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The Problem of Evil

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Professor walter sisto

on 12 June 2017

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Transcript of The Problem of Evil

The Problem of Evil
2-Evil Itself-negation of the good
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
These answers are not sufficient
Defining our terms
1-Privative Theories
Privative Theories
meontic-has no substance
Evil is a problem for Western religions because religious
Reality of evil
-problem for all religions

Eastern Axial Religions
(2) Misconception (lack of enlightenment)
We ask the wrong questions
-Not "Why it did this happen," but "how do I respond to this tragedy in a manner that is consistent with my belief system"
(1) Result of Bad Karma
1) God is Love
2) God is all-powerful, all-good, all-knowing, all-present
The reality of evil brings up these questions:
1-Is God willing to prevent evil, but unable to do so?
2-Is God able to prevent evil but unwilling?
(God is impotent)
(God is malevolent)
3-Is God both able and willing to prevent evil in the world? Then why is there evil in the world?
= Problem of Evil
Theodicy-explanations of why God allows evil in the world
Rejects-2 ultimate forces: Good (God) versus Evil (Devil)
1-Western Religions reject dualistic theories
1-God did not create evil because evil is not a thing, a force, a power
ex. stealing
evil=taking something that does not belong to you
3-God gives us freedom
freedom- possibility to disobey/ do evil
Evil choices = empty choices
More terms
Moral Evil
Psychological Evil
Natural Evil
-all natural disorders or upheavals that prove to be detrimental to human well-being
Ex. Natural disasters, Disease
-involves human freedom
-failure to maintain a just relationship with God or other people
versus giving alms
-participating in God's love for the world
-making God's goodness present in the world
freedom is intimately connected to evil
without freedom
4-Evil enters the world with the original sin
-humankind is the imago Dei (image of God)
original sin = loss of the harmony in the world and in ourselves
5-God intervenes only in as much as this intervention will not take away our freewill
-World reverts to its creative/evolutionary processes (Modern)
Natural Evil-loss of harmony in the world extends to the cosmos
Moral Evil/psychological evil-original sin is perpetuated in society and peoples
(Demons-Fallen Angels-take advantage of this disorder/lack of harmony in creation)
End of evil is intimately connected to the redemption of humankind
2-Prospective Theories
1-God allows the realities of
-pain, suffering, temptation and sin
-necessary for human development
-Adam and Eve's sin is a result of their immaturity
Where is God in suffering?
2-If no possibility of "evils", then no one could freely choose God.
3-Evolutionary Theories
Christian Churches
-variety of theories
-reality of evil is a mystery
Response in a nutshell!!
-It is not a question of either religion or science, but rather of finding God in both.
1) God is the creator of all
2) The existence of evil as a tragic reality
4) The existence of the universe as a dynamic, evolving reality with its own laws of growth and development.
3) The existence of human beings as free and responsible agents
-world is not yet what God intends it to be
-evolution continues and our experience of evolutionary processes (chaos, struggle, death) continues that causes suffering
-process of evolution = means by which God makes this happen
Biological Evolution and God
What About the "Original Sin"?
-stress myth about communal or social sin
communal evil-"snowball effect"
e.g., credit card
-refused because you have never owned anything
-innocent are prejudiced against
1-statistically usual outcome of evolution is obliteration (Simpson, 1961, p.21.)
-yet life continues?!
-(a)genetic mutation and (b) death
-God's hand in this?
-primary/first and final cause!!
-Randomness accounts for the success and failures of species
2-How God does this....
-life evolves at the expense of life
4-Phenomenological Theories
Pope John Paul II- Salvici Dolores
-move away from abstract answers and questioning
-evil and suffering a givens
"Why is there evil/suffering?"
-No abstract "answer"
We only hear "Christ's saving answer as he himself gradually becomes a sharer in the sufferings of Christ" (SD 26)
Gospel of Christ=Gospel of Suffering
Christ strikes at the root of evil: sin and death
--> definitive suffering (damnation)
-Cross and Resurrection this is no longer an obstacle
-encompasses the entire evil of turning away from God
Human suffering reaches its culmination in Christ's passion
-human suffering is redeemed/ is in a new situation
- Christ takes part in it and thereby redeems suffering
-God does not cause suffering, but rather God suffers with us in the person of Jesus Christ
1-Suffering becomes an invitation to grow spiritually
-show forth the glory of God
"complete what is lacking in
Christ's afflictions" (Col 1:24)
-bare witness to God who is Love, who suffers with us
2-Overcome "uselessness" of suffering
human suffering is untied to Christ suffering that further the victory of salvific power in the world
-solidarity in love in suffering with God and humanity
-Only in this way do the riddles of sorrow and death grow meaningful
Starts with 4 points:
-Enough individual sins that society becomes sick to its core
3-Therefore, Evolution depends on chance
-genetic mutation occurs by chance with respect to adaptation

