Free Essay

Problem of Evil

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By mreid11212
Words 3583
Pages 15
CRITIQUING THEODICES: THE 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 evil are the destructive forces of nature. Forces of nature such as earthquakes and hurricanes are out of the control of man, and due to the resulting suffering are deemed evil. Moral evils are those evils committed by free moral agents. Moral and natural evil are at time corollary. Layman suggests that among the losses of natural evil is the loss of moral agency. For example a child is born with a mental handicap and cannot reason. Layman though, does not take into account the nature of sin. Biblical theology teaches that sin affects the human in such a way that disease and imperfections are inevitable. Erickson suggests that the curse (implemented due to the fall of man) “included a whole host of ills that would lead to death.” This should lead us to conclude that disease, birth defects, and the like should not be listed as natural evils. The focus will be on natural evils that seem to have no connection with moral evils. There are those who question the goodness of God in light of suffering caused by such calamities as hurricanes and earthquakes. Luke Gelinas, a skeptic, agrees. Gelinas does not see the theist having any convincing defense for natural evil. Gelinas is not alone. Skeptics and atheists have long charged there is a contradiction with the presence of evil and an all powerful and good God.

ATHEISTIC AND SKEPTICAL ARGUMENTS Epicurus is one of the first to wrestle with the contradiction. He postulated that God is either unwilling or unable to prevent evil. William Rowe, self described friendly-atheist, has written much on the problem of evil. His argument is in response to the often held ‘greater-good’ theodicy. Rowe believed it is reasonable that if suffering and evil can occur without their being any ‘greater-good’ to account for, then there must not be a God. Rowe’s argument first points out that “pointless evils” exist. Second, if God exists then “pointless evils” should not exist. Third, since “pointless evils exist” God does not exist. He observes that humans endure suffering without the awareness of God, which should question how any ‘greater-good’ can come from such evils. He adds that reason and science have replaced faith. God no longer plays a role in understanding the world. Rowe quips “For surely, if there were a God he would wish to provide us with strong reason to think that he exists, given that the horrendous evils of our world, both natural and moral, seem to provide us with reason to doubt his existence.” For Rowe and many other skeptics, there is something wrong with our world. It is the observation that a good God and gratuitous evils do not make sense. The theologian should agree, and point to the fact of the fall in the Garden of Eden. The apostle Paul would answer that God had made himself evident in His creation, and man is without an excuse (Rom. 1:18-20). Interestingly, Rowe closes by acknowledging the reasonableness of faith of the Christians. He falls short in connecting the biblical theology of the Christians to present world. Gelinas, noted earlier, questions another aspect of the greater-good theodicy. He (as well as Rowe) refutes what is known as skeptical theism. Skeptical theists remark that man can not know whether any good can come from evil. Man, for the skeptical theist, is finite and cannot fully know the reasons God allows certain evils. Gelinas also addresses John Hick’s Soul-Making theodicy. Hick’s Soul-Making defense for evil recognizes the epistemic distance of man and God. The argument goes on to show that adversities, like natural evils, are necessary for soul-making. Gelinas refutes this by pointing out like naturals evils go unnoticed at times and call forth no “virtuous” response. He observes that the Soul-making theodicy is most logical in addressing moral evils, and reasons that natural evils are not needed for soul-making. He concludes that it would be better that theism demonstrates a “better world” where natural laws do not act as natural evils. The argument of the atheist does not factor in Biblical theology’s understanding of sin. The skeptic’s argument plays a “mystery” card which side-steps the atheist’s challenge. Both arguments do little in making man culpable for evil, much less natural evil. The natural laws in our world continue despite any resistance on our part. Did God have a plan with these natural laws? Richard Swinburne (like Hick) believes God does have a purpose for these natural laws.

