Free Essay


In: Other Topics

Submitted By crucker
Words 3493
Pages 14
The Problem of Evil
William Lane Craig
Examines both the logical and probabilistic arguments against God from suffering and evil.

The problem of evil is certainly the greatest obstacle to belief in the existence of God. When I ponder both the extent and depth of suffering in the world, whether due to man’s inhumanity to man or to natural disasters, then I must confess that I find it hard to believe that God exists. No doubt many of you have felt the same way. Perhaps we should all become atheists.

But that’s a pretty big step to take. How can we be sure that God does not exist? Perhaps there’s a reason why God permits all the evil in the world. Perhaps it somehow all fits into the grand scheme of things, which we can only dimly discern, if at all. How do we know?

As a Christian theist, I’m persuaded that the problem of evil, terrible as it is, does not in the end constitute a disproof of the existence of God. On the contrary, in fact, I think that Christian theism is man’s last best hope of solving the problem of evil.

In order to explain why I feel this way, it will be helpful to draw some distinctions to keep our thinking clear. First, we must distinguish between the intellectual problem of evil and the emotional problem of evil. The intellectual problem of evil concerns how to give a rational explanation of how God and evil can co-exist. The emotional problem of evil concerns how to dissolve people’s emotional dislike of a God who would permit suffering.

Now let’s look first at the intellectual problem of evil. There are two versions of this problem: first, the logical problem of evil, and second, the probabilistic problem of evil.

According to the logical problem of evil, it is logically impossible for God and evil to co-exist. If God exists, then evil cannot exist. If evil exists, then God cannot exist. Since evil exists, it follows that God does not exist.

But the problem with this argument is that there’s no reason to think that God and evil are logically incompatible. There’s no explicit contradiction between them. But if the atheist means there’s some implicit contradiction between God and evil, then he must be assuming some hidden premises which bring out this implicit contradiction. But the problem is that no philosopher has ever been able to identify such premises. Therefore, the logical problem of evil fails to prove any inconsistency between God and evil.

But more than that: we can actually prove that God and evil are logically consistent. You see, the atheist presupposes that God cannot have morally sufficient reasons for permitting the evil in the world. But this assumption is not necessarily true. So long as it is even possible that God has morally sufficient reasons for permitting evil, it follows that God and evil are logically consistent. And, certainly, this does seem at least logically possible. Therefore, I’m very pleased to be able to report that it is widely agreed among contemporary philosophers that the logical problem of evil has been dissolved. The co-existence of God and evil is logically possible.

But we’re not out of the woods yet. For now we confront the probabilistic problem of evil. According to this version of the problem, the co-existence of God and evil is logically possible, but nevertheless it’s highly improbable. The extent and depth of evil in the world is so great that it’s improbable that God could have morally sufficient reasons for permitting it. Therefore, given the evil in the world, it’s improbable that God exists.

Now this is a much more powerful argument, and therefore I want to focus our attention on it. In response to this version of the problem of evil, I want to make three main points:

1. We are not in a good position to assess the probability of whether God has morally sufficient reasons for the evils that occur. As finite persons, we are limited in time, space, intelligence, and insight. But the transcendent and sovereign God sees the end from the beginning and providentially orders history so that His purposes are ultimately achieved through human free decisions. In order to achieve His ends, God may have to put up with certain evils along the way. Evils which appear pointless to us within our limited framework may be seen to have been justly permitted within God’s wider framework. To borrow an illustration from a developing field of science, Chaos Theory, scientists have discovered that certain macroscopic systems, for example, weather systems or insect populations, are extraordinarily sensitive to the tiniest perturbations. A butterfly fluttering on a branch in West Africa may set in motion forces which would eventually issue in a hurricane over the Atlantic Ocean. Yet it is impossible in principle for anyone observing that butterfly palpitating on a branch to predict such an outcome. The brutal murder of an innocent man or a child’s dying of leukemia could produce a sort of ripple effect through history such that God’s morally sufficient reason for permitting it might not emerge until centuries later and perhaps in another land. When you think of God’s providence over the whole of history, I think you can see how hopeless it is for limited observers to speculate on the probability that God could have a morally sufficient reason for permitting a certain evil. We’re just not in a good position to assess such probabilities.

