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Flashcards in the problem of evil Deck (29)
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1

How did John Hick define evil?

John Hick defined evil as “physical pain, mental suffering and moral wickedness” For Hick, the consequence of evil is suffering

2

What is Natural evil?

The apparent malfunctioning of the natural world e.g. diseases and natural disasters

3

What is moral evil?

The result of human immorality e.g. genocide

4

What is the problem of evil?

However, the existence of evil and suffering in the world provides a challenge to the loving God of classical theism- omnipotence, omniscience and omni benevolence.
Augustine, in his book ‘Confessions,’ recognised this problem:“Either God is not able to abolish evil or not willing; if he is not able then he is not all-powerful, if he is not willing then he is not all-good.”

5

What is the inconsistent triad?

A triangle of three statements- Evil exists, God is omnipotent, God is omnibenevolent. The three are logically inconsistent. If God is omnipotent, he is aware of the existing evil and suffering and knows how to put a stop to it. If God is omni benevolent he will want to put a stop to it. Yet evil and suffering does exist.

6

What did David Hume argue?

only three possibilities exist:
I. God is not omnipotent
II. God is not omni benevolent
III. Evil does not exist

Since we have sufficient direct experience to support the existence of evil, if God exists he is either an impotent God or a malicious God; not the God of classical theism. Hume concluded that God therefore does not exist.

7

What did Anthony Flew write?

Antony Flew wrote that the biggest challenge to the believer is accepting that the existence of evil and suffering is a major problem that demands an adequate response. The problem faced by monotheists demands a solution, not of qualification; in which the nature of God is arbitrarily changed to suit different circumstances – this concept of God ‘dies the death of a thousand qualifications,’ but by the rational justification of God’s right to allow evil and suffering to continue despite his ability to stop it.

8

What did Aquinas argue?

Aquinas argued that God’s goodness is infinitely different to human goodness (although he does maintain that both have points of correspondence). Therefore, it is conceivable that God allows evil and suffering to exist as a part of his greater plan of love

9

What is AUGUSTINIAN THEODICY (SOUL-DECIDING THEODICY) based on?

Based on the narratives of Genesis 1-3, the fall of man.
Genesis 1:31: “God saw all that he had made and saw that it was very good”

10

How did Augustine define evil?

Augustine defined evil as the privation of goodness, just as blindness is a privation of sight. Since evil is not an entity in itself, just like blindness is not an entity in itself, God could not have created it.

11

Why does Augustine say evil exists?

The existence of evil originates from free will possessed by angels and humans, who turned their back on God and settled for a lesser form of goodness thus creating a privation of goodness as the narrative of ‘the fall’ in Genesis 3 tries to explain. As a result the state of perfection was ruined by sin.
Natural Evil: Occurred because of the loss of order in nature, defined by Augustine as the ‘penal consequences of sin’
Moral Evil: Derived from human free will and disobedience

12

Why does Augustine say that evil and suffering is necessary?

Augustine reasoned that all humans are worthy of the punishment of evil and suffering because we are “seminally present in the loins of Adam”’ deserving of the punishment for original sin. 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 punishment. It is by his grace and infinite love however, that we are able to accept his offer of salvation and eternal life in heaven.

13

How can Augustinian theodicy be summarized?


God is perfect. The world he created reflects that perfection.
Humans were created with free will.
Sin and death entered the world through Adam and Eve, and their disobedience.
Adam and Eve’s disobedience brought about ‘disharmony’ in both humanity and Creation.
The whole of humanity experiences this disharmony because we were all ‘seminally’ present in the loins of Adam.
Natural evil is consequence of this disharmony of nature brought about by the Fall.
God is justified in not intervening because the suffering is a consequence of human action.

14

What are the strengths of Augustinian theodicy?

• It is based on the bible and does not contradict the scriptures
• Evil is not originally part of God’s creative work
• It stresses the value of free will as the best choice God could have made for mankind
• God is therefore not responsible for man’s evil choices

15

What are the criticisms of Augustinian theodicy?

It is a logical contradiction to make the claim that a perfectly created world went wrong since this implies that evil created itself ex nihilno which is a logical contradiction. Either the world was not perfect to start with or God made it go wrong – if this is the case it is God and not humans who are to blame and the existence of evil is not justified.
If the world was perfect and there was no knowledge of good and evil, how could Adam and Eve have the freedom to disobey God if goodness and evil were as yet unknown? The disobedience of Adam and Eve and the angels implies that there already was knowledge of good and evil. Augustine’s interpretation of the tree of knowledge therefore is questionable.
Augustine’s view is also inconsistent with the theory of evolution which asserts that the universe began in chaos and is continually developing, not diminishing over time.
Augustine’s view that every human in seminally present in the loins Adam is biologically inaccurate and the question can be raised; is God really justified in allowing punishment of one human being for the sin of another human being?

16

Why did Irenaeus think evil existed?

Like Augustine, Irenaeus argued that evil is the consequence of human free will and disobedience. However, unlike Augustine Irenaeus believed that God was partly responsible for evil and suffering. Irenaeus argued that God created the world imperfectly so that imperfect immature beings could develop through a soul-making process into a ‘child of God,’ in his perfect likeness.