FREE-WILL THEODICY Swinburne sets out to defend a ‘free-will theodicy’ that explains the existence of natural evil. He observes that man is given free-will to share in the creative work of God. He then goes on to say that free-will defense for moral evil works only if one can also explain where natural evil fits. He explains the relationship, arguing the natural evils are necessary for the knowledge that mans needs to carry out moral evils. Rowe asserts that if God limits the harm men can do, he then limits their “destiny.” In his understanding, God allows evils so that man can have significant choice of “destiny.” It is not clear what Swinburne means by “destiny.” It is either man’s freedom to know God or to grow in obedience to God’s will. Rowe goes on to argue that since men gain knowledge by induction, then they need to have natural evil in order to gain this knowledge. Few have found this argument reliable. Eleonore Stump observes that along with Swinburne’s argument there is a necessary first occasion to model this knowledge. Swinburne strongly asserts that there must be a first instance of an evil in order for one to carry out or to imitate evil. It seems that Swinburne asserts that we learn evil from outside sources. This is contrary to Biblical theology’s understanding that evil comes from within man (Matt.15:19; Mk. 7:20-22). Stump argues further, “It is false that men can have knowledge of the consequences of their actions only by induction on the basis of past experiences.” Swinburne has been arguing that natural evils are necessary for free-moral agent conditioning and entails moral evils. Stump questions the value of this knowledge, affirming that men can gain knowledge of certain evil apart from observing the consequences. In light of this conversation, natural evils are purposed to provide us with the consequences of evil. Neither Swinburne nor Stump convincingly explains why natural evils exist in the first place. Swinburne convinces the reader that man can learn to do evil from natural evil, but this is not convincing as to why God would purpose the world in such a way. It is observed that one does not have to teach a three year old to lie or not follow directions. In fact parenting is partly about teaching a child to be good. Evil, it seems, does not have to be learned. Man has been given the freedom of choice, this is obvious. Overall Swinburne’s argument from free-will seeks to only justify God’s permitting of evil. The argument though does not line up with theology that recognizes evil comes from within. This negates Swinburne’s position that natural evil is necessary for man to have significant choice between good and evil. Others have postulated a solution. In this world, where there is free-will, the best possible world? ‘Possible Worlds’ theories have been postulated to help explain why natural evils exist and provide defense that this world or another is a better one.

POSSIBLE WORLDS Possible worlds are usually presented in an attempt either to justify natural evil (or laws) of this present world or demonstrate the possibility of better worlds where there is less evil and just as much good. Nick Trakakis critiques several attempts of theists to explain natural evil, and weaves in his own “Twin Earth” scenario. Trakakis “Twin Earth” is placed in a universe called Eden. This world is similar in make-up to earth as we know it. ‘Twin Earth’ only experiences moral evil, not naturally occurring disasters. This world, Trakakis suggests, would likely have less evil than the world we know presently. He examines the other worlds presented by others, including Swinburne. Postulating possible worlds presents a problem in the conversation. For one, a ‘possible world’ is clearly subjective. Second, as Peter Van Inwagen observes, our own world provides the only model we have for designing a ‘possible world.’ It is true one can describe a world, like Trakakis, were there is not natural evil. This world though is based on his human reasoning and modeled from the natural laws already existing. The universe we live in has been finely tuned. Inwagon notes, as have others, that the slightest change in the processes of nature would “render no life.” Paul Copan adds that natural events, such as earthquakes and tornadoes, are necessary for the benefit of creation. Copan further notes that effects of natural laws help make human freedom possible. One of his examples is fire, which can give warmth and help in the crafting of tools. Fire though can also burn, leaving the possibility of fire to be uses as ‘evil.’ Furthermore, it seems that man is limited somewhat in formulating better worlds. Each man’s world might throw out natural evils, but does that make it a better world? Perhaps this is the only possible world. Dr. Bruce Little convincingly argues that our present world is necessarily set to provide the best opportunity of freedom for man in choosing both good and evil. He begins by acknowledging that gratuitous evils exist, specifically in the case of free-moral agents. Little’s argument centers on the act of free-moral agents, but this is helpful in understanding the existence of evil. He explains that God “would actually be immoral if he interfered with the free moral acts of His free moral agents in preventing certain evils.” Copan would agree, adding that if God eliminated the consequences of evil choices, he would be a deceiver by allowing us to live in an illusory world. Little’s critique finds that a ‘greater-good’ theodicy only complicates the issue of evil. Little calls his defense a ‘Creation-Order Theodicy,’ of which he relies on the creation account and the implication of the fall. ‘Possible Worlds’ is merely subjective, attempting to rationalize God’s reason for allowing this world. If God though is good, then everything he creates is good. In light of this, evil is not a result of God’s doing, but is something from outside His will. Biblical theology will provide the explanatory power necessary in explain the why of evil and suggests that the term ‘natural evil’ is erroneous.

