argument top image

Do theodicies explain why God allows evil in the world? Show more Show less
Back to question

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 that God allows people the free will to commit evil Show more Show less

Theodicies reconcile the fact that we are all God's children with the evil that some people commit.
< (2 of 5) Next position >

The free will defence claims that evil is caused by human beings

One argument, known as the free will defence, claims that evil is caused not by God but by human beings, who must be allowed to choose between good and evil if they are to have free will. Having the ability to decide one's fate is necessary to understand the importance of God.

The Argument

When God created the first humans, he did not condition them to be slaves destined to do His bidding for all eternity. Instead, God gave them the freedom to choose and take decisions for themselves. As the story goes, Adam and Eve lived in bliss until Eve chose to give in to Satan and eat the forbidden fruit. This choice is what brought evil into the world and it continued to grow with Adam choosing to follow Eve’s example. Human reasoning is not based solely on rationality, but drawn from experiences; physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual. As such, any decision is taken keeping in mind the dictates of God, and a deliberate refusal to follow them is an individual’s right, but also their entry into sin.[1] God provided humankind with free will because it’s only through the freedom of choice that once can truly enjoy the goodness that life has to offer. Evil is a part of life and God allows its existence to help strengthen humanity’s spiritual life. By rationally and freely rejecting the temptations pushed forward by Satan, it brings man closer to a perfect union with an omnibenevolent God. God’s role in the creation was to provide man with the mental faculty to exist and thrive on earth. After this, the use of that rationality and intellect falls squarely on the shoulders of the individuals themselves. God is not responsible for man’s actions, and hence any evil act is not because of God, but humanity itself.[2]

Counter arguments

The argument put forward by theodicies that evil is created by humans has a shaky foundation, primarily because mankind is God’s creation. Everything that man is capable of is of God’s design, including evil. Since God created humans, He has a certain responsibility towards them, and cannot distance Himself from humans' wrongdoings. If evil is created by human beings and God is unable to protect humans from it or even destroy it, then it calls into question God’s supreme power over earth. He would no longer be the omnipotent God that He is widely believed to be. If God can destroy evil and is choosing to let man suffer terribly because of his actions, then God cannot be all-good. This argument of theodicy is invalid because God created humans, and humans created evil; which means that God created evil and does indeed have control over it. Theodicies don't explain why God allows evil because this argument is based on God not having any control over evil, which is not true.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] God has given man the freedom to make his own decisions, whether it be good or evil. Actions have consequences and God is not responsible for either the action or the consequence. [P2] Voluntarily choosing good brings man closer to God. [P3] Theodicies explain why God allows evil into the world.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Since God created humans with the free will to make their own decisions, He also created their capacity for evil. [Rejecting P2] God created humans and everything they are capable of. He is thereby responsible for humans' actions. [Rejecting P3] Theodicies don't explain why God allows evil to exist, because it claims that He has no control over it when He clearly does.

References

  1. https://www.compellingtruth.org/what-is-theodicy.html
  2. https://verdict.justia.com/2020/01/02/why-does-evil-exist-in-the-world

Vote

Not sure yet? Read more ↑

Discuss

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