2. The Christian faith entails doctrines that increase the probability of the co-existence of God and evil. In so doing, these doctrines decrease any improbability of God’s existence thought to issue from the existence of evil. What are some of these doctrines? Let me mention four:

a. The chief purpose of life is not happiness, but the knowledge of God. One reason that the problem of evil seems so puzzling is that we tend to think that if God exists, then His goal for human life is happiness in this world. God’s role is to provide comfortable environment for His human pets. But on the Christian view this is false. We are not God’s pets, and man’s end is not happiness in this world, but the knowledge of God, which will ultimately bring true and everlasting human fulfillment. Many evils occur in life which maybe utterly pointless with respect to the goal of producing human happiness in this world, but they may not be unjustified with respect to producing the knowledge of God. Innocent human suffering provides an occasion for deeper dependency and trust in God, either on the part of the sufferer or those around him. Of course, whether God's purpose is achieved through our suffering will depend on our response. Do we respond with anger and bitterness toward God, or do we turn to Him in faith for strength to endure?

b. Mankind is in a state of rebellion against God and His purpose. Rather than submit to and worship God, people rebel against God and go their own way and so find themselves alienated from God, morally guilty before Him, and groping in spiritual darkness, pursuing false gods of their own making. The terrible human evils in the world are testimony to man’s depravity in this state of spiritual alienation from God. The Christian is not surprised at the human evil in the world; on the contrary, he expects it. The Bible says that God has given mankind over to the sin it has chosen; He does not interfere to stop it, but lets human depravity run its course. This only serves to heighten mankind’s moral responsibility before God, as well as our wickedness and our need of forgiveness and moral cleansing.

c. The knowledge of God spills over into eternal life. In the Christian view, this life is not all there is. Jesus promised eternal life to all who place their trust in him as their Savior and Lord. In the afterlife God will reward those who have borne their suffering in courage and trust with an eternal life of unspeakable joy. The apostle Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, lived a life of incredible suffering. Yet he wrote, “We do not lose heart. For this slight, momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are unseen, for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (II Cor. 4:16-18). Paul imagines a scale, as it were, in which all the sufferings of this life are placed on one side, while on the other side is placed the glory that God will bestow on his children in heaven. The weight of glory is so great that it is literally beyond comparison with the suffering. Moreover, the longer we spend in eternity the more the sufferings of this life shrink toward an infinitesimal moment. That’s why Paul could call them “a slight and momentary affliction”—they were simply overwhelmed by the ocean of divine eternity and joy which God lavishes on those who trust Him.

d. The knowledge of God is an incommensurable good. To know God, the source of infinite goodness and love, is an incomparable good, the fulfillment of human existence. The sufferings of this life cannot even be compared to it. Thus, the person who knows God, no matter what he suffers, no matter how awful his pain, can still say, “God is good to me,” simply by virtue of the fact that he knows God, an incomparable good.

These four Christian doctrines greatly reduce any improbability which evil would seem to throw on the existence of God.

3. Relative to the full scope of the evidence, God’s existence is probable. Probabilities are relative to what background information you consider. For example, suppose Joe is a student at the University of Colorado. Now suppose that we are informed that 95% of University of Colorado students ski. Relative to this information it is highly probable that Joe skis. But then suppose we also learn that Joe is an amputee and that 95% of amputees at the University of Colorado do not ski. Suddenly the probability of Joe’s being a skier has diminished drastically!

Similarly, if all you consider for background information is the evil in the world, then it’s hardly surprising that God’s existence appears improbable relative to that. But that’s not the real question. The real question is whether God’s existence is improbable relative to the total evidence available. I’m persuaded that when you consider the total evidence, then God’s existence is quite probable.

Let me mention three pieces of evidence:

a. God provides the best explanation of why the universe exists instead of nothing. Have you ever asked yourself why anything at all exists? Where it all came from ? Typically, atheists have said that the universe is eternal and uncased. But discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics during the last 80 years have rendered this improbable. According to the Big Bang model of the universe, all matter and energy, indeed, physical space and time themselves, came into being at a point about 13.5 billion years ago. Prior to that point, the universe simply did not exist. Therefore, the Big Bang model requires the creation of the universe from nothing.

