While Philo agreed with Demea that it is apparent that there is evil in the world, he disagreed in that Gods nature is impossible to know. Like Cleanthes, he agreed that God’s attributes can be derived empirically, however he disagreed in that he said that God cannot have his triad of attributes while evil is existent. Philo said that while there may be more good than evil, the fact that there is any evil in the world indicates that God is contradicting his triad. So, Philo concluded that while it is evident God exists through his necessity of being the prime mover, and while his attributes can be derived empirically through observations of nature, it is evident that he is lacking one of the supposed attributes. Philo says that for God to exist he must not be anthropomorphized; God is blind to good and evil, he is an indifferent prime mover.
Through interpretations of St. Augustine, J.L. Mackie, and David Hume's arguments in reference to the God and evil problem, the problems inherent in the argument will support the assertion that the Christian God cannot exist; the definition must be altered. St. Augustine argues that the world is fundamentally good and believes in the concept of the Great Chain of Being. God is the ultimate and supreme good and each being, in a chain-like fashion, is a lesser degree of the perfect idea of good. Evil only comes into play when a member of God's world renounces his/her role in the proper scheme of things.
Or we must say that God is not omnipotent, and although he is wholly good and would prevent evil if he could, he is powerless to stop it.” (Fitzgerald 340). This is a significant problem to the revealed religions because they believe in a wholly good and omnipotent God. Why then, would this God allow evil? In this paper, I will provide, explain, and evaluate St. Augustine of Hippo’s solution to this question. Augustine feels that evil stems from choice and free will.
Is there any satisfactory way of reconciling the existence of an omnipotent and all-loving God with the existence of natural evil (i.e. evil not due to the misuse of human free will)? One of the central claims of the Judaeo-Christian tradition is the existence of an omnipotent and all-loving God. Against this is the observation that people and animals suffer evil. By common sense, we would infer from this observation that God, as conceived in this tradition, does not exist - for, if He did, He would prevent the evil.
In Augustine's Confessions, the early church father puts forth a complex theodicy in which he declares evil to be nonexistent. Such a leap may seem to be illogical, but this idea stems from the understanding of what is substance and what is not. According to Augustine, the duality of good and evil is false, because anything that is good is substance and what humans think of as evil is simply the absence of the good (Confessions, 126). Vices for example, are just the display of the absence of the good. Pride is the absence of humility, unrighteous anger the absence of temperance, and so on.
In the excerpt from Philosophy of Religion, John Hicks outlines the problem of evil as such: (a) If God were truly omnibenevolent, he would then wish to eliminate all evil; (b) If God is were truly omnipotent, he would then be capable of eliminating evil; (c) Evil exists in the world. Therefore: (d) God is not omnibenevolent or He is not omnipotent. Either element of the conclusion is damaging to the traditional understanding of a Judeo-Christian God. It seems simple enough. A benevolent Creator appears incompatible with what we understand to be the existence of evil.
How did evil creep into the universal picture? In Book VII of his Confessions, St. Augustine reflects on the existence of evil and the theological problem it poses. For evil to exist, the Creator God must have granted it existence. This fundamentally contradicts the Christian confession that God is Good. Logically, this leads one to conclude evil does not exist in a created sense.
(LPE5) Therefore, Christian theism is false (Merchant, 78).” The standard logical problem of evil brings God’s omnipotence into question, yet atheists have modified the logical problem of evil so that it also brings into question God’s omnibenevolence and even His omniscience. The modified logical problem of evil is as followed: “(LPE1) According to Christian theism, God is perfectly good and, thus, wills to prevent evil. (LPE6) According to Christian theism, God is all-knowing and, thus, foreknew that evil would exist. (LPE7) Therefore, according to Christian theism, God wouldn’t freely create this world. (LPE8) But, according to Christian theism, God freely created this world.
Since evil exists, how can God be both omnipotent and loving? The Christian Science answer to this question is that evil is an illusion of the human mind. The Judaic/Christian faiths do not hold to this theory. The Bible is full of descriptions of good and evil in human life. Evil is pictured as dark and ugly.
Then he is malevolent Is he both able & willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? Of course, this doesn’t truly disprove the biblical God, but it certainly puts it into perspective.