THE ALTERNATIVE APPROACH The battle line of the problem of evil is drawn as to whether a good God and evil can coexist. Biblical theology affirms God and evil can coexist in light of the creation account. Genesis 1-3 provides us with detail as to God’s creativity and original intent. Seven times, throughout a six day creation account, God calls what he has made good. Creativity is shown throughout the account as details of the sky, water, and land take shape. The climax of creation comes with the creation of man (Gen. 2:4-25). It is implied that God desired a free relationship with man, where man would willingly worship God (Gen. 1:26-27). McDonald remarks on the creation, observing that God’s sole purpose was to multiply His own goodness. God’s creation of man is directly linked to His goodness. The creation account does not end with the goodness of creation; it ends with the fall of man (Gen. 3). Man is given the choice to obey God willingly (2:15-17). Adam and Eve had the choice to obey or not. God desires genuine worship, and genuine worship comes from a willing worshipper. Apart of man’s worship is in his relationship with God, which entails obedience. God does not desire forced obedience or worship, thus the opportunity to choose is necessary to glorify God fully. Little writes that man is limited in choice by creative boundaries, within a created order. This freedom is not a libertarian freedom, but a freedom within the boundaries of God’s created order. Man willingly obeys and worships. The alternative is that man decides to go his own way. Men choose from the beginning (in Adam) not to worship God (Gen. 3:6-8). In this moment, the relationship and presence of God was broken (Gen. 3:8-11). This McDonald affirms that the problem of evil is really a problem of what men have become as fallen creatures. Since man is not choosing the goodness of God, he is choosing the void of goodness. The void of goodness is evil. The corruption of creation effected man with sin, which opens the door to death and all it entails (Gen. 3:19). Erickson observes that pre-fall Adam and Eve were truly and fully human, not yet corrupted or dealing with the effects of sin. Sin has taken a hold of humanity for many years, this we see its results in various birth malfunctions, disease, and ultimately certain death. The result of the fall has wider implications. The moral choice of man affects not only humanity, but the creation that he was placed in. Miller also assumes that death and pain are simply apart of original creation. Since Miller starts with this assumption, one easily discerns how the problem of evil persists.

CONCLUSION The Common weakness in all of these arguments is the lack of filtering through Biblical theology. The Bible clearly teaches there is corruption in this world. It also teaches there is a good God. This paper opened with clarifying what is meant by natural and moral evils. This followed by a critique of various arguments concerning the problem of evil. Natural Evil seems to give the most charge that God, not man is responsible. Rowe’s argument suggests that since gratuitous evil exist, so God must not exist. Rowe only acknowledges the theist’s reasoning, but never filters his argument through it. Swinburne suggests that evil is necessary for man to have true freedom of choice, or what he calls “destiny.” His assertion though indicates that evil is an outside force. In some cases evils (such as fallen angels) perhaps do tempt man to evil. Biblical theology finds that evil comes from within, a void of goodness. We continued and examined possible worlds. We explored in particular a world where natural evil, like Trakakis ‘Twin Earth’ do not exist. Discussions on possible worlds appear weak in light of man’s understanding of the world he observes presently. Bruce Little’s understanding that this world is the best world for the best freedom supposes a world for the opportunity of both good and evil. Biblical theology only strengthens this argument when we begin by observing original creation. Everything god creates was good. God allowed freedom, because He desires a willing relationship. Man chose against God’s will, and the result is the corruption of man. Nature is also corrupted by the fall, and this acts out contrary to its original intent. We know little, if any, of what Eden would be life apart from this fall. Man’s reasoning and perception is skewed. It is reasonable then that one would deem a hurricane as ‘evil.’ Evil is an inconvenience to one’s well-fare. This is especially true when we do not understand the reason why of evil. It is my conviction that Biblical theology holds the best answer to the question, why? The problem of evil opens the discussion on common ground. Rowe is right, the believer has reasonable faith. Romans 8:28 tells the believer that God has worked all things for good. It is God’s good, not man’s view of good. The work Paul is speaking of begins with the work of Jesus. God did not leave man to his choice. He got involved by sending Jesus to share in out suffering and death (Heb. 2:9-11; 14-15). This is expanded by Paul in regards to creation. Creation, he says is eagerly awaiting the completion of this redemption (Rom. 8:19). The believer then has hope in the face of so called evils.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Caner, Ergun and Hindson, Ed. General Editors. The Popular
Encyclopedia of Apologetics. Eugence, OR. Harvest House Publishers, 2008.

Copan, Paul. That’s Just Your Interpretation: Responding Skeptics Who Challenge Your Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2001.

Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. 2nd Edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998.

