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."

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.
< (4 of 5) Next position >

God is not benevolent

It is presumed that a good and well-meaning God would not allow the existence of evil. Evil exists in the world, therefore God is not benevolent.

Context

God is characterised by omnipotence, omnibenevolence and omniscience, terms that imply an all powerful, all good and all knowing depiction of God, coexistent with humans who believe God to be as such.

The Argument

In Theism, God is an all-powerful, knowing and good deity. Within the human condition, which God dictates, evil is present and prevalent. The existence of evil is contradictory to God’s benevolence, so God cannot be benevolent. This argument takes from 'modus tollens,' a logical proof that implies where a benevolent God exists, evil cannot. Because evil exists in the world, God is not benevolent and cannot exist.[1] The presence of evil makes the existence of an all-good God improbable, given that the principles of good and evil are diametrically opposed. This contradiction between the presence of evil and the presence of an all-good God renders the existence of a benevolent God impossible.[2] An oppositional argument comes from Theism, which argues that evil can exist in the presence of God because God allows evil in carrying out the greater good or lesser evil. In response to the Theist approach, one can introduce a line of inductive reasoning. An all-powerful God can prevent natural evils in their entirety. Based on the evidence that evil exists, God either cannot prevent evil or cannot perform good without sacrifice. As such, the probability of the existence all-good God is unlikely. [3] [4]

Counter arguments

To assess the nature of God by removing it from a theist context, such as the use of logical or evidential methodology, is to argue for the case of God with non-believers. There can be no satisfactory answer to the question of God’s benevolence if one does not believe in the fundamental nature of God, whether it exists or not. By definition, God is the absolute in all facets of power, virtue and knowledge. Those who believe in its existence would thereby categorise it with these qualities, whether evidence or logic suggests against or for it.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=6ECxW_2tAf0C&pg=PA118&dq=companion+hume+observe+neither+God+nor+other+universes&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Z0OMVMfjJob1UvykgLAN&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=companion%20hume%20observe%20neither%20God%20nor%20other%20universes&f=false
  2. https://www-cambridge-org.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/core/books/hume-dialogues-concerning-natural-religion/4706E80A2DDE8AF1F5E5CBA147509D70
  3. https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt17xx5kd
  4. https://oxford-universitypressscholarship-com.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/view/10.1093/oso/9780198738909.001.0001/oso-9780198738909

Vote

Not sure yet? Read more ↑

Discuss

This page was last edited on Sunday, 4 Oct 2020 at 22:24 UTC

Explore related arguments