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9-26 9-26 Presentation Transcript

  • 9-26
  • the problem of evil
    • God is all-powerful
    • God is perfectly good
    • evil exists
    • “Is he willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both willing and able? Whence then is evil?
      • -Epicurus
  • God is all powerful
    • it would seem that if this is the case God could prevent evil
    • one might limit the power of God so as to alleviate His burden for evil
      • this would also seem to suggest that we are not entirely justified in calling him “God”
      • we at least think He was powerful enough to bring the world into existence, and, as such, He must be powerful enough to make changes if He sees a mistake somewhere
  • God is perfectly good
    • there is a general consensus on this among religions
    • if this is not the case we have little reason to worship Him
    • God cannot do evil and remain “God”
  • overcoming the problem
    • free will defense
    • theodicy
  • free will
    • problem of evil arises because of the possibility to choose that humanity has
    • freedom necessitates the option of choosing evil, and sometimes people do indeed choose that option
  • problems with free will solution
    • presumes that we do, indeed, have free will, and this might not be the case
      • events in the world appear to be causally related
      • if some event is not the result of a causal chain, it appears to the result of chance
        • decisions made because of chance or randomness are arbitrary and, hence, cannot be the result of a free will
    • even if we do have free will, our agency before God appears to be diminished, like a child before an adult, and, as such, humanity cannot be held responsible for the amount or quality of evil in the world
  • theodicy
    • this is the best of all possible worlds
    • one view says that we lack a “God’s eye view” of the world to see that it is really all good
    • another view suggests that this world is a testing ground in which we complete our growth into fully mature beings who have the likeness and not merely the image of God
  • problems with theodicy
    • couldn’t God have used a better mechanism for instruction?
    • how can the immense suffering experienced possibly contribute to the spiritual growth of humanity?
    • even if God has some reason, we are in no position to know it as he has not communicated that reason to us. as such, it is more reasonable to believe one of the following: 1) he doesn’t exist; 2) he is not all-powerful; 3) he is not all good