Now this tends to be very embarrassing for the atheist. Quentin Smith, an atheist philosopher, writes,

The response of atheists and agnostics to this development has been comparatively weak, indeed almost invisible. An uncomfortable silence seems to be the rule when the issue arises among non-believers . . . . The reason for the embarrassment of non-theists is not hard to find. Anthony Kenny suggests it in this statement: ‘A proponent of [the Big Bang] theory, at least if he is an atheist, must believe that the matter of the universe came from nothing and by nothing.’

No such difficulty confronts the Christian theist, since the big Bang theory only confirms what he has always believed: that in the beginning God created the universe. Now I put it to you: which is more plausible: that the Christian theist is right or that the universe popped into being uncaused out of nothing?

2. God provides the best explanation of the complex order in the universe. During the last 40 years, scientists have discovered that the existence of intelligent life depends upon a complex and delicate balance of initial conditions given in the big bang itself. We now know that life-prohibiting universes are vastly more probable than any life-permitting universe like ours. How much more probable?

The answer is that the chances that the universe should be life-permitting are so infinitesimal as to be incomprehensible and incalculable. For example, a change in the strength of gravity or of the atomic weak force by only one part in 10100 would have prevented a life-permitting universe. The so-called cosmological constant "lambda" which drives the inflationary expansion of the universe and is responsible for the recently discovered acceleration of the universe’s expansion is fine-tuned to around one part in 10120. Oxford physicist Roger Penrose calculates that the odds of our universe’s special low entropy condition, on which our lives depend, having arisen sheerly by chance is at least as small as about one part in 1010(123). Penrose comments, “I cannot even recall seeing anything else in physics whose accuracy is known to approach, even remotely, a figure like one part in 1010(123). ” There are multiple quantities and constants which must be fine-tuned in this way if the universe is to permit life. And it’s not just each quantity which must be exquisitely fine-tuned; their ratios to one another must be also finely-tuned. So improbability is multiplied by improbability by improbability until our minds are reeling in incomprehensible numbers.

There is no physical reason why these constants and quantities should possess the values they do. The one-time agnostic physicist Paul Davies comments, “Through my scientific work I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with an ingenuity so astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as a brute fact.” Similarly, Fred Hoyle remarks, “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has monkeyed with physics.” Robert Jastrow, the former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, calls this the most powerful evidence for the existence of God even to come out of science.

The view that Christian theists have always held, that there is an intelligent designer of the universe, seems to make much more sense than the atheistic view that the universe, when it popped into being uncaused out of nothing, just happened to be by chance fine-tuned to an incomprehensible precision for the existence of intelligent life.

3. Objective moral values in the world. If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist. Many theists and atheists alike concur on this point. For example, philosopher of science Michael Ruse explains,

Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth. Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves. Nevertheless, such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory.

Friedrich Nietzsche, the great atheist of the 19th century who proclaimed the death of God, understood that the death of God meant the destruction of all meaning and value in life.

I think that Friedrich Nietzsche was right.

But we must be very careful here. The question here is not: “Must we believe in God in order to live moral lives?” I’m not claiming that we must. Nor is the question: “Can we recognize objective moral values without believing in God?” I think that we can.

Rather the question is: “If God does not exist, do objective moral values exist?” Like Ruse, I don’t see any reason to think that in the absence of God, the herd morality evolved by homo sapiens is objective. After all, if there is no God, then what’s so special about human beings? They’re just accidental by-products of nature which have evolved relatively recently on an infinitesimal speck of dust lost somewhere in a hostile and mindless universe and which are doomed to perish individually and collectively in a relatively short time. On the atheistic view, some action, say, rape, may not be socially advantageous and so in the course of human development has become taboo; but that does absolutely nothing to prove that rape is really wrong. On the atheistic view, there’s nothing really wrong with your raping someone. Thus, without God there is no absolute right and wrong which imposes itself on our conscience.

