Problem Of Evil (OCR exam board)


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Problem Of Evil (OCR exam board)

  1. 1. The nature of the ‘problem’
  2. 2. Natural Evil • Only evil when looked at from a human perspective. • Earthquakes are just the natural world fulfilling its potential. • Consider: the ‘arbitrary’ nature of natural evil? • Caused by humanity turning away from its true potential . • Evil that comes through the actions of mankind. Humans are free agents, responsible for their actions and the consequent results. Definitions by Aquinas: Moral Evil CS Lewis (Christian intellectual/ former atheist) says God allows suffering because "we are like blocks of stone out of which the sculptor carves the forms of man. Blows of his chisel, which hurt us so much, are what make us perfect.” Film Shadowlands
  3. 3. • Devised the classic formulation for the Problem of Evil. It became known as the ‘Inconsistent Triad.’ • Epicurus concluded that it is reasonable to suppose that due to the existence of evil, God is either not omnipotent or all loving or God does not exist. Epicurus (342-270 BCE) 1. God is willing but not able to prevent evil? Then he is not omnipotent 2. God is able to prevent evil but not willing? Then God is not Omni Benevolent. 3. If God is both able and willing then why do we suffer?
  4. 4. In ‘Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion,’ 1. God is not omnipotent or 2. God is not all loving or 3. Evil does not exist Conclusion: too much evidence to deny that evil does not exist. God must be either impotent or malicious. Not the God if classical theism. Therefore God does not exist. David Hume This led John Stuart Mill to say that “God of classic Theism doesn't exist.”
  5. 5. There is no ‘problem’ Mary Eddy Baker founder of Christian Science: evil and suffering don't exist – they are a construct of our mind. Buddhists- suffering part of existence. Belief in no ‘creator god’ so suffering not seen as a ‘problem.’ Thus existence of suffering and evil only a problem for those who believe in an all powerful God. Bertrand Russell adds that God is used as a smoke screen, evil is just a ‘brute fact’ of life. Whose view do you agree with and why? Whose view do you disagree with any why? My Prime Mover is quite indifferent to suffering.
  6. 6. • Theos = God • Dikaios = justification • Theodicy literally means a justification of God even with evil in the world. • There are two main theodicy's: Augustine and Irenaeus Theodicy
  7. 7. Theodicy Augustine’s
  8. 8. Augustine’s Theodicy • Interpreted Genesis story literally. • Very traditional view of God • God of classical theism. Hierarchy of Being • God is Being itself (Supreme Being/ immutable). All created things reflect greater or lesser being. • "Since God is supreme being …it follows that He gave "being" to all that he created out of nothing. To some things He gave more of being and to others less and, in this way, arranged an order of natures in a hierarchy of being."
  9. 9. • Original rejection of God by rebellious angels (moral evil) who ‘fell’ or turned away from God (causing natural evil.) • Humans created in the likeness of God (Gen 1:27) but given free will • Evil was let into the world through the misuse of free choice of Adam and Eve who ate the apple of knowledge of good and evil. • Adam and Eve corrupted and destroyed God’s natural perfect order creating disharmony and resulting in natural evil. 1. Origins of Evil/ Role of Freewill
  10. 10. • Seminally present in Adam and Eve= all guilty for the Fall • We deserve punishment = Natural evil is fitting punishment “All evil is either sin or a punishment for sin.” Therefore God is not responsible for moral evil as it through free choice of humans/ angels. God is also not responsible for natural evil as this is a result of the corruption of his perfect created world. Thus God is not responsible for intervening and correcting it. 2. Our Punishment Today
  11. 11. 3. Responsibility of God • God created everything in Creation perfect. • God did not create evil. • Evil comes as an absence of good (cannot create an absence) • Evil is a privation (privatio boni). • This means that God cannot be blamed for evil as evil is not a substance, it is an absence of good. E.g. Blindness is an absence of sight. Blindness is therefore not a ‘thing’ but a lack of something that should be there.
  12. 12. • Not God’s fault for evil: God made a perfect world because God is perfect. • God is not responsible for evil: we bring it on ourselves when we reject God using our free will. 4. Why give us Freewill? It is more valuable having humans with the gift of freewill rather than just obedient followers. This world is “Soul Deciding”
  13. 13. Recap: Augustine Moral Evil Natural Evil God’s Responsibility Brought into the world through misuse of freewill. We all commit moral evil. First moral evil is Adam and Eve and Angels. Moral evil is seen as turning away from God and not following his commandments that are here to help us live together. God created a perfect world as a gift. God did not create evil as it is an absence of good. Where there is goodness lacking is where moral evil happens. So God is not responsible for what we do with our freewill. God is not responsible to stop it either as it is a reminder/ punishment of what our bloodline has done. Is a result of moral evil. Natural evil only exists as it was brought into the world by Adam/ Eve corrupting God’s paradise. We are part of their bloodline so deserve punishment. Humans are continuously committing moral evil resulting in the punishment of natural evil.