Gelinas, Luke. “The Problem of Natural Evil I: General Theistic Replies.” Philosophy Compass 4, no. 3 (2009): 531-559

Layman, Stephen C. “Natural Evil: The Comparative Response.” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 54, no. 1 (August 1, 2003): 1-31

Little, Bruce Alva. “A Critical Analysis of Contemporary ‘Greater-Good’ Theodicies with Special Attention Give to Gratuitous Evil.” Ph.D. diss., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (2000). In Dissertations & Theses: Full Test [database on-line]; available from http://www.proqust.com (accessed August 12, 2012).

MacDonald Jr, Paul A. “God Incarnate and the Defeat of Evil,” Modern Theology 25, no. 2 (April 1, 2009): 159-185.

Miller, Keith B. “And God saw that it was good: Death and Pain in the Created Order.” Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 63, no. 2 (June 1, 2011): 85-94.

Rowe, William L. “Friendly Atheism, Skeptical Theism, and the Problem of Evil.” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 59, no. 2 (April 1, 2006): 79-92.

Stump, Eleonore. “Knowledge, Freedom and the Problem of Evil.” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 14, no. 1 (1983): 49-58.

Swinburne, Richard. “Natural Evil.” American Philosophical Quarterly 15, no. 4 (Oct. 1978): 295-301.

Trakakis, Nick. “Is Theism Capable of Accounting for any Natural Evil at All?” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 57, no. 2 (2005): 35-66.
Van Inwagen, Peter. “The Problem of Evil, The Problem of Air, and The Problem of Silence.” Philosophical Perspectives, 5 (1991): 135-165.

--------------------------------------------
[ 1 ]. Stephen C. Layman, “Natural Evil: The Comparative Response, “International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 54, no. 1, (August 1, 2003): 11.
[ 2 ]. Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd Edition, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998), 437.
[ 3 ]. Layman, 11.
[ 4 ]. Erickson, 630.
[ 5 ]. Luke Gelinas, The Problem of Natural Evil I: General Theistic Replies,” Philosophy Compass 4, no. 3 (2009): 534.
[ 6 ]. Edward N. Martin, Evil, Problem of, The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics, Ed Hindson, Ergun Caner, gen. editors, (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2008), 211.
[ 7 ]. William L. Rowe, “Friendly Atheism, Skeptical Theism, and the Problem of Evil,” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 59, no 2 (April 1, 2006): 80.
[ 8 ]. Rowe, 80.
[ 9 ]. Ibid, 87.
[ 10 ]. Ibid, 88.
[ 11 ]. Ibid, 90.
[ 12 ]. Gelinas, 538; Rowe, 82-83
[ 13 ]. Ibid, 543.
[ 14 ]. Ibid, 544.
[ 15 ]. Ibid, 544.
[ 16 ]. Ibid, 547-548.
[ 17 ]. Richard Swinburne, “Natural Evil,” American Philosophical Quarterly 15, no. 4 (Oct. 1978): 295.
[ 18 ]. Swinburne, 296.
[ 19 ]. Ibid, 296.
[ 20 ]. Eleonore Stump, “Knowledge, Freedom and the Problem of Evil,” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 14, no.1 (1983); 51.
[ 21 ]. Swinburne, 299.
[ 22 ]. Stump, 52.
[ 23 ]. Stump, 54.
[ 24 ]. Nick Trakakis, “Is Theism Capable of Accounting for any Natural Evil at All?” International Journal for Philosophers of Religion, no. 57 (2005): 38.
[ 25 ]. Trakakis, 39.
[ 26 ]. Ibid, 41-50
[ 27 ]. Peter Van Inwagen, “The Problem of Evil, The Problem of Air, and The Problem of Silence,” Philosophical Perspectives, 5 (1991): 146.
[ 28 ]. Inwagen, 147; Layman, 12.
[ 29 ]. Paul Copan, That’s Just Your Interpretation: Responding to Skeptics Who Challenge Your Faith, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2001), 98.
[ 30 ]. Copan, 98.
[ 31 ]. Bruce Alva Little, “A Critical Analysis of Contemporary ‘Great-Good’ Theodicies with Special Attention Give to Gratuitous Evil,” (Ph.D. diss., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2000), 219.
[ 32 ]. Little, 219.
[ 33 ]. Copan, 97.
[ 34 ]. Little, 234.
[ 35 ]. Paul A. McDonald Jr, “God Incarnate and the Defeat of Evil,” Modern Theology 25, no.2 (April 1, 2009): 169.
[ 36 ]. Little, 280.
[ 37 ]. McDonald Jr, 170.
[ 38 ]. Erickson, 518; 723.
[ 39 ]. Miller, 92.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