17

What does the Irenaen theodicy say?

God could not have created humans in perfect likeness of himself because attaining the likeness of God requires the willing co-operation of humans. God thus had to give humans free will in order for them to be able to willingly co-operate. Since freedom requires the ability to choose good over evil, God had to permit evil and suffering to occur.
Natural Evil: Has the divine purpose to develop qualities such as compassion through the soul-making process
Moral Evil: Derived from human free will and disobedience
Irenaeus concluded 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.

18

Why did Irenaeus think evil was useful?


Useful as a means of knowledge. Hunger leads to pain, and causes a desire to feed. Knowledge of pain prompts humans to seek to help others in pain.
Character building. Evil offers the opportunity to grow morally. If we were programmed to ‘do the right thing’ there would be no moral value to our actions. ‘We would never learn the art of goodness in a world designed as a complete paradise’ Swinburne.
A predictable environment. The world runs to a series of natural laws. These laws are independent of our needs, and operate regardless of anything. Natural evil is when these laws come into conflict with our own perceived needs.

19

How can Irenean theodicy be summarized?


Humans were created in the image and likeness of God.
We are in an immature moral state, though we have the potential for moral perfection.
Throughout our lives we change from being human animals to ‘children of God’.
This is a choice made after struggle and experience, as we choose God rather than our baser instinct.
There are no angels or external forces at work here.
God brings in suffering for the benefit of humanity.
From it we learn positive values, and about the world around us.

20

How did Hicks reform the Irenean theodicy?

John Hick highlighted the importance of God allowing humans to develop themselves. He reasoned that if God made us perfect, then we would have the goodness of robots, which would love God automatically without any further deliberation.
If God interfered or became to close,

21

What did John Hick say would happen if God interfered or became too close?

humans would be unable to make a free choice and thus would not benefit from the developmental process. This is known as the counterfactual hypothesis. Therefore God created humans at an epistemic distance from himself, a distance of knowledge.

22

What are the criticisms of Irenean theodicy?

• The idea that everyone goes to heaven is not just, it is inconsistent with Orthodox Christianity and ‘The Fall’ of Genesis 3. It also demotes Jesus’ role from ‘saviour’ to ‘moral role model’
• Is the magnitude of suffering really necessary for soul making? e.g. the Holocaust
• D.Z. Phillips in ‘The Concept of Prayer’ argued that the continuation of evil and suffering is not a demonstration of love from an omni benevolent God

23

What are the counter arguments made to these criticisms of Irenean theodicy?

• If life suddenly ceased to exist God would not have achieved his purpose
• The supreme life in Heaven is required in order to justify the amplitude of suffering and evil on earth
• Some ‘evil people’ cannot be held responsible for their evil actions; for example mentally retarded people

24

What are the strengths of Irenean theodicy?

Unlike Augustine's theory, it can be reconciled with scientific knowledge.
Unlike Augustine's theory, it does not create a contradiction between a loving God, and evil and suffering in the world.
It is more in keeping with God's loving nature, than Augustine's theory.
Helps to explain the existence of evil and suffering in both a natural and moral sense.

25

What are the weaknesses of Irenean theodicy?

Heaven for all is unjust.
What is the incentive to come closer to God's likeness if everyone goes to heaven.
Why would it be necessary for so much suffering to exist.
Why couldn't God have chosen to create free agents who didn't contemplate evil?
Can suffering really be good for humans?

26

What is the Free will defense?

The free-will defence incorporates the notion of free-will underlined in the Augustinian and Irenaen theodicies. The free-will defence is based on the premise that moral evil stems from moral agents, and free agency is a necessary condition for human development. The goodness of free agency outweighs the evil derived from free moral agents.

27

Why do supporters of the Free will defense say that divine intervention is bad?

divine intervention would compromise human freedom thus preventing human development. Swinburne used the example of death – death brings about suffering but is necessary to ensure humans take their responsibilities seriously. Swinburne wrote: ‘If there is always a second chance there is no risk.’

28

What are the criticisms of the Free will defense?

? The question can be raised – is the magnitude of suffering really necessary for human development?
? Some argue that God could have created free agents without risking bringing evil and suffering into the world - there is nothing logically inconsistent about a free agent that always chooses goodness over evil.
? If I had the chance to prevent a murder from happening but chose to let it happen I could not use the free-will defence to justify my inaction. It would be unacceptable for a human being to argue that they were right in not preventing the murder, even if they were able to, simply because they wanted to preserve the free-will of the murderer. So why should this justification be more acceptable coming from God?

29

What were Hick's counter arguments to the criticisms of the free will defense?

Hick argued that either we demand a world free of evil and suffering in which there would be no free-will or we accept the world as it is now. If we say that some evils are too great then we begin to go down a scale of evils until even the slightest evil becomes too great e.g. if we say cancer is too severe, what about heart disease, flu or even a headache?
Hick argued that if morally free agents existed which could only choose good, humans would not be truly free since their actions would have been decided before they came into existence, even if they were under the illusion that they were acting freely.