Microsoft Word 101probevil.doc


1 The Probl em of Evil If there were an all PKG (all pow erful, all kno wing, — d God) , then there woul and all goo d be either no evil at all, or a lot less of it than we actually find in this world. Since the world cont ains much evil that ikely that an all PKG God exists. ntless, it is unl seems poi Two kinds of evil: “natural” and “moral.” “Natural” evil caps and — pain and suffering, premature death, handi es like disabilities, etc. that are caused by nature (e.g. natural catastroph earthqu akes and hur ricanes, gen etically caused diseases, etc.). — wrongdoi “Moral” evil mitted by agents who have free will. ng (or sin) com Uncontroversial examples include murder, rape, robbery, etc. A em of evil (by defenders of traditional theodicy is a reply to the probl tries to show woul d allow evil to exist. The theism) that why an all PKG God Book in the Bible seems to reject the project of formulating a theodi cy of Job to deal with the probl em. It appears to say “it is arrogance to think that we can unde rstand why God so much e vil in the world; our intellects are limited and cannot possibly grasp God’ s plan. We shoul d have faith that God has good reasons for allow ing all the evil that he does, even if we cannot fathom thos e reasons.” “Soul theodi cy is a reply to the probl em of why there is so much building” ural evil, while “Free will” theodi cy nat em of why there is a reply to the probl is moral evil. Soul Building Theodicy : Som e pain and suffering are benefit us by helping us to becom e better, more respon sible, more mature p ersons. Having to endur e hardship or adversity makes one stronger; it “bui lds character.” (Think about spoi led and immature children whose parents give them everything they how want usually turn out). If there were no physical dangers in the world that occasionally caused pain, suffering, and death, then there would be no incentive or reason to develop the virtues of cour age, self - control, and com passion. It’s impossible to have a world in which there is no pain and suffering but many peopl virtues; not even an all PKG God coul d e have these create such a world. The only two possibilities are: i) A world with no pain and suffering, and as a consequence, none of these virtues.

2 ii) A world in which there is pain and suffering, and many hese virtues. people develop t bui lding theodi - Soul cy says that ii) is the better world. And since ii) rather world com patible with an selves in, our than i) is the world that we find our is all PKG God. ection to Soul Building theodicy: Isn’t there more p Sobe r’s obj ain and suffering in our world than is needed for the developm ent of the virtues in stion? Suppose the amount of starvation and disease in Indi a were cut in que t there remain enoug half. Wouldn’ tuni ties to h to afford us ample oppor e traits of a Mother Teresa? develop and exercise th Soul bui lding theodi cy fails, because it can onl y expl ain why this world with no pain and suffering. But what it needs to show is is better than one that this world is the best . After all, if there were an all PKG God, then one just a pretty good world, but he would have to create not best one that the very he could. “Free will” theodi cy ing: claims the follow 1. The best world will contain creatures with free will, because free atures is much better will is a good thing. A world with such cre than one that cont t - like creatures with no free will ains only robo ammed to make onl y good progr ces. The first is better, even if choi there is much sin in it, for the positive value of free will out weighs n. the negative value of the si 2. Of cour se, it’s better that beings with free will sin less than that they sin more. 3. But if one has free will, then one will sin sometimes. “So - and - so - cont radictory, like “So - and - has free will, but he never sins” is self so is a bachelor, and he’s mar ried.” sin in it. And if Therefore, the best world must cont ain at least some 4. it contains a lot rather than a little, that’s the fault of the beings who have and misuse their free will. It’s not God’s fault.

3 Two objections to this theodicy: 1. ble for God to prevent the very worst cases of moral evil It’s possi ’s free will. He coul t eliminating anyone withou d do it by limiting the same the freedom of exceptionally evil people. Free will is not of criminals by put ti ng thing as freedom . We limit the freedom them in prison, and no one obj ects that that’s wrong. Doing that doe sn’t take away their free will. If God had caused Hitler to be a g, he would never have becom paraplegic when he was youn e Fuhr er, and the Holocaust would have been avoi ded. Being a p d have limited Hitler’s freedom , not taken away his araplegic woul free will. 2. The claim in 3 abov e is false. “So - and - so has free will and canno t sin” may very well be cont radictory, but “so and - so has free will, - d sin, but never choo coul consistent. Inde ed, what 3 ses to” is quite is claiming is that if one has free will, then one must sin on occasion. That ’s the claim that look s self - cont radictory. Since 3 is false, one can sensibly ask, “If there’s an all - PKG God, then why are there so many sinners? If such a God existed, wouldn’ t he have created saints with free will rather than sinners with free will?”

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