The problem of evil :
- it is an old and permanent problem
- it is universal
- not just academic, it is personal
- we need to try to make some sense of it
- some people don't think there is a convincing argument yet
- some people think the problem of evil is more about us than about God
- the name for any attempt to solve the problem of evil is a theodicy
- evil is split into moral evil and physical/natural evil (and can be linked)
- the inconsistant triad - if God is all good and all powerful, how is there evil?
- God is perfect and made a perfect world
- wanted to express how wonderful God is
- was a Christian - took the Bible literally
- thought that evil was due to man's sin - Adam and Eve
- said that moral evil is our fault, and physical evil the punishment
- "All evil is either sin (M.E) or the punishment for sin (P.E)"
- God is innocent from evil
- At the end of time, we will be judged, and then will go to heaven or hell
Augustine's theodicy dominated until the 1800s
Augustine's theodicy, while strong, is probably wrong.
Criticisms of Augustine - Friedrich Schleiermacher
- how can a perfect world go wrong?
- if the world goes wrong it is God's fault because he made it (and did a bad job!)
- physical evil was in the world before moral evil (e.g. when the dinosaurs were around) - you can't punish someone for what they haven't done yet
- there is no physical evidence of a perfect world
- Hell - how can there be a permanent evil in the system?
- there is a 2 stage development of humans - intelligent animals --> children of God
- to develop and grow we need challenge
- it is a soul making world/character building world/moral gymnasium
- we have to be at a distance from God (epistemic distance) or else we will be overwhelmed with his love and wouldn't have a chance to grow or develop.
- if you fail in this life you always get to heaven - universal salvation
- there is no hell
God is responsible for evil in the world, but he's not to blame.
Criticisms of Irenaeus
- is this world fair? It is not fair to design a world were bad things happen even if there is a good result.
- Augustine is very important but faces major philosophical difficulties.
- Irenaeus is very important but faces major theological difficulties.
Richard Swinburne - "Evil is the logically necesary condition for greater good" (taking Irenaeus' side)