But the problem is that objective values do exist, and deep down we all know it. There’s no more reason to deny the objective reality of moral values than the objective reality of the physical world. Actions like rape, cruelty, and child abuse aren’t just socially unacceptable behavior—they’re moral abominations. Some things are really wrong.

Thus, paradoxically, evil actually serves to establish the existence of God. For if objective values cannot exist without God and objective values do exist—as is evident from the reality of evil—, then it follows inescapably that God exists. Thus, although evil in one sense calls into question God’s existence, in a more fundamental sense it demonstrates God’s existence, since evil could not exist without God.

These are only part of the evidence that God exists. The prominent philosopher Alvin Plantinga has expounded two dozen or so arguments for God’s existence. The cumulative force of these arguments makes it probable that God exists.

In summary, if my three theses are correct, then evil does not render improbable the existence of the Christian God; on the contrary, considering the full scope of the evidence, God’s existence is probable. Thus, the intellectual problem of evil fails to overthrow God’s existence.

But that takes us to the emotional problem of evil. I think that most people who reject God because of the evil in the world don’t really do so because of intellectual difficulties; rather it’s an emotional problem. They just don’t like a God who would permit them or others to suffer and therefore they want nothing to do with Him. Theirs is simply an atheism of rejection. Does the Christian faith have something to say to these people?

It certainly does! For it tells us that God is not a distant Creator or impersonal ground of being, but a loving Father who shares our sufferings and hurts with us. Prof. Plantinga has written,

As the Christian sees things, God does not stand idly by, coolly observing the suffering of His creatures. He enters into and shares our suffering. He endures the anguish of seeing his son, the second person of the Trinity, consigned to the bitterly cruel and shameful death of the cross. Christ was prepared to endure the agonies of hell itself . . . in order to overcome sin, and death, and the evils that afflict our world, and to confer on us a life more glorious that we can imagine. He was prepared to suffer on our behalf, to accept suffering of which we can form no conception.

You see, Jesus endured a suffering beyond all comprehension: He bore the punishment for the sins of the whole world. None of us can comprehend that suffering. Though He was innocent, He voluntarily took upon himself the punishment that we deserved. And why? Because He loves us. How can we reject Him who gave up everything for us?

When we comprehend His sacrifice and His love for us, this puts the problem of evil in an entirely different perspective. For now we see clearly that the true problem of evil is the problem of our evil. Filled with sin and morally guilty before God, the question we face is not how God can justify Himself to us, but how we can be justified before Him.

So paradoxically, even though the problem of evil is the greatest objection to the existence of God, at the end of the day God is the only solution to the problem of evil. If God does not exist, then we are lost without hope in a life filled with gratuitous and unredeemed suffering. God is the final answer to the problem of evil, for He redeems us from evil and takes us into the everlasting joy of an incommensurable good, fellowship with Himself.

by William Lane Craig

Read more:

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Evil Deeds

...The argument which I am focusing on is titled “No One Knowingly Does Evil” and is written by Socrates. This argument concludes that those who do evil things do them involuntarily. According to Socrates it is not in human nature to choose to act in a way what one believes to be harmful, instead of a way that is good.  He claimed that all wrong, or evil, is only done out of ignorance and not from the intention to do evil. This view appears controversial because people are known to occasionally commit deeds that are apparently evil either out of self-interest or acting on impulse, against their better judgment. It is at this point that we come to an important clarification. Socrates did not state that doing wrong to others is ever right, but that the motivation for such actions determines the character of the will involve. Socrates maintained that people are never motivated to bring harm to themselves. Since Socrates believed that wrongdoing always harmed the wrongdoer, he saw all wrongdoing as a mistake in judgment or an expression of ignorance. This is especially true in cases where a life full of wrongdoing never physically harms the wrongdoer. Socrates believed that the most pitiable of humans were those who lived under the delusion that their wrongdoing benefited them. Socrates saw no conflict between self-interest and morality. On the contrary, he saw virtue as the greatest benefit and maintained that immoral actions actually harmed the agent and could therefore only be......

