God and the Problem of Evil
God and the Problem of EvilMy essay will summarize the problem of evil and analytically assess how it is that evil weakens the traditional characteristics of God. I will attempt to explain how the existence of evil challenges the traditional characteristics of God such as omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence and Omni benevolence using Hume’s famous quote, “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then is he impotent. Is he able but not willing? Then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?” (Hume)
The theological and metaphysical problem of evil was formulated in 1779 by David Hume in his work “Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion” where he asked the question, if God is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent and omnibenevolent then why does evil exist (Sherry)?
The problem of evil causes us to look at the traditional characteristics of God and to analytically assess our suppositions about evil itself. If our God is a good, all powerful and just God as many people believe, then why would such a God allow evil to exist? This problem also brings to light questions about what is considered to be evil, whether it is moral evil committed by man or natural evil such as earthquakes, hurricanes and famine (Sherry).
There are several arguments that have developed in reaction to the problem of evil that was suggested by David Hume. One such argument which is known as the free will defense claims that evil is solely caused by human beings, who must have the opportunity to choose to do evil if they are to have free will (Sherry). Another argument which was proposed by Richard Swinburne where he claims that natural evil can exist as a means for humans to learn, mature and adapt (Sherry). These theological arguments often include appeals for belief in life after death by not only resisting the urge to do evil deeds will bring rewards in the afterlife but because they
also attempt to show that God brings about good through the existence of evil....