The Problem of the Evil

...The most weighty of the arguments against God’s existence is the problem of evil. Of all the atheistic arguments, this is the one that has been around for longest, that has had the most words written about it, and that draws the most diverse responses from Christians. In brief, the problem is this: The traditional conception of God is as omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), and benevolent. This implies that if God exists then he knows how to, wants to, and is able to prevent all suffering. If such a God existed, though, then he actually would prevent all suffering. Suffering, though, is a familiar part of the world around us; it has not been prevented. There is, therefore, no omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent God. There are many different responses to the problem of evil. None of them is entirely satisfactory alone, but together they do cast doubt on whether the existence of evil disproves the claim that God exists. The first response to the problem of evil is the free-will defense. Much of the evil in the world occurs only because we choose to create it. The greatest evils in the world are those inflicted by man upon man. In making the world, God faced a choice: he could create free agents like us, or he could create automata, robots, without the ability to make choices of their own. God chose to create free agents, and he made the right choice; a world containing free agents is clearly more valuable than a world of robots. The......

Words: 1126 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

The Problem of Evil

...The problem of evil is no problem at all In religious texts the world over the Abrahamic God possesses three inherent traits. He is omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent. God's omnibenevolence is one of the most appropriate reasons for worshiping him. But with that being said one finds it hard to view God as omnibenevolent when there is so much evil and suffering in the world. Some Atheists, perhaps unjustly, wield this discrepancy between idealistic dogma and perceived reality as strong evidence against the existence of God. First assume God exists. Along with his other powers, and most importantly for our species, God is supposed to possess omnibenevolence. Imagine a world created by an omnibenevolent god. What would this world look like? Most simply stated it would probably be a world like our own but with the absence of malevolence and suffering. This is a problem however, because by definition it does not match the world in which we exist. By imagining a universe without evil surely an omnipotent being could create such a thing if he so chose. God does not seem to have created such a universe, therefore he cannot be said to possess omnibenevolence. Or perhaps God wished to create such a universe but was incapable, refuting his omnipotence. Some atheists have used this line of thought to argue against any notion of a benevolent, all powerful God. At face value some might find this completely plausible but it is not as firm an argument as an atheist would hope. The...

Words: 1191 - Pages: 5

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. Lander.edu/intro/hick.stml). 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 (www.comparativreligion.com/evil.html). 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. (http://www.equip.org/articles/addressing-the-problem-of-evil-). 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

Free Essay

The Problem of Evil

...The 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......

Words: 904 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

The Problem of Evil

...Everyone believes that God allows evil to happen. Believers and unbelievers struggle with this concept. The problem with evil is that it’s deeply rooted in us because God gave us free will. Without free will, we would be forced into loving God. He, however, wants us to love him because we choose to. Many unbelievers argue that “the existence of such evil cannot be reconciled with, and so disproves, the existence of such a God. (The Philosophy of Religion, 2008).” The theology of Hamartiology explains that evil comes in moral and natural ways. The most common that is rooted in us is the moral way. Moral evil is the willful bad acts or decisions of humans against God, others and even themselves. Every day we experience this as a way of life. An example is what we see in our current news. Isis, a terrorist group, choose to murder people for their faith. Natural evil is the “result of any event perceived to be morally negative and that is not caused by the action or inaction of an agent, such as a person. (Chief of Sinners)” An example of this would be if a person chooses to smoke cigarettes, then it is inevitably going to cause them to get lung cancer along with many other harmful diseases which are forms of natural evil. The question as to why sin exist and bad things happen is often asked, especially by lost souls. If you think about it, if God created a perfect world then none of us would have free will. We would essentially be loving God with no reason other than......

Words: 467 - Pages: 2

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

Free Essay

Problem of Evil

...What is the “Problem of Evil”? What is the difference, if there is a difference, between so-called “moral evil” and “natural evil”? How exactly does John Hick, in his essay “Problem of Evil”, solve the problem of both “Moral evil” and “natural evil”? Do you think that either or both, of Hick’s solutions is really able to solve what appears to be a unique problem of evil in Arthur C. Clarke’s short story, “The Star”? Unhappiness, as a whole, is a challenge to the idea of good. When one hears or discovers about the disasters or the pain and suffering of wars, violence, earthquakes and killings it is safe to ask one’s self, what the problem of evil is. Investigating the short story “Problem of Evil” written by John Hick the author talks about the differences in “moral evil” and “natural evil” while defining the main question with god and evil. Furthermore in “moral evil” and “natural evil” John Hicks explanations are studied throughout the short story titled The Star by Arthur C. Clark. The problem that is most debated among believers and non-believers of God is the problem of evil. This debate is due to the belief of the omnipotence of God, saying how he is all loving, all powerful and all knowing. For all these meanings of God, there is a major defect, if the almighty is capable of revealing these abilities then how could he let evil enter into the world. If he is all- loving, then why is there so much hatred revolving around us and ultimately, If he is all-powerful, then......

