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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."

No, a good God would not allow evil Show more Show less

The only plausible explanation for the existence of both God and evil is the existence of another potent spiritual force that creates or encourages evil.
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Evil proves the existence of Satan as a nemesis to an omnibenevolent God

God is all-good and would not create evil. Nevertheless, evil exists in the world. This points towards the presence of another divine being with the power to create and promote evil on earth. This separation of good and evil is the foundation of people's belief in God and religion.

The Argument

Theism in the world rests on the belief that God is all-powerful; he is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. Being the creator of heaven and earth, and all beings within, He is a God of love and compassion who dotes on His creations, and would not let anything harm even the hair on their heads. But the belief in God is always accompanied by the belief of the existence of evil, a force determined to pull His believers away from the light and into darkness and destruction. An ever-loving God could/would never allow for the existence of evil, from His own free will. This points to the existence of an equally powerful being, God’s archenemy, Satan. Ancient religions, particularly those which are monotheistic[1] were conflicted because of the existence of pain and suffering despite there being the protective gaze of an omnibenevolent God. It led to widespread atheism until the idea of Satan being the originator of evil came into being.[2] It released God from the accusation of being hypocritical, and more importantly, the perpetrator of pain and darkness. With Satan, the idea of God being pure goodness is amplified. This allows for a strengthening of one’s faith in Him as the protector of all. Theodicians often quote the Bible to showcase the numerous instances where God is separated from Satan. In Ephesians 6:11-13, it is stated to wear the armor of God in the battle “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Similarly in the Gospel of John, it is stated, "The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil."[3] This proves that evil is the creation of the devil, better known as Satan, while God has always provided unconditional love and protection to His people. With the belief in place that God is good and Satan is evil still comes the question of why God would allow Satan and evil to exist at all. This belief explains only the origin of evil, but not the why of evil. And if a good God would not allow evil at all, then why does evil exist? Theodicies do not explain why God allows evil.

Counter arguments

The argument that evil exists in a world that is looked after by an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God is paradoxical in nature. An all-powerful God would mean that evil would be less potent than God, thus hinting that He is the creator of the devil, and thereby evil. If God is the creator of Satan, then He is not the all-perfect and all-goodness God that people believe Him to be. This directly contradicts some of the basic tenets of monotheistic religions and negates His characteristic of being omnibenevolent. If the theodicies argument is considered true, and there exists a separate entity, apart from God, who creates evil in the world, then that being, i.e. Satan, would have to be just as powerful as God. This is because God has not been able to destroy him leading to the logical conclusion that God is not omnipotent as many scholars and religious texts claim.[4][5]

Proponents

Premises

[P1] God is good and would not allow evil. Yet, evil still exists. [P2] If God is good and Satan is evil, why does God allow Satan and evil to exist? [P3] Theodicies do not explain why God allows evil.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] If God is omnipotent then he created the devil with the capacity for evil. [Rejecting P2] Evil exists because Satan is just as powerful as God, and God cannot defeat Satan. [Rejecting P3] Theodicies do explain why God allows evil; He cannot destroy it.

References

  1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/monotheism
  2. https://www.livescience.com/56341-where-did-satan-come-from.html
  3. http://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/satan.htm
  4. http://www.sofiatopia.org/equiaeon/theodicy.htm
  5. https://www.iep.utm.edu/evil-log/

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 12 Aug 2020 at 15:39 UTC

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