The Problem of Evil
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Why is the problem of evil an argument against god?
Evil and suffering are incompatible with the classical theist God who is supposedly all loving and powerful
How did _____ Hume describe the problem?
- David Hume:
- "The rock of atheism"
What is the basis of the argument?
- The Epicurean paradoxEpicurus
- 'Is God willing but not able? - Then He is not omnipotent
- Is God able but not willing? - Then he is malevolent
- Is He both able and willing? - Then whence cometh evil?Is He neither able nor willing? - Then why call Him God?'
Who reformulated the Epicurean paradox, and into what?
- J.L MackieThe inconsistent Triad
- All three statements cannot logically be true without creating a contradiction.
What type of arguments are the epicurean paradox and the inconsistent triad?
Deductive arguments - prove the outcome of the argument given that the premises given are true.
What are the 3 premises of the problem of evil, and what conclusion do they draw?
- 1. Evil Exists
- 2. God is all loving and powerful
- 3. An all loving and all powerful God would remove evil from the world IF He existed
CONCLUSION: God does not exist
How might these premises be shown to be false, thus invalidating the argument?
- 1. Evil may not exist, instead it is an absence of good (in the same way darkness is the absence of light.)
- 1. Evil may be a human illusion as a result of our unsatisfied greedy nature.
- 2. Perhaps God isn't all loving or all powerful.
- 3. Perhaps God has a bigger plan and is able to justify evil in the world.
- 3. Perhaps removing evil is logically impossible (you cant have up without down!)
What is a Theodicy?
An attempt to justify God's existence in the face of evil in the world - a solution to the problem.
Who came up with the Augustinian Theodicy?
St Augustine of Hippo
What qualities did Augustine believe God has, and gave to the world when he created it?
- God is perfect and so made a perfect world.
- In the book of Genesis it says "God saw all that He had made and it was very good"
What did Augustine think of evil?
God did not create evil since it is not an actual thing. Instead it is "A privation of good" (Augustine)
How did God create humans? What were the results?
- God gave humans free will.
- Free will allowed humans to disobey God, and turning away from Him created an absence of good within themselves.
- The sin of Adam and Eve destroyed the state of perfection.
How does Augustine justify the evil that remains in the world?
- God is truly loving and truly just
- God shows justice by not intervening.
- "evil is either sin or the punishment for sin"
- God shows love by offering eternal life in Heaven
- "Since there is happiness for those who do not sin, the universe is perfect, and it is no less perfect because there is misery for sinners - the penalty of sin corrects the dishonour of sin"
Positives and Negatives of the Augustinian Theodicy
- ★Explains why there is suffering for all in the world - we all have original sin due to the Fall of Adam and Eve
- ★Humans have risen not fallen
- ☆Maintains that an all loving God did not create evil - it is not a real thing
- ☆Not reasonable to say evil is not real - denies the reality of the issue
- ★The world and beings in it are perfect, people have free will in order to love God
- ★A perfect world, ad perfect beings cannot go wrong. Even with free will, they began perfect so have no knowledge of how to sin.
What is the Free Will Defence?
- God maximised good by creating humans with free will, allowing them to have a loving relationship with God.
- Humans must be genuinely free to respond how they desire
- Consequently there is both good AND bad
What did Swinburne say about the free will defence?
"The less God allows men to bring about large scale horrors, the less freedom and responsibility he gives them"
How did Swinburne justify natural evil?
Death is necessary to focus us - "a situation of temptation with infinite chances, is no situation of temptation at all"
Positives and Negatives of The Free Will Defence:
- ★ Justifies suffering as a necessity that comes with creating the maximum possible good. Free will leads to moral evil.
- ★Surely an all powerful and all loving God could have created free will without suffering. J.L Mackie
- ☆Swinburne attempts to justify natural evil which gives us knowledge of evil and how to avoid it
- ☆However, how does God justify such huge amounts of evil? It could have been done on a smaller scale
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