Words: 1254 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Problem of Evil

...beliefs, is the problem of evil. John Hick explains in his essay, “The Problem of Evil”, that this ‘crisis’ so to speak is based on three characteristics that Christians claim God has. Christians believe that God has infinite knowledge, power and love. The question that is then raised is: Why is life on earth filled with vast amounts of suffering, pain and evil if God has never-ending abilities to embrace those three characteristics? John Hick provides two answers to this question. He believes that evil is essential to soul making. Hick explains that evil provides humanity with important qualities such as appreciation, compassion and unselfishness. His essay suggests that pain and suffering is beneficial for humanity because through evil, individuals become worthy of being God’s children and worthy of an eternal life after death. Hick concludes his argument by stating human creation is incomplete and that it is each human’s responsibility to work for perfection by learning morals and values through suffering. Hick’s second answer is based on the concept of free will. God creates humans in such a way that they are free. Hick claims that for this to be true, humans must have the freedom to choose between right and wrong, good and evil, and whether or not to embrace God in life. Humanity must be completely free from God’s control, in order to truly be free. This puts humanity in a place where it is susceptible to sin, which encourages evil. Hick believes that......

Words: 1963 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

The Problem of Evil

...Problem of Evil (Theodicy) An age-old question that has been and is being asked from various religions, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds is how can a loving and good God allow evil to come into the world? It is a problem that has come up several times by mostly atheists and non-believers, but few Christians are asking it as well. This paper is going to address the problem of evil, why bad things happen to good people, and state the theodicies that explain and answer the problem. The problem of evil has been brought up and used as an argument by non-believers for a long time. How can a loving and good God allow evil to come into the world? They claim that these two Christian beliefs are self-contradictory and that nothing can make sense of it. They state that Christians believe that God is all-powerful, that God is good and loves His people, and that an all-powerful God is capable of doing anything and everything. They say that This question has been used to unjustifiably contradict the Christian worldview in its attempt to prove that it is flawed. They are biased and desire to convince other people and themselves that their worldview is correct by discrediting the Christian religion and/or the Bible. (Feinberg, 414). The deductive reasoning that atheists have are that if God is all powerful, kind and generous, humans are the cause of evil, an all powerful God is fully capable of doing anything and everything, then God should be able to remove evil and......

Words: 904 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Moral Evil

...What exactly is the “problem of evil”? What is the difference between so-called “moral evil” and so-called “natural evil”? How does John Hick, in his essay “Problem of Evil”, set about solving the problem of both “moral evil” and “natural evil”? Do you think that either, or perhaps both, of Hick’s solutions is really able to solve what appears to be an unique problem of evil which the astrophysicist priest has to deal with in Arthur C. Clarke’s story, “The Star”? Intro In John Hick’s essay, Problem of Evil, and Arthur Clark’s short story, The Star, the reader is lead to think about the evils that are prominent in this world, and the reality of God in association and contrast with that evil. The writings are deeply philosophical and require the reader to think beyond surface level thought. This paper will discuss the problem of evil and moral evil versus natural evil, as described in John Hick’s essay, and the solutions that he presents and their ability to solve the problem that Clarke outlines in The Star. Problem of Evil The “problem of evil” that will be discussed in this paper refers to a common debate in the philosophical world of thought. Hick presents the problem in very basic terms: The problem of Evil has traditionally been posed in the form of a dilemma: if God is perfectly loving, He must wish to abolish evil; and if He is all-powerful, He must be able to abolish evil. But evil exists; therefore God cannot be both omnipotent and perfectly loving.......

Words: 832 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

The Problem of Evil

...Short Essay on Topic Hamartiology: The Problem of Evil Evil and its’ affects our obvious in our world and lives. Everyone, regardless of beliefs, must at some point deal with the reality of pain, disease, and disasters that seem to flow from evil. Just being a Christian does not erase these realities or a need to find resolve. All of us must deal with these questions in a honest way, or be content to deny the understanding our minds wish for. This understanding must unify the basic beliefs we have in God: If God is all powerful and good then why would He allow evil to exist? Logic would take us to remove one of these characteristics of God. Either He is not really all powerful or good. This is where some might deny God’s sovereign power. How can He allow something bad if He is good and able to stop it? This leads us to see that it is not just one issue, but a host of questions pop up in this arena. We find ourselves faced with moral evil and natural evil, just to pick two of the issues. Moral evil is defined as “evil produced by the activity of moral agents” and natural evil as “evil that the natural order” (Elwell). These are seen daily in our world. Moral evil shows up in murder, greed and in the hearts of us all. Natural evil are those catastrophic events that are outside a moral agents’ influence. Therefore moral agents consistently choose that which is contrary to God, and sin. This is because the first man and woman fell at the original temptation (Gen....

