The Problem of Evil

Category: Education

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The Problem of Evil:

The Problem of Evil Is Evil Compatible with God?

An Argument:

An Argument 1. God exists 2. God is all-knowing. 3. God is all-powerful. 4 . God is all-good. 5. Evil is bad. 6. Since God is all-knowing, God knows evil is bad. 7. Since God is all-powerful, God could prevent evil from happening. 8. Since God is all-good, God wouldn’t want evil in the world. 9. It follows that evil should not exist. 10. Evil does exist.

An Argument, cont.:

An Argument, cont. What possible conclusions can be drawn from this argument: God is not all-knowing, or God is not all-powerful, or God is not all-good, or God does not exist. Hmmm…this seems to be a problem. The existence of evil and the existence of God seem to be incompatible. This is the logical problem of evil.

Logical Problem of Evil:

Logical Problem of Evil Ok, let’s take the conclusion seriously – that evil and God are incompatible. How could that be the case? Two options emerge… #1: Perhaps what we think is evil is an illusion. Maybe things that seem bad aren’t; perhaps they are all part of God’s perfect plan that we mere mortals cannot comprehend.

Logical Problem of Evil, cont.:

Logical Problem of Evil, cont. #2: Maybe evil does exist, but God has a good reason for permitting evil. We may never know what that reason is, because we don’t know God’s plan and we can’t full understand the mind of God. #1 rejects line number 10 of the argument. #2 rejects lines number 6-8.

Logical Problem of Evil, cont.:

Logical Problem of Evil, cont. The mathematician and philosopher Leibniz coined the phrase “Theodicy,” which today is the branch of theology concerned with defending the attributes of God against objections resulting from physical and moral evil. Some leading ideas from Theodicy : The idea that pain is a necessary part of the body’s warning system. The idea that good could not exist without evil. The idea that evil is necessary in order that we may appreciate the good. The idea that evil is punishment for wrongdoing

Free Will & Moral Character:

Free Will & Moral Character Everything we have been considering to this point is trying to explain the existence of evil in light of the definition of God. Perhaps looking at evil in light of humanity is more appropriate. Two major ideas emerge, arguing that evil is due to (1) free will, and (2) necessary to develop moral character.

Evil is the Result of Human Free Will:

Evil is the Result of Human Free Will Which world is better? (a) A world without humans in it, which would not contain any of the bad things people do; but neither would it contain any of the results of human consciousness, creativity, and virtue. Or, (b) A world with humans in it, which would include human wickedness but also the good things that humanity brings with it.

Evil is the Result of Human Free Will, cont.:

Evil is the Result of Human Free Will, cont. If you answered (b),then you have agreed to a partial answer to the Problem of Evil. If imperfect humans are given free will, some of their choices are bound to be bad. Making bad choices is better than not having freedom (free will). There will still be natural evil, though. Disease, natural disasters, etc., are not the product of human free will. So, how do we account for natural evil in light of God?

Evil is Necessary for the Development of Moral Character:

Evil is Necessary for the Development of Moral Character This idea is based on the supposition that in a perfect world, humans would have no problems to overcome, and that all human virtues come from overcoming problems. For example, how would we learn to be kind if there is no one in need? How would we learn courage if we have nothing to fear? The best of humanity is a result of adversity.