The problem of evil

  • Created by: livvvx
  • Created on: 18-04-19 18:39

The Problem of Evil

''Is God willing to prevent evi, but not able to? Then he is not omnipotent. Is God able to prevent evil, but not willing to? Then he is malevolent (evil). Is God able to prevent evil and willing to? Then why is there evil?'' - Epicurus

The logical problem

This is the challenge to the existence of God. 

J.L. Mackie said it is a logical problem because theists have to show that their belieifs make sense (i.e. clarify the logic of their reasoning). Mackie argued that if God is really omnipotent that must mean God has power over 'causal laws'- the physical laws of the universe. This raises the challenge: why does God not stop evil events happening if God has the power to stop evil and it costs God no effort to stop evil?

God has both the means (power) and motivation (love) to stop evil, so why does evil exist?

The sheer amount of evil in the world appears to challenge the goodness of creation. Religious believers have a problem defending the goodness of the world in the face of the existence of evil and suffering in the world.

Mackie argues that the price of having FW is that sometimes humans commit appallingly evil acts. Yet he suggests that if God is really omnipotent, could not God have made human beings so that they always choose freely what is good? However, theists criticise this arguing that what sort of free choice do you have if you are incapable of choosing what is bad? 

There is also a huge amount of suffering in nature (natural evil- evil not caused by human being, moral evil= suffering caused by humans) 

Biologists have argued that nature is piteously indifferent to suffering. Nature is not good or evil: all that matters is the passing on of genes from one gen to next. Any suffering, evil or harm that enables genes to be passed on is not the concern of nature. 

Theodicy= word used by religious believers for their expls of how belief in a good, omnipotent God can be maintained in the face of all the evil and suffering present in the world. 

Augustine's Theodicy

Aug's theodicy is greatly influenced by the creation stories in Genesis 1-3, he interpretted these in a literal sense. Many Christians today would interpret the story symbolically rather than literally.

According to Aug, God is good, omnipotent and omniscient. Aug had to solve the problem- if God is good and he is omnipotent, and he created the world, why is evil in it ?

Privation and evil-

Aug defines evil as a 'privation' ; a lack of goodness. He wrote that 'evil is not a substance'.        McCabe would support this view as he argues that badness and evil are about not living up to expectations- something lacks a quality it should have. If you say a human being is evil, or that their actions are evil, you are saying that the…


No comments have yet been made