Words: 816 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

The Problem of Evil

...use the argument known as the Problem of Evil. The argument focuses on the theory that if there is a God that exists that is omnipotent, meaning all powerful, omniscient, meaning all knowing, perfectly good, and capable of everything, then the concept of evil should not exist. The problem is, our world is plagued with forces that do us harm, whether it be due to human fault, intentional or accidental, or nature, these events cause humans to suffer. If these things exist, then that would mean that there couldn’t be a God, because someone that is all powerful and perfectly good would not allow evil to exist. The Problem of Evil has been discussed by many philosophers for a while, and there are some that argue that there is more to the Problem of Evil. A theodicy is a philosopher’s attempt to answer the question of why God, who is supposedly all powerful and perfectly good, allows the manifestation of evil. Philosophers typically try to solve this problem by reconciling the traits that are associated with God, with the occurrence of evil in the world. The first theodicy, which is known as the Augustinian theodicy, is based on the writings of Augustine of Hippo, who was a Christian philosopher. He argues that the problem isn’t with God, but lies within the people that inhabit the planet. He claims that in the beginning, God created a perfect world where no evil or suffering existed, and that due to the disobedience of Adam and Eve that evil exists as a punishment for their......

Words: 658 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

The Problem of Evil

...PHIL 1F90 (Fall 2013): Fall term essay assignment. ric brown Your essay should address just one (1) of the following questions. Do not answer both questions! Question 1. What exactly is the “problem of evil”? What is the difference, if there really is any difference, between so-called “moral evil” and so-called “natural evil”? How does John Hick, in his essay “Problem of Evil”, set about solving the problem of both “moral evil” and “natural evil”? Do you think that either, or perhaps both, of Hick’s solutions is really able to solve what appears to be an unique problem of evil which the astro-physicist priest has to deal with in Arthur C. Clarke’s story, “The Star”? Question 2. Do you think that the EDS pilot Barton did to Marilyn what he ought to have done -- given the situation? Do you think that Narvason is able to morally justify his position with regard to what becomes of Marilyn using the principle of utility? What changes does Narvason make to Godwin’s story “Cold Equations” to help convince you of the merits of his ethical position? Are they successful? What changes to Godwin’s story would you make before you could reasonably argue that Marilyn’s life should in fact be spared by the EDS pilot? Justify. Value: 15%. Due Date: A hard copy of your essay must be submitted sometime before 7:00 p.m. Thursday, October 24th, 2013 in GL 263 (drop box). Electronic copies sent by email to your TA or to the instructor will......

Words: 790 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

On the Origin of Evil

...On the Origin of Evil Where does evil come from? This is a question that I find most interesting. In our modern day civilization educated by liberal institutions everybody speaks as if they are certain of what evil is. So what is it? At first glance the thing that sticks out to me when I hear this question is: Asking where evil comes from is like asking where hunger comes from. Where does the desire for procreation, for sexual reproduction come from? Is a lion evil? I am sure it could be viewed as such in the eyes of a gazelle. Lions kill other lions indiscriminately. They will kill young and old alike in competition for food, mates, or territory. Should every creature have the disposition of a humble lamb? Is a human being killing another human being evil? What if it’s a matter of self-defense? What if one acquires glory or good fortune for oneself and one’s people by killing? King David rose to glory and won the battle for the Israelites by killing Goliath. As stated in 1 Samuel, “Saul has slain his thousands and David his tens of thousands” (ch.18 v.7: via Bible Israel’s prosperity was only made possible because King David was a masterful warrior king that won many battles. Likewise war and conquest played a vital role in the founding of our country. And we became an economic superpower because of the good fortunes that came as a consequence of World War II. In this light killing could be viewed as a good thing. Accordingly things are only good or bad......

