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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, evil occurs as the absence of good and God is testing us. Show more Show less

Evil is simply the absence of good that exists so that God can test us.
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Evil acts as a litmus test checking mankind's loyalty to God

Evil is God's sieve that separates the loyalists from the unworthy. Yet, everyone is loved by God and is given a chance to reject temptation, or to repent and save themselves from eternal damnation. All He looks for is loyalty in exchange for the boundless gifts given to His creation.

The Argument

Human beings’ understanding of evil is, more often than not, influenced by the portrayal of extreme violence and inconceivable destruction in the media. Minor transgressions are hardly considered as the work of the devil. But scholars believe that anything, whether big or small, that is against what is dictated by God himself, is wrong and therefore a sin. In keeping with the idea put forward by theodicies, evil exists because of the devil. His mission on Earth is to manipulate people away from the light into darkness through temptations. God is omnipotent, and has the power to destroy evil, yet its continued existence points to the fact that He is actually testing humanity’s loyalty towards Him. He created mankind in His “image and likeness”, and it is not a stretch to assume that humans possess certain qualities that set them apart from the rest of creation; obedience and trust being two of them.[1] Yet humans have been constantly betraying that trust right from the time Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit and convinced Adam to do so as well. In Christianity, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, defied Satan and rejected the temptations put forward before him while he was human. This was to prove to humans that they are capable of being strong-willed.[2] Mankind is God’s finest creation, and He showers us with His unconditional love to the point of sacrificing His only son. Evil and temptation is His way of checking His importance in an individual’s life. Every time someone rejects a temptation, they firmly establish themself in God’s good graces, earning His approval. But when the devil succeeds in getting the better of humans, it showcases imperfection and immorality that results in God’s wrath and punishment in the afterlife. Scholars believe that divine retribution is justified as it is the price an individual pays for constantly disobeying a God who has done nothing but shower humanity with blessings and an abundance of everything. Any punishment from His side is, in fact, a call for repentance rather than payback and should be treated as a loving eye-opener. Theodicies do explain why evil exists in the world; because God is testing us.

Counter arguments

Humans are created in the image and likeness of God, and we share certain qualities with Him. But trust is not one of them. Trust is where one has implicit faith in another person, being or thing. The idea of evil existing and God using it as a test when He has the power to destroy it is not an action that implies trust. On the contrary, it reflects a lack of it. This raises the question, how can mankind be God’s finest creation when He doesn’t trust us? God is portrayed as a loving father in the Gospel of John. A father could never condemn his children to eternal damnation, which is what God would be doing by punishing individuals for their evil deeds in the afterlife. If evil is a test, then God is not the parental figure He is thought to be. Evil creates suffering, and God being omnipotent has the power to end it once and for all. By allowing the existence of evil for the purposes of a test, he is approving needless pain, grief, suffering and despair that could be avoided. This contradicts the notion of God’s inherent goodness. Theodicies do not explain why evil exists in the world, because an all-powerful God could eradicate evil but chooses not to. The paradox cannot be explained by theodicies.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] God has let evil remain in the world to check His position in an individual's life. [P2] Any punishment because of evil is actually a call for repentance carried out by a loving father. [P3] Theodicies do explain why God allows evil in the world.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] It is irrational for a loving God to allow evil to exist to tempt us when all suffering could easily be avoided by not letting evil exist in the first place. [Rejecting P2] A loving father cannot condemn his children to eternal punishment and therefore God is not a loving paternal figure. [Rejecting P3] Theodicies do not explain why God allows evil in this world.

References

  1. http://mercury.webster.edu/kindt3/aicourse/imageofgod.htm
  2. https://www.jba.gr/Temptation-does-God-test-us-with-evil.htm

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 12 Aug 2020 at 15:57 UTC

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