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AS RS: The Problem of Evil

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Simon Crispin

on 7 May 2013

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Transcript of AS RS: The Problem of Evil

What is Evil? “Physical pain, mental suffering and moral wickedness” John Hick

The consequence of evil is suffering. Types of Evil The Problem of Evil Augustine's Theodicy Based on the narratives of Genesis 1-3, Augustine’s theodicy argues that God created the world and it was perfect, without the existence of evil or suffering. Genesis 1:31?

God is perfect. He made the world free from flaws. God cannot be blamed for creating evil, since evil is a privation?. Augustine used the analogy of darkness. Blindness is the absence of light. Evil comes from angels and human beings who deliberately choose to turn away from God. The possibility of evil in a created world is necessary. Only the uncreated God can be perfect.

Everyone is guilty because everyone was spiritually present in Adam when he disobeyed God. Everyone deserves to be punished. Evil originates from free will. Natural evil occurs because human action destroyed perfect natural order. Sin entered into the world by Adam & Eve, and destroyed its natural balance. God is right not to intervene and put a stop to suffering. God wasn't responsible for evil because he didn't create it.

Natural Evil: Occurred because of the loss of order in nature, defined by Augustine as the ‘penal consequences of sin’
Moral Evil: Derived from human free will and disobedience

Free will is valuable so God sustains a world where natural & moral evil occurs. The existence of evil highlights the goodness of creation - shows contrast between Good & Evil. Natural
Evil Criticisms of
Augustine's Theodicy Moral
Evil The malfunctioning of the natural world
e.g. natural disasters, diseases The result of human immorality
e.g. genocide, lying Evil & God? God is assumed to have the the divine qualities of omnipotence, omniscience and omnibenevolence
The existence of evil and suffering in the world provides a challenge to the loving God of classical theism What is the Inconsistent Triad? The three are logically inconsistent.
If God is omnipotent, he is aware of the existing evil and suffering and knows how to put a stop to it.
If God is omnibenevolent he will want to put a stop to it. Yet evil and suffering does exist. Logical Solutions? The idea God is a good and loving being could be wrong – there is more evidence to suggest God is evil If God doesn’t exist, it would remove the existence of good and omnipotence from the Inconsistent Triad, thereby solving the problem It’s also possible evil doesn’t exist. Maybe we’re misguided in interpreting events in terms of evil and suffering The attributes of the Christian God maybe wrong. Maybe God isn’t omnipotent and cannot stop evil What is a theodicy? A justification for God.
It’s an attempt by philosophers to reconcile the goodness of God with the existence of evil (354-430 CE) “God saw all that he had made and saw that it was very good” Genesis 1v31 Privation: A lack of something (e.g. goodness) You wouldn't know what good is if there was no evil

Schleiermacher argued it was a logical contradiction to make the claim that a perfectly created world went wrong since this implies that evil created itself. Either the world was not perfect to start with or God made it go wrong – if this is the case it is God and not humans who are to blame and the existence of evil is not justified
If the world was perfect and there was no knowledge of good and evil, how could Adam and Eve have the freedom to disobey God if goodness and know what evil is? The disobedience of Adam and Eve and the angels implies that there already was knowledge of good and evil. Augustine’s interpretation of the tree of knowledge therefore is questionable.

Augustine’s view is also inconsistent with the theory of evolution which asserts that the universe began in chaos and is continually developing, not diminishing over time.
Augustine’s view that every human in seminally present in the loins Adam is biologically inaccurate and the question can be raised; is God really justified in allowing punishment of one human being for the sin of another human being?
Inherited sin is unfair – just because Adam sinned means we’re all sinners
God can’t be omnipotent and omnibenevolent if evil and suffering occurs (the Inconsistent Triad)

Requires belief in the literal interpretation of the Bible (Satan, angels, Adam, Eve, Heaven, Hell)

People who are suffering may not find the theodicy convincing because pain is very real and hard
The science is flawed – anatomy in 400CE is different to 2013
You and I weren’t present in Eden – we should we be punished?
If creation was made perfectly it would not go wrong
Predestination – God knows in advance what will happen to us, and therefore determines our fate
Difficult to see how the Free Will Defence is justifiable – presupposes the conditions in which we can make genuine and informed choices
If God created Hell for ‘evil-doers’, he must have planned/expected evil to enter the world
Homunculi – an ancient theory stating a man contains large numbers of little people – based on inherited sin (totally unscientific & unrealistic)
Augustine implies ‘our nature is a wretched condition’ – God gave us free will. We should be blamed for sin, not God. Humans are ignorant and are restricted in choices – we don’t have complete free will
If God chooses our fate before we are born, we can’t have complete free will
An omniscient God would know when evil would occur, so he could prevent it

If God was omnibenevolent, he couldn’t be responsible for evil

If God was omniscient, he shouldn’t have given us free will if he knew we were going to disobey him

We don’t know God’s thoughts and plans
Full transcript