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.
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.
Critical Analysis: Evil as evidence for Christianity Evil as Evidence for Christianity is Gregory E. Ganssle’s attempt to logically explain and disprove the claim that evil points toward there being no God. Ganssle claims exactly the opposite, that evil by definition points toward the existence of God with much more substantial evidence than the latter. Ganssle states that there are “three ways in which our thoughts about evil represent facts that point to God ”. Humans have moral objections of good and evil, evil distorts good reality away from its objective purpose or end, and the objective nature of evil rather than the concept of evil points to God. An enjoyable yet short and to the point argument of Gods existence the author captures the attention of the reader and does a great job of defending his claim that evil points to the existence of God.
While God is the embodiment of goodness and cannot make the decision to be anything but good, other members in the Great Chain of Being do have the ability to willfully alter their predisposition... ... middle of paper ... ...l, and knowing, suffering should not exist in the world. The writings and interpretations of St. Augustine, J.L. Mackie, and David Hume have discredited the free will defense. This is much due to the notions that God could choose not to punish man for the sins of Adam and Eve and create them so that they always freely choose the good. The only true defense to theodicy is that a Christian God does not exist.
Philo first begins his argument by stating that if God is truly dominant than he can control everything. Afterwards he continues on to state that if God was willing to avert evil but not able to than he was inept. If he is able to avert it but not willing to, he is malicious. With that being said, Philo concluded that if God truly believed in the well being of man-kind, than there would be no evil in this world. Demea responds by stating that we are only a speck in the whole universe limited to only what we can see.
In Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Part X, Philo have questioned how it is possible to reconcile God's infinite benevolence, wisdom, and power with the presence of evil in the world. “His power we allow is infinite: whatever he wills is executed: but neither man nor any other animal is happy: therefore he does not will their happiness. His wisdom is infinite: he is never mistaken in choosing the means to any end: but the course of Nature tends not to human or animal felicity: therefore it is not established for that purpose.” (Hume, 87) Given the presence of evil, we must either conclude that God wishes to prevent needless suffering, but cannot, in which case God is not all-powerful, or we may admit that he does not wish to prevent evil in which case we may conclude that God is not infinitely benevolent. Or, alternatively, we can conclude that he both wishes and can prevent evil, but that he is not wise enough to know how to arrange the world so that there is no evil, in which case he is not infinitely wise. Evaluation Philo’s argument of the incompatibility of God’s existence with the existence of evil is valid, because of the following: Philo’s argument has the premises which are God is infinitely wise, powerful and benevolent is true.
Pride is the absence of humility, unrighteous anger the absence of temperance, and so on. This idea is evident as he writes that the ability to be corrupted is what makes something good, not i... ... middle of paper ... ...d appear to be unrestrained and unpunished because their wickedness and the lack of true happiness that is associated with it is their punishment (Consolation of Philosophy 94). To both Augustine and Boethius, God is completely good and sovereign. However, He allows men free will and the punishment or rewards that come with these free decisions. Both Augustine and Boethius agree that evil could not, by definition, come from God.
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.
If you do, there is no way to prove the existence of a higher power. The primary argument against the existence of a Judeo-Christian all- knowing, all-powerful, righteous God is the argument from evil. This argument argues against the presence of a higher power using facts of ordinary life. This argument states that most would agree that some of the pain and suffering (evil) in this world is unnecessary. To be considered a necessary evil, the occurrence must be the only way to produce something good, which outweighs the evil.
Evil and an STN God The problem of evil makes theists discern a reason for an STN God to allow evil and suffering in the world. The basic setup for the problem of evil is that either a God who is all knowing, all powerful, wholly good, eternal, and creator of this universe but separate from it (STN) or evil exists. Atheists believe that since evil exists then there is no STN God. Theists branch into two categories, either believing in God, but not an STN God or believing that God has a reason for allowing evil into the world. The latter type is a narrow theist and they use a theodicy to solve the problem of evil, the best of which is the ontological defense.