The Problem of Evil A challenge to God’s existence?
What you need to know…
Evil and its challenge to faith.
Responses to the problem of evil.
The Augustinian and Irenaean Theodicies (including Hick’s vale of soul making theodicy); process thought.
2 (a) Explain the view that there should be no evil in a world created by an all loving and all powerful God. (20 marks)
(b) Outline the Augustinian theodicy, and assess how successful it is as an explanation of the existence of evil in the world. (30 marks)
2 (a) Explain how Evil presents a challenge to religious faith. (20 marks)
(b) Summarise the Irenaean Theodicy and discuss how far it meets the challenges posed by evil and suffering in the world. (30 marks)
2 (a) Explain how natural evil may be seen as a challenge to belief in God and how the Irenaean theodicy deals with this challenge. (20 marks)
(b) Explain how the Augustinian theodicy deals with the problem of natural evil, and assess how far the Irenaean and Augustinian theodicies succeed in dealing with this problem. (30 marks)
Challenge to classic theism
Nature of God
Natural – definition and examples
Moral – definition and examples
What is Evil?
Evil: an act or person that is corrupt or wicked
Suffering: having to undergo unpleasant or traumatic experiences
A Problem for Theists?
God made the universe and is therefore…
God is interested and active in the world
God is good
God is powerful
God does not want people to suffer
Evil is… Satan All in the mind - Mental illness A force – Ying / yang The Absence of good – We CHOOSE to do wrong Original Sin
God made Adam and Eve and placed them in a perfect garden
God told them not to eat the forbidden fruit
Satan, the snake, tempted them. They ate the fruit
God threw them out the garden – evil and suffering had entered the world
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT SUFFERING:
Romans 8:18: "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us!"
Romans 8:17: "We must also share in his suffering, if we are to share in his glory."
John 16:33: "In this world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world." (Or as another translations puts it: "Take courage, I've deprived it of its power to harm and conquer you.")
James 5:13: "Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray."
1 Peter 4:12: "Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you. But to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing." And verse 19 says: "Let those who suffer ... entrust their souls to a faithful Creator. . ."
Attempts to reconcile Questioning an Attribute of God
Process Theodicy A.N. Whitehead (1861-1947)
God is co-sufferer – sparrows!
Jewish theology – holocaust
Evil in Bible – holy wars, beyond understanding
Denies the existence of Evil – illusion
Christian Scientist Movement
Dualism (Manichaeism) Mani 215-276CE
Good and Evil powers in the world – equal strength (not devil)
Modern version – Ying/Yang Chinese/Buddhist
St Augustine put his efforts into defeating this heresy
“ The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
Augustine of Hippo Refuting Heretic,” c. thirteenth century
Augustinian Theodicy – Freewill Defence
St Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
2 assumptions 1. Evil is not from God (Gen 3 – The Fall) 2. Evil is a privation – examples
- God made perfect world
- The Fall ruined it all
- We have a “fallen nature”
- God would be justified to punish us
- BUT he provides a way out – Sacrifice of Jesus
Natural evil – Effects of Fall on nature
Moral evil – misuse of Freewill
Problems with Augustine
Perfect world gone wrong? Evolution
Omniscient – still went ahead – indirectly responsible?
Why should we suffer for Adam & Eve’s mistakes?
Who made hell?
From potential to actual
St Irenaeus (130-202) “Soul Making”
The Fall - Human development not judgement
Life is a test - example
Humans made in God’s image (potential)
Embracing suffering, learning from it
Process = Potential (image) to Actual (likeness)
God must keep a distance – glimpse of love, grace. Hick calls this “epistemic distance”. Why?
Hick called this process a “vale of soul making”
Problems with Irenaeus
Universalism – everyone makes it in the end. Orthodox Christianity disagrees
If we’ll all be saved, why not sin?
Unjust if evil goes unpunished? Examples
What benefit is the holocaust? Motive
Hume – why not learn from pleasure as well as pain?
Does the end justify the means?
Guess what? Faith v’s Reason
Do the theodicies work? May help, but won’t convert anybody
Use ideas for proving God’s existence
Use this in problems with God’s existence
Miracles and charity?
Science – suffering is good
2 (a) Explain the challenge to classical theism of the existence of evil. (20 marks)
(b) Explain how the Irenaeus and Hick’s theodicy deals with the problem of moral evil, and assess how far the theodicies succeed in dealing with this problem. (30 marks)