4-Human beings are products of evolution and chance
Suffering is the basic condition of the universe
“All creation groans and is in agony...eagerly awaiting the revelation of the sons of God” (Romans, 8:18‑23).
Freedom and consciousness are won through this suffering
6-Human freedom is the result of chance
Suffering (moral, physical, psychological) in all its aspects reveals this cosmic struggle to create us!!
-Come with the emergence of freedom
Suffering is the basic law of all existence that seeks greater being
not just a by product of evolution, a trial God permits
catalyst of the evolutionary process
Cross of Christ
God is love
-God not only creates out of this Love,
God's redeems the suffering in evolution by becoming human
means to give up oneself for another
Love= (Love-Suffering)
evolution is consistent with a loving God
How do we explain evil?
1-Disease, Natural disasters
-perceived as evil
-result of evolution (the means to make us free agents)
2-Moral Evil and Psychological Evil
What does this say about God?
1-God creates via evolution
-Evolution-creates Evil (at least in its natural form) and in its potential form (moral evil)
Evil as we experience it is the cost of consciousness and freedom!!
2-However, God not only guides this evolutionary process toward a goal (final cause)
-heaven on earth
God enters that process and redeems it from within
we do not suffer alone, with/in God (Jesus Christ)
Christ is our "fellow suffer" and guides us to redemption
"we must understand that even senseless evils — the apparently useless suffering, tragic accidents, natural catastrophes, even outrageous crimes against innocents — are in some sense redeemable"
we are called to do our utmost defeat evil!
-via science/ good deeds
usher in the kingdom of God that will come when Christ comes again
-All creation not just humankind seeks redemption
-situated in a sinful world/history
Not acceptable..
2-Evil is God's punishment
(Have we lost God's blessing??)
-God values our freedom so much that our ability to act and think freely is a result of the free process of evolution
Through Christ...
-Incarnation--> without overriding human freedom, God redeems humankind as a human being
to have freewill and to be the stewards of creation means
God respects our autonomy and choices
We have to want this to be fixed!!
-sets creation back on course towards recovering God's friendship
What about evil??
human experience of these creative processes
-Demonic presence?
C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters
Image of God means....
-God's steward to creation
-- All creation is connected to him/her (Gen 2:5)
-microcosm of the macrocosm
-Their sin is personal but has cosmic/natural effects
Awareness of the evolutionary processes = suffering
Cells can go berserk!!
Disease, manifestation of recessive genes
1a-despite apparent setbacks and various losses that have occurred within the process
(e.g., extinct species, evolutionary “throwbacks”, etc.),
-on the whole, evolution moves forward

Evolution is God how creates us, but also how God creates us as free willing agents
without chance (genetic mutations) =inbreeding/change in environment = death of species
Evolution and God
-we are not coerced in any way by God
Psychological evil is either
1-Painful result of sin
2-God's test
-unbelief cause suffering
4 theories
4-Phenomenological Theories
-Allah tests to see if you are truly righteous
-forget to serve God--> enslavement to passions
-correct their character
Do not resist suffering
-accept God's will
-good works/repentance relieve pain/sin
-Not a test
e.g., institutionalized slavery
-society perpetuates moral evil
-no longer perceive as evil
e.g., extremism
-blind to evils
-Answer found in the phenomena of Christ's suffering
-God is not only with us, but embraces us in suffering
The Devil temps us!
no. 16
no. 22
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