“The problem of evil is often divided between the logical and evidential problems.” At the heart of each problem is the belief that the existence of God and the existence evil are incompatible. They present an “either/or” dilemma: either God
The consequences of accepting that the goodness of actions consists simply in the fact that God favours them are obviously disagreeable. However, the consequences of accepting the alternative also appear unfortunate. If it is maintained that God favours certain actions because they are objectively good, it seems that their goodness is independent of His will. But such a view appears to be inconsistent with the conception of God as the omnipotent creator and sustainer of all that is. It means that there is a realm of moral values which exist quite apart from God's creative will and to which His will must conform. Such a view must inevitably appear blasphemous to all those who believe in God, for it makes God out to be less than He is.
J. L. Mackie’s “Evil and Omnipotence” criticizes the argument that God exists by showing that religious beliefs are positively irrational and that parts of the essential theological doctrine are inconsistent with one another. The problem of evil is one of the oldest problems in philosophy. The problem of evil is a logical problem for only the people who believe that there is a God who is both (1) omnipotent and (2) wholly good; yet (3) evil exists in the world. If God is wholly good and omnipotent, then how can there be a presence of evil in the world. Given the presence of evil, we must either conclude that God does not have the power to prevent the suffering that evil causes in which case God is not omnipotent or that God does not wish
In Richard Swinburne’s Natural Evil, he argues that the free will defense accounts for the existence of evil. Following Swinburne’s example, I will argue that the Problem of Evil does not give us good reason to believe that an omnipotent, benevolent deity does not exist. To do so, I will first summarize Epicurus’ original question of the problem of evil. Then, I will defend my claim by proposing the free will defense. Furthermore, I will discuss how the concepts of benevolence and omnipotence are inconsistent with the definition of God according to the free will defense. Lastly, I will address and respond to a possible objection to my argument.
The existence of God has been a major topic in the history of philosophy. For long, philosophers debated and each tried to seek out for an answer to rationally prove that God is an existing being and not merely a fragment of human imagination as an attempt to explain the world and its origin. One of the approaches that philosophers took to prove God’s existence is through the problem of evil. Philosopher, J.L. Mackie, used a deductive analysis on the problem to challenge his predecessors in what they claim to be rational proof. Mackie believed that the problem of evil exist within men solely due to the fact that many theists are not willing to accept God as a being that is any less than what they presuppose God is and his defining qualities.
Ernest Nagel identifies that God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving. However, if God has all of those traits, then why would He allow evil? This is where the problem of evil comes in. It says that if God exists, he is omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent. Because God is omniscient, He knows when evil occurs. Since He is omnipotent, He has the power to prevent it and his benevolent nature would permit him to stop evil. Yet, evil occurs anyways. Therefore, a God with such traits does not
John Hick discusses in his essay The Problem of Evil, the objections to the belief in the existence of God is the presence of evil in the world. He begins by posing the traditional challenge to theism in the form of the dilemma: That if God was perfectly loving, he must wish to abolish evil, and being all powerful, is able to perfectly do so as he will its. He then proceeds to present some views regarding this issue, giving insights from three point of views, that of contemporary Christian Science, the Boston Personalist school, and the theologian Augustine. The first opinion takes evil as an illusion, as a construct of the human mind. The second confers upon God finity, God as a struggling ruler,
This essay features the discussion of the problem of evil in relation to the existence of god. Specifically outlining two sections where the problem of evil is discussed from atheist and theistic viewpoint.
The secularist rejection is based on the supposed contradiction of the existence of a God, who is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent on the one hand, and the existence of evil, on the other hand. Epicurus stated the incompatibility of belief in a God with those attributes against the undeniable reality of evil this way: “God either wishes to take away evils, and is unable; or he is able and unwilling; or he is either willing nor able, or he is both willing and able.” Epicurus then attempts to work out each of the stated possibilities in the following way:
Before we can dive into the problem of evil, we must define a term. Whenever the word “God” is used in this paper, it is referring to the classical theistic conception of God. In this view of God, God is that, “than which nothing greater can be conceived” in your mind. Any attributes or qualities that make a being great, God has to the maximum. This means that, among many other qualities, God is benevolent(all good), omnipotent(all powerful), and omniscient(all knowing). Furthermore, God is the creator of the universe and is personally connected to the human race.
Stephen Law conducted a thought experiment with a purpose of establishing the existence of an evil God, whereby he challenged those who believed in the presence of a kind and good God, doing nothing evil, and argued that the existent God is wicked indeed. The hypothesis developed into the challenge based on the argument that, if an omnibenevolent God is said to exist, yet there is so much evil in the world, then there is as well a possibility that an evil God exists, yet there is so much good. Law aimed to doubt not the fact of the existence of God, but the generally accepted assumption that the existing God is benevolent. Another researcher, Rowe, refutes this approach, arguing that the existence of a Supreme Being, who created people and hence cares for them, cannot be associated with evil. In fact, the presence of evil is a clear sign of the absence of a God. This paper seeks to take a position opposing to Law’s theory and prove that, despite the presence of evil, an omnibenevolent God still exists.
The theological problem of evil is a problem that many philosophers have tried to solve. The problem is stated as, "if one believes that god is omnipotent and wholly good, why does evil still exist?" In this writing I will discuss the solutions/propositions of John L. Mackie in his work, "Evil and Omnipotence." I will do this in order to illustrate the concept of free will for understanding or resolving the problem, and to reveal how and why Mackie arrives at his conclusions.
These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a deep ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair. Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a hated burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.3 The Greek philosopher Epicurus is most likely the first recognized philosopher to ask how the existence of evil could be compatible with the nature of God (The Wrath of God 13).4 According to Epicurean philosophy, the notions of good and evil are identified with pleasure and pain respectively. The Epicurean claim is that only pleasure is good. Accordingly, this translates into “pursue pleasure (good) and avoid pain (evil).”5 David Hume in Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion says of Epicurus: “Epicurus’ old questions are yet unanswered. Is he (God) willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?”6 Even if Epicurus is regarded as the first to raise
The problem of evil is as ancient as humanity itself. Since the dawn of man, thinkers, philosophers, religionists and practically every human being who have suffered at the hands of evil have pondered this enigma, either as a logical-intellectual-philosophical or emotional-religious-existential problem. The preponderance of evil as a reality in human existence, and