The Problem of Evil

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  • Created by: Nicole
  • Created on: 18-05-16 15:07

The Problem of Evil 

What is the Problem of Evil? 

Augustine in his Confessions defined the problem of evil: 

'Either God cannot abolish evil, or he will not; if he cannot then he is not all-powerful; if he will not then he is not all good.' 

Inconsistent Triad 

A problem is, should Christians drop one of God's characteristics (omnipotence or omnibenevolence) so that his existence is compatible with evil? 

David Hume in Dialogues Concerning Natural Religions argues that either:

  • God is not omnipotent
  • or God is not omnibenevolent 
  • or evil does not exist

Evil does exist and as the idea of God must include omnipotence and omnibenevolence, then God cannot exist

Augustine's Theodicy

- based his theory on two passages in the Bible: Genesis 3 (the story of the Fall) and Romans 5:12-20 (St Paul describes how Jesus' crucifixion wipe out the sin committed by Adam and Eve)

- His theodicy states:

  • that a good God created the world and at the time of creation the world was good.
  • evil is a 'privation of good' not an entity itself
  • evil came as a result of angels who turned away from God and misused their free will- tempted Adam and Eve- origin of moral evil 
  • humans are born with


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