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Flashcards in Problem of evil Deck (29)
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Epicurean Paradox

- if God can't stop evil, he's omnipotent
- fi God can prevent evil and doesn't, he's not good
- if God was good and powerful there wouldn't be evil


Epicurus quote

"is he willing to prevent evil but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?"


inconsistent triad

John Mackie
1. God is omnipotent
2. God is omnibenevolent
3. Evil exists
cannot logically be true at the same time


2 problems of evil

1. logical - priori and deductive (Epicurus, Mackie)
2. evidential - posteriori and inductive (Rowe)


logical problem of evil

God's existence is logically incompatible with evil


evidential problem of evil

existence of evil makes God's existence unlikely


William Rowe's argument

P1 - there exists instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could prevent
P2 - an omniscient, wholly good being would prevent any intense suffering if it could
C - therefore there doesn't exist an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good being


moral evil

caused by moral agents through choice


natural evil

caused naturally, like suffering caused by earthquake


2 types of evil

natural and moral


free will defence

it's better to have freewill with the probability of evil then no choice, so humans created evil with their freewill


Mackie's argument

P1 - evil and suffering exist
P2 - God is all powerful and loving
P3 - an all loving and all powerful God, if he existed would remove evil and suffering


criticisms of Mackie's argument

P1 - evil is just the absence of good and doesn't exist
P2 - deism is the belief in an impersonal God
P3 - you can't have good without evil



- God is perfect and created a perfect world with no evil
- the sin of Adam and Eve destroyed the perfection of the world (doctrine of the fall of man/original sin)
- God is just and fair which he demonstrates by not intervening as we suffer cause of our own sin


criticisms of Augustine

- could a perfect world go wrong?
- how could perfect beings choose to do wrong?
- is it reasonable to say suffering isn't real?
- if God knew about the fall he's not all loving
- what caused natural evil?


epistemic distance

we are separated from God so evil is only from a human perspective


St Irenaeus

- soul making theodicy
- humans were created imperfectly but with potential to become like him
- we were given freewill to help us develop goodness


Garden of Eden

- it's a metaphor for childhood
- Adam and Eve did wrong as they haven't developed the wisdom to do right


natural evil argument

provides the possibility for human beings to gain spiritual maturity, so it has divine purpose



humans are brought to their essence/relationship with God


criticisms of Irenaeus

- eschatology requires a belief in life after death
- some people suffer more than others
- there are nicer ways than evil to help people develop
- why didn't God create humans morally perfect
- some people don't benefit from suffering (babies)



after death humans will come to physical likeness of God


St Irenaeus analogy

a mother can't give her child sustainable nourishment, only milk, as they're immature, in the same way that man isn't given complete goodness because he's spiritually immature



humans are bought to their essence or relationship with God


criticisms of freewill defence

- an omniscient God must know our choices
- Mackie argues God could have given us freewill in a world where we still chose to do the right thing
- freewill is an illusion as everything we do is determined by a prior cause
- Christians say God can intervene in the world so why doesn't he stop suffering


Hicks theodicy

- humans were created imperfectly by God
- soul making
- natural evil is a necessary condition for development
- universal salvation is where humans achieve development in heaven instead


criticisms of Hick

- some people suffer more than others from natural evil
- universal salvation goes against Christian morality
- how do we know our purpose in life is to be like God



- God gave us freewill to form our own character and be responsible for others
- natural evil allows us to show courage and sympathy
- the mistakes/contradictions in the Bible are justified as its not meant to be taken literally



freewill is meant to show events internal chosen but wasn't our internal nature chosen by God