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The Problem of Evil.  Basic premises  There is evil in the world.  God is all-powerful and all-knowing.  God is all-good.

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Presentation on theme: "The Problem of Evil.  Basic premises  There is evil in the world.  God is all-powerful and all-knowing.  God is all-good."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Problem of Evil

2  Basic premises  There is evil in the world.  God is all-powerful and all-knowing.  God is all-good.

3 The Problem of Evil  Basic premises  There is evil in the world.  God is all-powerful and all-knowing.  God is all-good.  It seems puzzling that an all good God would create evil in the world.

4 The Problem of Evil  There is evil in the world.  God is all-powerful and all-knowing.  Good is all-good.  All three of these statements are ones we want to accept as true, but all three of these statements cannot all be true at once. They seem to contradict each other.

5 The Problem of Evil  If we take as given that there is evil in the world, then God being all powerful and all knowing means that God both knows about this evil and could do something about it, yet doesn't.

6 The Problem of Evil  If we take as given that there is evil in the world, then God being all powerful and all knowing means that God both knows about this evil and could do something about it, yet doesn't.  That certainly doesn't sound like an all good being.

7 The Problem of Evil  If God is all good and there is evil in the world, then God would want to stop this evil. If He doesn't stop it, then it seems like he cannot do so, because if he could he would.  Of course, God could be all good and all powerful, and yet evil might still exist, as long as God is not all knowing.

8 The Problem of Evil  So it seems we are left with either the possibility that:  evil doesn't exist, or  God doesn't have the traits we think He does.  This gives us an odd result, because an all powerful, all knowing being that is isn't good seems very different from what we call God. It also would seem strange to call an all good being God if that being is not all powerful.

9 The Problem of Evil – solutions  Two general types of solutions  argue that any evil is the world is there because it is necessary.  argue that we have the wrong idea of what evil is.

10 The Problem of Evil – solutions  Necessary Evil  Leibniz explains away the evil in the world by showing why it had to be there.  This does limit God to some degree, because it implies He had to include a certain amount of evil, but usually this is because of some greater good God included that caused that evil.  Our world as the greatest of all possible worlds

11 The Problem of Evil – solutions  Greatest of all possible worlds  Evil in the world exists because the attempt to rid the world of that evil would somehow make the world a worse place, which God, being all- good, would not do.  For instance, if God made the world such that no one could perform evil acts, then he would be stripping us of our free will, which is a valuable and good thing itself. The loss of that freedom would be worse than the evil acts performed in the world, so if God took away that freedom, he would be making the world a worse place, not a better one.  Otherwise, God would be limiting our choices so that we only picked good things, and that is not freedom.

12 The Problem of Evil – solutions  Is it likely that every bit of evil we find in the world is necessary?  If we take away the hunger of a single person starving, how could that make the world worse? Wouldn't that clearly make the world a better place?  Leibniz has to show that there is no way for the world to be improved if he wants to successfully argue that this world is the best of all possible worlds.

13 The Problem of Evil – solutions  Another possibility:  God is not causing the evil in the world. God created the world so that it was perfect, but evil came about because of our use of free will and turning away from the will of God.  Now, some might argue that clearly not all the evil in the world is caused by freedom of will, but Van Inwagen argues that it can in fact all be traced back to this.

14 The Problem of Evil – solutions  St. Augustine of Hippo CE, Augustine's work has been instrumental in shaping certain aspects of Catholic doctrine.  We have the wrong idea of evil. Evil is not some thing in itself out in the world.  For Augustine, evil is simply the absence of good.  God is perfectly good, but He is the only perfect good. Everything else in the world, while all good, is not perfectly good. Some parts of the world are more good than others.  All the 'evil' we see is simply an absence of good. Light and darkness is an illustration of this idea. You could be in a pitch black room, but this doesn't make darkness anything other than a simple lack of light.


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