  14. 14. • Can you think of three strengths and four weaknesses of Augustine’s Theodicy? • Brian Davies supports Augustine’s idea that evil is not a substance. It is “a gap between what there is and where there ought to be.” Strengths:
  15. 15. Scientific Evolution theory undermines how literally Genesis creation stories can be taken and how we are all seminally present in Adam/ Eve. Criticisms How could a good God let us suffer for what Adam and Eve did? Hell is a difficult concept, if God created it he must have anticipated needing it – so why not change the plan? Moral Logical Schleiermacher A perfectly created world shouldn't have gone wrong. Cannot create something out of nothing.  Either: 1. World was not perfect 2. God enabled it to go wrong
  16. 16. Theodicy Irenaeus’
  17. 17. Irenaeus (130 -200, He died 150 years before Augustine) • Fall taken literally • The serpent is to blame for the Fall, although Adam and Eve are not totally blameless • Adam and Eve are like that of children who go astray because they have not yet developed sufficient wisdom to do what is right. • Even if a child is difficult does not mean parent will abandon them. • Punishment is often a way to help them to mature. • Thus, God has not abandoned us but gives us the distance and punishment to mature. • Supernanny - The Wischmeyer Family 2/8 - YouTube
  18. 18. ‘Let us make man in Our image, in Our likeness.’ Genesis 1:26 Image • We are made in the image of God (with the potential for Good). • Humans could not receive full goodness at Creation as we are spiritually immature • Free will needed to develop own goodness. • Free will was better than receiving ready- made goodness • Gift of moral perfection would not have meant anything to human beings if they did not learn the value of it for themselves. Likeness • We are moving towards the likeness of God (becoming Good) with the potential to be like God • We become like God or move towards the likeness of God by freely choosing the good.
  19. 19. • God did not create a perfect world. • We have freewill so we can become perfect, have to earn perfection . • Moral evil is caused by human’s misuse of free will. • God allowed us to have this free will = more beneficial than making ready-made perfection. • Salvation from God is open to all, who use their freewill for good. • This is the world for “Soul Making”. • However, the damned will be sent to hell as they refused the ‘workmanship’ of God: ‘Your ingratitude, ignoring his goodness in creating you human, will mean you have lost his work on you, you will lose your life (Against Heresies 4:39-2)’. Role of Human Freewill
  20. 20. Responsibility of God • God not responsible for us disobeying and turning to evil (moral evil) through our freewill. • The work of God is on going e.g. seeing Christ as working alongside our own efforts. • God needs to remain at a distance in order for us to mature Must learn, be tested: • Adam (man) suffers through working the ground • Eve (woman) pain of giving birth • Through natural evil (not perfect world) But punishment had to be given boundaries so that Adam and Eve did not despise God (children need boundaries) • This can be linked to an Athlete who has to train their body and mind and test it in order to build the perfect physique
  21. 21. Irenaeus’ Examples in ‘Against Heresies’ Book 4 Mother and Milk E.g. A mother not being able to give a child ‘substantial nourishment’. Just as a young infant cannot take solid foods (given milk) as they are immature, humans could not receive fully formed goodness as they were spiritually immature and so are given free will to develop their own goodness. Potter and Clay Humans cannot get to God by their own means-need a helping hand. E.G. We should keep ourselves moist so that God can work us without becoming too rigid. God’s ‘hands’ help mould us through the existence of natural evil. Natural evil ‘shapes’ us from the image of God to the likeness = develops desirable moral qualities or virtues. It is therefore necessary for God to help humans achieve moral and spiritual perfection. Jonah and Whale E.G Jonah responded to his responsibilities/ accepted God’s wishes after swallowed by the whale. Natural evil provides the environment needed for soul making. Suffering must be endured = move closer to God/ His likeness.
  22. 22. Modern Irenaean Theodicy – John Hick • Human beings were not created perfect but develop in two stages: Stage One: ‘Image’ Spiritually immature. Through struggle to survive (evolve) humans can develop into spiritually mature beings. The Fall is a result of immature humans who are only in the ‘image’ of God Stage Two: ‘Likeness’ Grow into a relationship with God • God's presence not always obvious so humans have a choice whether or not to believe in God (full FW) • According to Hick everyone will be saved – Universal Salvation but some post death soul making is needed = purgatory. • Irenaeus believed in Hell and rejected Universal Salvation.
  23. 23. Strengths and Weaknesses of Irenaean Theodicy Hume: “Could not our world be a little more hospitable and still teach us what we need to know?” Does the suffering have to be so extreme? Elie Wiesel “Trial of God” Challenging God to keep promises found in Psalms, Job. Is such a God worthy of worship?
  24. 24. Supporters and Critics
  25. 25. Freewill is necessary: God had to give it to humans!  Freewill is needed in order to for beings to love God (John Hick)  Love cannot be forced, therefore God has to give people free will.  Watch the clip, how does this link to Aladdin? Peter Vardy: illustration of the peasant girl – King falls in love with a peasant girl – could force her to marry him but for her to love him in return has to be earned.
  26. 26. • The suffering of innocent children is too high a price to pay for the gift of freedom • He would like God to take it back because he cannot deal with the responsibility. • How can this be used against Augustine's Theodicy and Irenaeus’ Theodicy? Dostoyevsky “The Brothers Karamazov”
  27. 27. Need Freewill • Alvin Plantinga: “A world containing free creatures is far more valuable than a world containing robots.” • Process Theology: Whitehead/ Griffin. God isn't omnipotent e.g. A mother giving birth, she does the 1st stage then things occur which she has no control over. God makes the 1st move then we carry on from there. God created the world but now is independent, God no longer has total control, so God suffers with us. • Richard Swinburne Total freewill is necessary. If God intervened in horrors, it would compromise free will like an overprotective parent. Either were have complete free will to choose our actions or we live in a world where events are decided by God – like a toy world
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