The Problem of Evil

Who constructed the original form of the Problem of Evil?
Epicurus
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What did Epicurus ask about evil?
Why does evil exist if God is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent?
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According to Augustine, what is evil?
A privation of good
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Quote Augustine on the relation between evil and sin
"All evil is either sin or the punishment for sin"
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Whar did Augustine illustrate with the analogy of an eye?
blindness is not an entity but the absence of sight (privation)
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What is Friedrich Schleiermacher's criticism of Augustine's theodicy?
It is contradictory that a perfect creation spontaneously went wrong
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According to Augustine, what was the cause of the fall?
Free will - of angels and humans
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Name two criticisms of Augustine's theodicy that rest on a scientific basis
There is no evidence that we were once perfect (the opposite?), natural evil cannot be ascribed to the fall if it predated humanity
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What is Augustine's view of judgement?
"...the penalty of sin corrects the dishonor of sin". Judgement = principle of moral balance. Sin that is justly punished is cancelled out
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How has Augustine's view of judgement been criticized?
Punishment would never end - could serve no constructive purpose. Sin would still mar the perfection of the univers
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Basing his idea on Genesis 1:26, how does Ireneaus think we will be transformed?
From the 'image of God' into the 'likeness of God'
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What is another phrase/comparison for our transformation?
From human animals into the children of God
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Name two reasons why human beings could have been created as immature and imperfect beings rather than perfect creatures
1) Human goodness that comes about through free choices could be superior and more valuable. 2) If men & women had been initially created in the direct presence of God they might have no genuine free will (epistemic distance)
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How does Ireneaus view the human situation?
One of tension between the natural selfishness arising from our instinct for survival, and the calls of both morality and religion to transcend our self-centredness
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How does John Hick describe the world?
As a 'vale of soul-making'
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With which phrases have Augustine's and Ireneaus' theodicies been contrasted?
Soul-deciding vs soul-making theodicies
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What is Hick's counterfactual hypothesis?
The idea that a "hedonistic paradise" wouldn't be plausible - nature would have to work by 'special providences' to protect people
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Why does John Hick argue for universalism?
Good must come from evil
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What does universalism mean for those who do not sufficiently mature before dying?
A purgatorial afterlife where the process of soul making continues
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What criticisms might believers have of the Irenean theodicy?
Not backed by scripture
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What is a the main criticism of the Irenean theodicy?
Not all suffering seems to have a purpose - can we justify the suffering of others for our own spiritual development? Some suffer more than others
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Which part of Hick's development is easiest to criticize and what are the criticisms?
Universalism - is it right that everyone will go to heaven? (e.g. Hitler), what's the point in developing if we all just go to heaven in the end?
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Which people might take issue with Augustine's ideas around perfection and the fall?
Those who take a non-literal view of the Genesis account, e.g. evolutionary theists
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Who coined the term: "inconsistent triad"?
J.L.Mackie
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Who argued that God could have created people who always did the right thing, without compromising free will?
J.L.Mackie
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Which two qualities did Epicurus conclude that God must possess if he were unable or unwilling to remove evil? Why did he view this as a dilemma?
Feeble and malevolent - wouldn't fit with his character
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How does Ireneaus justify natural evil?
It enables us to exhibit and develop virtues such as charity, compassion and courage
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Why did Ivan in 'The Brothers Karamazov" by Dostoyevsky become a protest atheist?
Unable to reconcile the idea of a benevolent God with the suffering of innocent children
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What is the basic stance of the theodicy, and which problem does this solve?
God is unable to eliminate suffering because he is not omnipotent - gets rid of the inconsistent triad
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Which laws is God bound by according to process theodicy?
natural laws - He is part of the world
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Who are the two main scholars of process theodicy?
A.N.Whitehead and David Griffin
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Why did Whitehead describe God as "the fellow sufferer who understands"?
Believes that God suffers when evil is committed
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How does process theodicy justify God's starting the process of evolution in the knowledge that He would be unable to control it?
By arguing that the universe has produced enough quantity and quality to outweigh the evil
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Name two benefits of process theodicy
Removes the problem of the inconsistent triad, the thought that God suffers might be encouraging to believers (He can understand what they are going through)
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Why is process theodicy unsatisfactory for most believers?
Denies the God of classical theism (limits his power)
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Why might process theodicy seem to remove the point of human effort and create despair?
Uncertain future - no certainty that God will triumph in the end
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Why could process theodicy's justification of God's initiation of evolution seem insufficient?
Would not appeal to those who have suffered & no promise of heaven = no certainty that the suffering of the innocent will ever be rewarded
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What is the basic stance of Monism?
Evil is not a reality but an illusion in our minds
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Name the two mistakes that Baruch Spinoza argued that we make when assessing things
1) We assess things in terms of their usefulness to ourselves 2) We assume that there are general norms to which humans and animals conform (e.g. considering a shriveled tree to be defective)
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Quote Spinoza on nature and evil
"All things are necessarily what they are, and in Nature, there is no good and evil."
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What are the main problems with Monism?
Denies empirical reality of evil - also, maybe it doesn't matter whether evil is an illusion if it creates suffering? Also, why should we be good and avoid evil?
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What did Epicurus ask about evil?

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Why does evil exist if God is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent?

Card 3

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According to Augustine, what is evil?

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Card 4

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Quote Augustine on the relation between evil and sin

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Card 5

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Whar did Augustine illustrate with the analogy of an eye?

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