There is no reason for it, so many people turn to God, saying that evil was a form of punishment for sin. This brings up the questions; “What constitutes evil or the punishment of sin?” In addition to, “What is evil exactly?”. Evil is a phenomenon experienced as a result of society’s teachings; what behavior is okay or, in a religious sense, approved by God; people experience evil when they fail to meet the conventional definition of evil. People look for justification as to why evil exists in the world and often struggle to comprehend why innocent people suffer. People desire things to be explainable and the ability to see cause and effect.
The existence of God has been presented by a multitude of philosophers. However, this has led to profound criticism and arguments of God’s inexistence. The strongest argument in contradiction to God’s existence is the Problem of Evil, presented by J.L Mackie. In this paper, I aim to describe the problem of evil, analyse the objection of the Paradox of Omnipotence and provide rebuttals to this objection. Thus, highlighting my support for Mackie’s Problem of evil.
Descartes most famous phrase “I think, therefore I am” shows that we cannot be deceived of our own existence as we cannot think if we exist if we do not in fact exist. Descartes’ second part of the hypothesis for the Evil Demon argument refutes the idea of there being such a being with the assumption of a God. With the assumption of a God who is merciful and kind the chance of an evil being deceiving and tricking us would be highly unlikely to happen. Therefore, we can be very sure that we are not being deceived by an evil demon, only for those who believe in God. Other people who do not would rather not believe in the existence of God than believe the uncertainty of everything else (Descartes first mediation, page 202).
A theodicy attempts to explain why a just and good God would ever allow the existence of evil on earth. The Free Will Theodicy states that the reason that God would not prevent suffering is that “the suffering of the innocent is justified by the existence of free will”. This theodicy also claims that there are natural evils (such as accidents, diseases, etc.) and moral evils, and that moral evils only exist due to humans misusing their sense of free will. According to the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare the awareness that a deed is immoral is what makes fulfilling the deed evil.
Antony subjectively defines morality and uses nature as her source. In contrast, I believe God created all things and defines good and evil through His creation and Word. And finally, as followers of God, our motivation for accomplishing good comes from our love for all God has done for us. Imagine a world without order, chaotic without a specific guide to right or wrong–a world without God. Antony considers herself a “moralistic atheist”, possessing similar beliefs to a humanitarian.
Another main reason why this argument and many other arguments for God’s existence does not work is because of the problem of evil. The problem of evil can be stated with just one question: if God is omnibenevolent, why does evil exist? Aquinas tried to explain this by saying that because God is all good, he allows evil in the world to produce something good out of it. This explanation is confusing and raises more questions than it answers. If God is omnibenevolent, why did he let the evils of the Holocaust to occur?
However, his claims can be refuted on the basis that, when one says that “no greater God can be conceived”, then one would only be talking about God. The word God is what you call a being that is above all understanding. Secondly, the lack of complete understanding of a God that is greater than any other is the basis of Anselm’s argument. In other words, one needs not understand how it is that no other greater God exists, because it is not possible to do that. It is the concept of understanding that such a being exists that is important.
Obedience is a natural part of society, without it there’d be complete disorder. Society would be unstable and unproductive. If no one followed commands, it’d be impossible for society to run smoothly. “The subject is subordinate to the object for the purpose of seeking rewards or avoiding punishment” (Song, Ma, Wu, & Li, 2012, p. 1369). So, if people were not subordinate, there’d be no need to seek rewards or avoid punishment.
Epicurus questions how and why evil exists if God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent. He understands that God cannot be both all-powerful and all-loving if evil exists since s/he would then be limited in power and love. This means that God either does not have the power to stop evil or God is no so loving and will allow evil in the world. I will analyze Epicurus’ question through John Hick’s theodicy of soul making. Argument Because of imperfections in the world and humanity, evil exists.
While I agree with certain aspects of both theories, I have to dispute both outlooks on the ultimate power of God. John Hick believes that there is no way you can deny the existence of evil, but he believes all evil exists because the all powerful God allows it to. How could a God who is all good allow evil to be present, you ask? Hick’s answer to your question would be; In order to draw us closer to him(GOD). If there were no sorrows, pains, or woes, mankind would not see the need for God’s forgiveness and love.
Questioning if God is not omnipotent, the entire idea of God creating the world can be called into question. Another issue is that if it is said that God is no longer entirely good there is the possibility to say that God has evil or bad intentions, and we should denounce him. Lastly, if one says that evil does not exist, then there is no possible way to separate those people who are considered to be deviants of society. This would mean that those who commit crimes that are evil in nature like murder and rape would be considered to be normal and acceptable. In Mackie’s Fallacious Situation, there are four main points that are discussed.
that there exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or lesser evil.”(Rowe 370) In that case, the theists counterargument is as solid as that of the atheists’. With the G.E. Moore shift, the theists are able to argue for God’s existence without denying the premise presented by the atheists. However, the problem with those two objections is that they don’t necessarily prove God’s existence. For the objections only prove that it is difficult to assume God’s non-existence.
Why would such a loving God permit such evil? : This is the question that has been haunting philosophers and theologians for centuries. It seemingly does not make sense for an all-knowing, all-good, and all-powerful God to permit the evils that exist in this world. While many arguments are insufficient in explaining God’s permittance of evil, certain beliefs from those arguments may be combined to create a clearer explanation for this seemingly illogical notion. Cleaerly, God must have created evil for a specific purpose.
McCloskey’s debates give a guard against the legitimacy of the issue of malice. To make the case, a nonbeliever or atheist must have the capacity to demonstrate that God and malice are sensibly opposing. Mackie claims that it is sensibly conceivable that God could and would decide to make free creatures that would be
Title: Defend the Argument from Evil Name: Jun Hao Li Word Count: 1394 Prompt you are responding to: Prompt (3) Defend the Argument from Evil Intro: Since ancient time, people have used the abundance of evil and suffering within our world to challenge the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and all good God. The argument being that is such a God exists, he would be able and willing to exterminate evil. Seeing that evil still exists, supporters of the Argument from Evil have concluded that an omnipotent, omniscient, and all good God does not exist. Theists have defended the existence of God by arguing that the existence of evil is a result of human’s possession of free will and to preserve the greater good of free will,