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Do theodicies explain why God allows evil in the world? Show more Show less
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A theodicy is a story that attempts to demonstrate that the presence of evil in the world does not disprove the existence of a perfectly good, almighty, and all-knowing God. Theodicies and defences are two forms of response to this conundrum. Evil can be classified into natural evil such as disease and physical catastrophes or moral evil, which can be summed up as "man's inhumanity to man."

Yes, theodicies explain the existence of an all-powerful, benevolent God Show more Show less

Theodicies demonstrate the power of an all-powerful God.
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God the Creator is the only perfect being in all of existence

God is described by theists as the "perfect being"; one that is omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omnipresent, and is devoid of sin or weakness. Anything else that is not God is by definition imperfect, including anything that God creates because it is not God. Humans, despite their great capacity for consciousness, are still predisposed to act sinfully.

The Argument

Almost all monotheistic religions believe God to omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. These three superior qualities effectively ensure that God is perfect, capable of doing no wrong. He created man in His own “image and likeness”; but not exactly like Him. Even though humankind shares certain qualities and attributes with God, they are not perfect, unlike their maker. This is one of the main reasons why Eve gave into Satan’s charms and manipulation which resulted in sin entering the garden of Eden. Even though man has free will and voluntarily chooses to disobey God and move away from Him, He is thought to be omnibenevolent and a loving father. To save the world from the ever-deepening hole of sin that humans have been digging themselves into, He sent His son into the world as a human being. This served two purposes: one, it showed that humans are capable of rejecting evil and sticking to the light, and two, it reflected the abundance of God’s unconditional love. The sacrifice of His son also further emphasized God’s absolute goodness and purity. This is also aligned with St. Augustine’s philosophy which believed God to be blameless and evil as the by-product of humans’ free will.[1] Theodicies explain the existence of an all-powerful God who is perfect while all others remain imperfect, which also explains why God allows evil to exist. If everyone else is imperfect, then they have the capacity for evil while God does not.

Counter arguments

While "free will" is a concept that has been made available to humankind because of the goodness of God, there also exists a concept of divine will. According to divine will, God is in control and knows everything that has happened in the past, is happening in the present and will happen in the future. As such, He also knows the actions that individuals are going to take, knowing beforehand if someone will commit a sin. Following this thread, wouldn’t it be safe to assume that God indirectly wanted the evil act to be committed? If evil brings suffering, then how can God be all-goodness when He allows His creation to suffer, especially when He has the power to prevent it? God is not omnibenevolent as religious texts believe Him to be. If God already knows what is going to happen and what evil acts people are going to commit, then what power does He have over evil? Can He choose to stop it, or is it out of his hands? If he can and chooses not to, He is not all-good. If He has no power to, then this points to God not existing as an all-powerful being. Theodicies do not answer any of these questions, and do not explain why God allows evil to exist.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] God is perfect, and everything else is imperfect. [P2] Humans indulge in evil voluntarily because of free will. [P3] Theodicies explain why God allows evil to exist, because no one is perfect except for God.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] If God allows evil to persist, or is powerless to stop it, then He is not perfect. [Rejecting P2] Free will exists within the larger realm of divine will, where God's way is carried out. [Rejecting P3] Theodicies don't explain why God allows evil to exist.

References

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dk5SaL1x7k4

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 12 Aug 2020 at 16:31 UTC

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