Words: 1443 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

The Problem of Evil

...typically 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......

Words: 658 - Pages: 3

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 occurs...int 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

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

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

The Problem of Evil

...two types of evil that are traditionally recognized are moral evil and natural evil. There is a clear distinction between the two of them. Natural evil is based around disasters such as hurricanes and tsunamis as well as people suffering. Where as moral evil is more based around the actions of people and their free will. For instance this could include murder and traits such as dishonesty and greed. However some of these in actual fact do link together and the separation between them is not quite as evident as originally thought. For example diseases which are natural evil could just be the result of an irresponsible lifestyle and natural disasters could be because of the way we treat our planet. Devastating incidents taking place in the world today have an effect on all of us.In particular those incidents by natural causes, not only leave us asking questions, but for some religious people leave a challenge to their faith called the problem of evil. The basic premises of the problem of evil are that how can an omnipotent, omnibenevolent God let his creation suffer without fixing the impurities. This argument frequently occurs when somebody is either attempting to disprove the existence of God and if not prove that the God some people believe in is definitely not worth worshiping. This theory is precisely for believers in the God of classical theism as that is the God who supposedly has the two qualities listed above. The reason that this does not pose a problem when it......

Words: 656 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

God and the Problem of Evil

...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......

Words: 2021 - Pages: 9

Free Essay

Hamartiology: the Problem of Evil (Theodicy)

...Style THEO 202-B17 Hamartiology: The Problem of Evil (Theodicy) You would have to ask yourself, why does a God who is all-loving and all-powerful, allow evil to exist in a world that was divinely created by Him? Because when you ponder the problem of evil, it is the most obvious and serious challenge to belief (Faith) in God and His existence, which is why religious scholars have dedicated so much effort towards resolving it. Elwell states, “The phrase ‘the problem of evil’ is a label for a series of such problems involving good and evil.”[1] But the problem with evil is if an omnipotent and omniscient God exists, then there should be no reason God would tolerate such pain and suffering. Evil acts, thoughts, and words will always separate us from God, which was established from the beginning with Adam and Eve. Isaiah 59:2 says “your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”[2] This is the only thing that separates us from God and causes Him to turn His face away from men. However, evil would have never existed had Adam and Eve not sinned and opened the door for it to enter the world upon all men (Romans 5:12).[3] The resolution then is to be united back to God, who is the source of eternal life, through His Son Jesus, (1 Jn.5:20; Jn.17:2-3). The biggest problem today, among believers and non-believers, is that they are blinded to what evil is and what it does (2 Cor.4:4). And......

Words: 1110 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Problem of Evil and God's Existence

...Running Head:PROBLEM OF EVIL Problem of Evil and God's Existence Ammar Ather Roll#:14-10556, Sec:B Forman Christian College (A Chartered University) Problem of Evil and God's Existence The existence of God and questions pertinent to it, has been discussed for centuries predating Biblical documentation and golden Greek philosophical era of Aristotle and Plato. Thus a supernatural identity has always been the centre of attention among people, Empire, states, ever since man has been derived by intuition of knowing certain things. God has been called by people at times of distress and reassurance. The ancient Egyptians and civilizations called gods when shaken by ordeal. Christians remember God as the embodiment of salvation. People offered god with festivals, coronation ceremonies and even blood sacrifices. The identity of God is perceived differently by people of different beliefs, times and areas. The image of God ranges from Pantheism in the Vedic references to strict Monotheism in Islamic scriptures. This idea is imperative for proceeding and constructing research based on pure rational and Philosophical grounds. The objectivity demands reviewing God and existence within the context of a specific frame of thought and then appropriate approach is utilized to construct an argument. Thesis statement:The belief in God is a cardinal question in dealing with the soteriological and moral implication of mankind which is better contemplated by reviewing theodicy...

Words: 1887 - Pages: 8