Words: 1869 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Beowulf Evil

...Throughout much of the novel Grendel faces a defining struggle- one between good and evil. He spends much of his years attempting to discover, and even fight his destiny. Grendel starts out the same as all humans, innocent and curious. He spent his childhood alone, his mother being the only creature that would keep him company. Grendel repeatedly tries to communicate with the humans, but consistently failed. As he becomes older and wiser, he starts to realize that he will not ever be able to get the Shieldings to see eye to eye with him. They will always see him as a disgusting, terrible monster. Eventually, Grendel is able to embrace this and fulfill his destiny as the Destroyer and Wrecker of Kings. At first, Grendel is a young, naïve creature, exploring the world around him just as young creatures do. He is not yet aware of his evil destiny; he is just lonely. Upon his first interaction with the Shieldings, Grendel is stuck in a tree, dying. The men discover him, and decide that he is hungry for pig. They are unsure if he is friendly or not: “‘Pig!’ I tried to yell. It scared them… the king snatched an ax from the man beside him and, without any warning, he hurled it at me” (113). The humans attacked until Grendel’s mother saved him, and Grendel came to a horrible realization ”The world resists me and I resist the world… That’s all there is…I exist, nothing else” (115). At this point, Grendel is starting to view the world very differently, and is......

Words: 1521 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Problem of Evil

...simple fact, evil exists and it can be seen every where in today’s society. No matter how old or young, no matter where we look, whether it is in our textbooks or comic books, on TV or in our video games, evil is always there. There is evil of different types, with different causes and effects, with one event being more evil and has the power to stir up different emotions than the last. By examining opinions offered by people like John Hick, we can understand why God allows evil and the reasons extreme cases of destruction, as in “The Star” by Arthur C. Clarke to exist in our world or anywhere. There is no denying that evil has a tight grasp around the world we live in. It is this simple fact which defines the problem of evil. However, to understand this problem one must first understand evil itself. Webster’s English Dictionary defines evil as morally objectionable behaviour which causes harm, destruction, or misfortune. That being said, there are two different types of evil, moral and natural evil, each of which having their own unique characteristics. Moral evil, or wickedness, is the pain and suffering which is a direct result brought about from human action. Since humans are free to choose and act as they wish, they are free to choose to do good or they can choose to do evil. Most crimes and sinful act which cause pain and suffering, such as rape, murdered, and war are all considered morally evil acts. The second category of evil is natural evil. Natural evil is......

Words: 1389 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Problem of Evil

...Bobby Rappach Mr. Klockner Problem of Evil The Problem of Evil I feel that the problem of evil isn’t evil itself but people and their applications of evil in the world. When thinking of evil the first thing that comes to mind is sin and the devil and it should be normal to do so. Satan was the first to sin and it became a legacy that every human tends to do and some more than others. Satan may have directly disobeyed God with the intention to disobey him but people now don’t sin to disobey God but because it’s not seen as a bad thing. Sin may come on different levels and put into 7 separate categories that all sins fall under but choosing to sin is still sinning. The common denominator in every sin is the person choosing to do it, so people are the problem with evil. If you look at evil as a living thing or something that can manifest itself through different forms of human interactions than it becomes easier to understand. Its almost like a parasite that can only exist with humans help. People and evil create a symbiotic relationship and can not exist fully without the other. We could live without evil in a sense, but we wouldn’t be the people we are now, but we would no longer have free will because free will is the only way that lets us come in contact with evil. Evil on the other hand has very few ways to show itself if people didn’t have a free will therefore an access to evil because evil can’t manifest in an animal because they don’t know right from wrong, only...

