Mackie's Argument : Evil And Omnipotence

1264 WordsOct 1, 20176 Pages
Priya Patel Phil 104 Fall 2017 October 2, 2017 Paper 1: On Mackie’s Argument In J. L. Mackie’s “Evil and Omnipotence,” the author presents an argument detailing why belief in a both omnipotent and wholly good God is contradictory to a God who allows evil to exist. He utilizes this philosophy to show that God doesn’t exist due to the problem of evil. As Mackie’s delineates in his first paragraph, “I think, however, that a more telling criticism can be made by way of the traditional problem of evil. Here it can be shown, not only that religious beliefs lack rational support, but that they are positively irrational, that the several parts of the essential theological doctrine are inconsistent with one another.” (p. 100) Mackie discusses…show more content…
2. If God is both omnipotent and wholly good, then He would make men freely choose good on every occasion. 3. It is not true that God makes men freely choose good on every occasion. 4. Therefore, it is not the case that God is an omnipotent and wholly good being. In the following paragraphs, I will elucidate Mackie’s belief in this argument and offer a critical evaluation of the former. To begin with, take a justification of the first premise. This says that God has a choice available to him that contains two things. One would be to make humans, in their free will, choose good occasionally over evil. The other would be to make humans, in their free will, choose good on every occasion over evil. Mackie states “If there is no logical impossibility in a man 's freely choosing the good on one, or on several, occasions, there cannot be a logical impossibility in his freely choosing the good on every occasion.” (p. 105) Mackie believes that God is presented with this choice. Moving on to the second premise: in order for God to be classified as both omnipotent and wholly good, He would take the option to always make men choose good in their free will. Mackie’s thought process in believing this is linked with the definitions of omnipotent and wholly good in theism itself. These indicate that in order to be omnipotent, one must have no limit to what one can do, and in order to be wholly good, one would eliminate evil. What Mackie is

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