The Problem of Evil

What is the Epicurean paradox?
God is either not omnipotent, malvolent, or not worth worship.
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What is the inconsistent triad?
Evil's existence, God's omnipotence and God's omnibenevolence are inconsistent.
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What are the two types of evil?
Natural and moral evil.
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What is natural evil?
Evil produced by the chance of the laws of nature, eg earthquakes
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What is a real world example of moral evil and natural evil?
Boxing Day 2004 tsunami killing 230,000 people and the Holocaust.
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How did Old Testament God use evil?
Used natural evil to wreak havoc on lives, usually the enemies of Israel like The Flood, The Exodus, etc
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What is the logical problem of evil?
Based on logic, epicurean paradox, inconsistent paradox etc
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What is the evidential problem of evil?
Arguments against God's existence based on evidence from the surrounding world eg millions dying from antural disasters, sheer quantity of evil.
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What scholar came up with 'The Brothers Karamazov', with Ivan 'returning his ticket to Heaven' due to the evil in the world.
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What is a 'theodicy'?
A theory to justify the existence of God alongside evil
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What assumption did Augustine make about God creating the world?
He made it a perfect world
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Why does Augustine beieve moral evil exists?
Because God gave us free will, and evil is simply an absence of good.
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What did Augustine call this 'absence of good'?
Privation of good
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What Doctrine did Augustine support to be the reason behind evil?
The Doctrine of Original Sin
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How did Augustine view God?
As a loving father, fair and just
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Why doesn't God intervene to prevent evil?
Because he's fair, so we still have to suffer the consequences of our actions
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What caused original sin?
Eve eating the apple
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What are the three main criticsms of Augustinian Theodicy?
Schleirmacher, Science/History, Evidence
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What did Schleirmacher argue?
A 'perfect world' 'going wrong' is a logical contradiction. The world was imperfect or God enabled it to 'go wrong'
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What does science and history prove against the Augustinian Theodicy?
Evolution suggests humanity has risen, not fallen, contradicting the Doctine of the Fall of Man and Original Sin
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What's wrong with Augustine's 'privation of good'?
Insinuates evil isn't real, yet many people feel the resulting suffering
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What are Ireneaus' two initial assumptions?
Humans are created in the image of God and humans must grow into the likeness of God
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What's the key simplistic difference between Ireneaus and Augustine's beliefs?
Augustin believes God made a 'perfect world' whereas Ireneaus believes God made us purposefully imperfect
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Why did God create us imperfectly?
For genuine moral development
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Who developed the idea that growth needed evil?
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What was Swinburnes minor development?
Creating moral virtues is only possible in an imperfect world eg we only get compassion from feeling pain
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What does Hick's Soul Making Theodicy attempt to explain?
The probable cause for evil's existence
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How did Hick criticise Augustine?
Flawed designer, original sin punishment is unjust, too much riding on the unprovable Fall
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What does humanity have the capacity to become, according to Hick?
Children of God
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How does Hick see God?
As a parental figure, helping us to develop by exposing us to the real world
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How does Hick believe that humans and God exist together?
With epistemic distance, so we have a distancing of knowledge which preserves our freedom
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Does Hick believe that Hell exists?
No, no loving father would commit children to hell
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What does Hick believe that natural and moral evil help us to develop?
Second order virtues
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Why does Hick believe that we have to have free will?
To freely choose to love God and the good
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Does Hick agree with Augustine that Evil is just the absence of good?
Definitely not (there would be nothing to overcome, contradicting the Bible)
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Mackie presents the idea that God could've created humans to always freely choose the good, as he's omnipotent. Who disagrees on the basis that forced love is inauthentic?
Hick and Plantinga
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How does Hick justify animal pain?
Suffering warns animals of danger, which helps them to exist through natural selection. We need evolution to create the epistemic distance.
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Who gives the example of the pointless animal evil of a fawn suffering and dying, in agony, from a forest fire. All alone, nobody sees it so nothing good comes from it's evil.
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How does Hick justify the argument against soul making of 'pointless evils'?
Some have to remain a mystery to preserve the epistemic distance
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'Soul-making doesn't justify the extent of evil'. How does Hick defend against this claim?
There has to be a standard to be set, and less evil means less moral freedom, which defeats the point of evil in the first place
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What is a strength of Hick's soul making?
Epistemic distance can justify all evil
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What is a strength of Hick's soul-making?
Evil is justified as we need to experience great evils for great goodness to develop
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What is a strength of Hick's soul-making?
It fits with science as it incorporates evolution as the first stage of human development
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What are some weaknesses?
Human's didn't agree to heaven for evil, is heaven enough, doesn't match Christian teachings eg resurrection, pointless journey if we already have universal salvation, why not just create the finished article (omnipotent), assumes human libertarianis
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What's another strength?
Through many lives we'll be able to reach heaven, so this life isn't a forced scramble to reach heaven
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AN Whitehead attempted to bring quantum mechanics into account with God's existence. Who took this idea and furthered it for the problem of evil?
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Why does the process theodicy believe that 'creation ex nihlo' is wrong?
It's a wrong translation of Genesis 1:1 - God 'persuaded' matter into a more complex order instead of creating it
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How does process theodicy present a God different from classical theism?
God is not omnipotent as he couldn't have had full power of a universe that already existed
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What does process theodicy say about the logical possibility of the 'truths' of the Bible?
Just because they're possible doesn't mean they're true
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How does Griffin believe the universe and God exist?
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What does panentheistic existence mean?
God is the soul of the universe, eg "humans as embodied minds"
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Is God transcendent or immanent, according to Griffin?
Immanent as he's 'in' the universe
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Why does the process theodicy present that God is not omnipotent?
Because as human minds can't dictate body's workings, God cannot control the universe, only persuade
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Why does the process view eradicate the problem of evil?
Because God can't intervene or answer prayer because he's not omnipotent, simply a persuader
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What two outcomes could come from the universes 'persuasion'?
Increased fulfilment or increased capacity for suffering
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As our universe is complex....
...there's greater potential for us to reject God and do moral evil
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God shares all our suffering, according to Griffin. Is he responsible for evil?
Yes, but he's not culpable as he didn't intend for evil, he just sparked off evolutionary processes
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What are some more strengths of process theodicy?
God as a fellow sufferer (panentheistic) assures people, solves the problem of evil as there's no conflict, emphasises empirical of what we know of the world with no speculation
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There are seven weaknesses. What are some?
Doesn't apply to animals, can't be sure of Genesis 1:1 translation, non-omnipotent God not worthy of worship
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The free will defence starts with the claim that 'God created humans with the intention that they will be able to discover and know him, and respond in love, faithfulness and obedience to him ALL FREELY'. What must be the case for such to happen?
Humans must have genuine free will to choose how they want to respond to God
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What is a consequence of free will?
We must live in a world with good and evil
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Who believes the free will defence is a good explanation for natural and moral evil?
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To have free will, there has to be an alternate option to choose. For instance, there cannot be mercy without cruelty, and one cannot make the ultimate sacrifice if there's a world without death. But how could God allow so much suffering?
Hick says it's impossible to draw a line because evil is relative to our own experience, Swinburne says that less suffering would be like a "toy world"
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What are two criticisms of the free will defence?
Ethicists may say that 2 wrongs don't make a right and sime oeioke may never grow from suffering to love God. Mackie presents a third option that if God were omnipotent, he could have humans who freely always do good
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


What is the inconsistent triad?


Evil's existence, God's omnipotence and God's omnibenevolence are inconsistent.

Card 3


What are the two types of evil?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What is natural evil?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What is a real world example of moral evil and natural evil?


Preview of the front of card 5
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