Words: 970 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Origins of Evil

...ultimately responsible for everything including evil as stated inIsa.45:7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and createevil: I the Lord do all these things". In the Bible, the story of Jobillustrates that according to specific Christian beliefs, all have sinnedand fallen short of the perfection of God (Romans 3:23), and because we arenot perfect and commit sin, the punishment is mortality. Many religious andphilosophical traditions agree that evil behavior itself is a transgressionthat results from the imperfect human condition. The doctrine of originalsin, as articulated by Saint Augustine's interpretation of Saint Paul,provides that the fall caused a fundamental change in human nature, so thatall descendants of Adam are born in sin, "For all have sinned and fall shortof the glory of God" and can only be redeemed by divine grace. Sacrifice wasthe only means by which humanity could be redeemed after the Fall andbecause "God so loved the world that he sent his only son (Jesus Christ whowas without sin and died on the cross as the ultimate redemption for the sinof humankind) that whoever believes in him should not perish, but haveeverlasting life".Evil has also been an important aspect to the existence of free willand human agency. Others argue that evil itself is ultimately based in anignorance of truth (i.e. human value, sanctity, divinity). A variety ofEnlightenment thinkers have alleged the opposite, by suggesting that evil islearned as a consequence of......

Words: 2311 - Pages: 10

Free Essay

Problem of Evil

...PROBLEM OF EVIL ____________________ A Paper Submitted to Prof. Scott Henderson Luther Rice University ____________________ In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Course TH 536 – Seminar in Apologetics ____________________ By Mark Reid JC 1866 August 24, 2012 OUTLINE I. INTRODUCTION II. EVALUATING THE TYPES OF EVIL III. ATHEISTIC AND SKEPTICAL ARGUMENT IV. FREE-WILL THEODICY V. POSSIBLE WORLDS VI. THE ALTERNATIVE APPROACH VII. CONCLUSION VIII. BIBLIOGRAPHY INTRODUCTION Evil is a universal problem with many categories. Philosophers like David Hume and Alvin Plantinga have attempted to explain the presence of evil despite there being a God. One can choose from many theodicies on moral and natural evil. Lately work has shifted to the notion of gratuitous evil. If gratuitous evils exist, is God morally responsible? Gratuitous evil and natural evil appears to bring the most plausible charge that something malevolent has occurred. This paper will critique various arguments concerning evil. Biblical Theology will show that the arguments are missing a key to understanding evil. EVALUATING THE TYPES OF EVIL The complexity involved in addressing evil persuades us to define what is meant by natural and moral evil. It is noted, by Steven Layman, that the distinction between natural and moral evil is not always sharp. It is Erickson who provides very distinctive definitions. Natural......

Words: 3583 - Pages: 15

Premium Essay

Problem Of Evil

...problem of evil has been in our planet. In a matter of a natural catastrophe, spiritually or intentionally hurtful actions by people, evil has been causing pain, damage and drastic negative changes in nature and human lives. If we consider these facts, a question arises:- “Why bad things happen to good people? Or why bad things happen in the world?.” There has been a lot of investigations from all type of people that practice different religions in reference to these questions, also psychologists and philosophers have been part of this big interesting research. Some of them have found that evil is located in the self, that means that we people have the free will to do right or do wrong, and if we choose...

Words: 1287 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Problem of Evil

...The Problem Of Evil There are many events throughout the world that occur, that we cannot explain. The evils that exist are moral and non-moral evils. The moral evils that exist are poverty, oppression, persecution, war and injustice. The non-moral evils that occur frequently but not usually on a daily basis are earthquakes, hurricanes, storms, flood, drought, and blight (philosophy. These evils happen with thousands of people dying daily for no reason. The problem of evil is a touchstone of any religion. The direct confrontation with evil results in suffering, and thus endless questions about the meaning of life. That is why all religions have to give a proper answer regarding the origin, nature and end of evil ( Many people think these occurrences are evil and why does God allow them to happen. To believe in God is difficult because of all of the evil that he allows. This is because many evils (for example, the suffering of children) seem to serve no justifiable purpose. Therefore, these kinds of evils count against the existence of God. These evils are called gratuitous (or pointless) evils. ( The pointless evils that exist show that God may not exist. The different religions of the world justify that a God does exist. Many religions of the world believe that you cannot have good without evil because it helps to keep things balanced...

Words: 1601 - Pages: 7