punishment , if hell was part of design, then did God plan that the world would go wrong?

-Strengths: Davis- Supports idea that evil is not a substance, rather it is a "gap between what is and what ought to be", Free will supports the idea that humans responsible for evil, if humans were created so that they can only choose good they would not be free.

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Problem of evil:

Irenaean Theodicy:

  • Evil and suffering have a place in the world and the world was deliberately created with a mixture of good and evil, so that we can develop and grow as human beings into a mature and free relationship with God
  • Creation of Mankind: Humans are created "in God's image" but Irenaeus points out they are not yet "in God's likeness". For Irenaus life is like a learning curve- Learning to be like God so that one day we can be perfect moral and spiritual beings with God in heaven
  • Irenaeus argued that suffering is vital ingrediant of learning to be like God- "How, if we had no knowledge of the contrary, could we have instruction in that which is good?"- We need evil to appreciate the goodness- St Paul: "We rejoice in our sufferings because we know that sufferuing produes preseverance, character and hope"
  • Irenaeus believes that suffering goes on after death-Eventually everyone is perfected and joins God in heaven
  • John Hick: Argues that if we never experianced any diffilculties we would never not be able to grow us personalities. Describes the world as "A vale of soul-making", where things happen to us for own good, in the end, everyone will be saved

-Critcisms: Method to extreme- Is it really necessary for God to toture people for own good?, Some unable to benefit from suffering but they still experiance it, makes moral behaviour pointless. Phillips- Questions how God of love can justify suffering to fufils its purposes -Strengths: Swinburne: Everthing has a greater good and sometimes the good is free will

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Problem of evil:

Free Will Defence:That humans should be free to choose how they act

  • World provides true freedom in the form of real chances which produces real goodness or real harm, without such choices, we would not be free nor should we be human
  • A God who intervened to prevent the large scale horrors would compromise the gift of freedom and remove human responsibilities, thus preventing genuine human development
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