Flashcards in The Problem of Evil Deck (58)
what is a theodicy?
a justification for the existence of evil
what is natural evil?
caused by natural disasters eg. earthquakes
what is moral evil?
caused by the abuse of human free will, e.g. Hitler's actions
the problem of evil =
1) God is all-powerful
2) God is all-loving
3) Yet, evil still exists
4) Either God is not all-good, or he does not exist
what does the problem of evil question?
God's omnipotence, goodness and omniscience
what would one expect a perfect god to create? (christian)
because one would expect a perfect god to create a perfect world
evil's existence =
evidence against god
what can the problem of evil be thought of as?
'Inconsistent Triad' - all corners of the triangle seem to be inconsistent when co-existing
what does augustine say regarding the problem of evil?
"either God cannot abolish evil, of he will not; if he cannot then he is not all powerful; if he will not then he is not all-good"
what idea did JL Mackie forward and rename?
if god is all powerful why doesn't he prevent evil?
called the 'logical problem' because religious believer must try to justify their belief in God, while evil still happens.
what does Mackie say about god and evil?
why would God not stop evil when he has the power over everything
what does the amount of evil challenge?
the goodness of God
what can we question about free will and evil?
is free will worth the price of innocent people suffering and how can anyone believe in the all-good God when such suffering occurs?
what can be said about the statement that god is a good/loving being?
it could be wrong. the evidence could be used to show that God exists but is evil
what can doubting god's existence help to do?
justify evil. if god doesn't exist anyway, that would take away good and omnipotence and solve the triad
what can be said about the existence of evil?
it's possible that evil doesn't exist and we are just misguided in interpreting events as evil
what can we say about the attributes of the theistic god?
they may be wrong. maybe he isn't what we expect so he may not be omnipotent to stop evil. also he may unaware of evil because he may not be omniscient
what is hume's solution to the inconsistent triad?
only two of the parts of the inconsistent triad can exist at one time. all the combinations affect the understanding of the christian God.
as a result, he didn't think the theistic God existed
what kind of theodicy is augustine's?
soul -deciding theodicy
what was augustine's theodicy based on?
what does augustine's theodicy argue?
that god created the world and it was perfect, without any evil or suffering
what did augustine define evil as?
the privation (lack) or goodness, just as blindness is a privation of sight
evil doesn't exist on it's own - what does this mean?
since evil doesn't exist on it's own, god could not have created it - so god is not responsible
instead, where does augustine suggest that evil comes from?
from free will possessed by the fallen angels and humans, who turned their back on god
what does augustine say the state of perfection was ruined by?
the state of perfection was ruined by sin
what is natural evil for augustine?
occured because of the loss of order in nature due to the first sin which broke natural order, defined by augustine as the 'penal consequences of sin'
what is moral evil for augustine?
derived from human free will and disobedience
what did augustine reason?
that all humans are worthy of the punishment of evil (original sin) and suffering because we are 'seminally present in the loins of Adam'
what does augustine say about god intervening?
god has the right not to intervene and put a stop to evil and suffering, since he is a just god and we are worthy of punishments
strengths of augustine's theodicy
1) the idea that evil can arise when people exercise free will fits with our experience of life.
2) it is a traditional Christian interpretation of the bible, it shows that bad people go to hell for their crimes. Unlike Irenaeus who implies everyone goes to heaven eventually.
what is a weakness about the concept of evil? (augustine's theodicy)
concept of evil being a privation and not part of God's creation is illogical
what can we say about Adam and Eve's understanding of evil? WEAKNESS
if the world was meant to be perfect then how could Adam and Eve find out about evil? did it come from god? is he responsible?
what is the weakness with augustine's ideas of grace and salvation?
they go against evolution and exclude many people
what can we say about the idea of hell? WEAKNESS
hell appears to be the idea of the design of the universe - this means god must have already anticipated that the world would go wrong - and accepted it
what was irenaeus' theodicy?
what did irenaeus argue?
that evil is the consequence of human abuse of free will and disobedience
unlike augustine, what did irenaeus believe about god?
that god was partly responsible for evil and suffering
what did irenaeus argue about god's creation?
that god created the world imperfectly so that every imperfect being could develop into a 'child of God', in God's perfect likeness
for irenaeus, why couldn't god create human's in perfect likeness of himself?
because attaining the likeness of God requires the willing co-operation of humans
what did god have to give humans to allow them to willingly co-operate? (irenaeus' theodicy)
had to give humans free will in order for them to be able to willingly co-operate
what does freedom require that can explain the existence of evil? (irenaeus' theodicy)
requires the ability to choose good over evil, god had to permit evil and suffering to occur
what is natural evil for irenaeus?
has the divine purpose to develop qualities such as compassion through the soul-making process. when others see people affected by disasters this can also make humankind compassionate = furthers their soul-making
what is moral evil for irenaeus?
derived from human free will and disobedience
what did irenaeus conclude?
that eventually evil and suffering will be overcome and humans will develop into a perfect likeness of god, and everyone will have eternal life in heaven
what does irenaeus' theodicy avoid that augustine doesn't? STRENGTH
avoids the problem of augustine's 'random' appearance of evil
what doesn't irenaeus' theodicy rely on? STRENGTH
it does not rely on genesis and the story of the fall
what does irenaeus' theodicy allow for? STRENGTH
the modern concept of evolution, that mankind progresses through suffering and adapting
what does irenaeus' theodicy value? STRENGTH
values free will as the means by which man develops morally and spiritually
what does irenaeus' theodicy suggest about god's creation? WEAKNESS
suggests that god's creative work was imperfect
what is the problem with irenaeus' universalism? WEAKNESS
it seems unfair and contradicts holy texts, making moral behaviour pointless
what can suffering never be according to some critics? WEAKNESS
suffering can never be an expression of God's love
Hick's reformulation of Irenaeus' theodicy
it was important for God to allow humans to make free choices. Otherwise we'd be like robots obeying God automatically. God wants humans to be genuinely loving, that's why he gave us free will. If God intervened then humans wouldn't develop. this is called the 'EPISTEMIC DISTANCE'
similarities between Irenaeus and Augustine
- they both trace evil back to human free will
- when humans use their freedom to disobey god, they cause suffering
how does irenaeus differ from augustine?
- his starting point isn't the story of the fall
- god did not create a perfect world
- human beings were not created perfect but with the ability to do evil
- god had to allow the possibility of evil, because if there were no such possibility man would not be free to choose good over evil
how does Irenaeus differ from Augustine? (2)
- if there wasn't evil and suffering humans would follow god's laws because there wouldn't be difficulty in doing so. no need to demonstrate such qualities.
- god does not police out world because it limits our freedom
- natural evil is put in the world on purpose - suffering has a purpose, to teach us obedience - it is not a punishment (was for augustine)
- by exercising free will we can develop into god's likeness
- since evil and suffering will be overcome, there is no need for hell.
what don't humans fully understand? (possible conclusion)
the purpose behind suffering
what does the fact that god's knowledge transcends mean to us? (possible conclusion)
it is possible he allows the suffering because he knows something more about it