Evil and Suffering

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In 'Philosophy of Religion', David Hume penned suffering as "the rock of atheism" and John Hick defined it as "physical pain, mental suffering and moral wickedness." It is the main reason atheists consider monotheism to be wishful thinking. Anthony Flew criticised the inclination of believers to justify their faith by manipulating God's characteristics to justify evil, rather than recognising there is a genuine problem that needs to be solved. Basil Mitchell maintains that believers "must face the full force of the conflict." It can be traced back to Epicurus, who stated that "if God can remove evil, but does not, then he is malicious, but if he wants to remove evil, but can not, then he is impotent." These are not characteristics of the Classical Theist God.


Started from the evidentialist standpoint in 'Evil and Omnipotence', where he postulated the Inconsistent Triad. There are three proposals we are asked to accept:

1. God is omnipotent

2. God is omnibenevolent

3. Evil exists

The problem lies in the fact that you can not believe all three ideas at the same time without contradiction. He concludes that either God can not remove evil, so he is not omnipotent, or he does not remove evil, so he is omnibenevolent. This undermines the God of Classical Theism, which arguably is not a God worth worshipping.


Backed up Mackie. He said that of the three ideas (God's omnipotence, God's omnibenevolence, evil's existence) you can not believe the three ideas without them contradicting eachother.



His theodicy comes from the metaphysical standpoint and is the classical biblical answer to the problem. He argues that rather that evil is a 'privato boni', the absence of good, rather than the presence of evil. His theodicy states that mankind is directly responsible for evil; this came as a result of eating the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, an allusion to Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, the Original Sin. Furthermore, he argues that evil is the misuse of free will; moral evil is this misuse and natural evil comes as a result of this misuse, it is the corruption of order and harmony in nature and caused the downfall from perfection as described in Genesis 1:31 when "God was very pleased." He…


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