These attempts, however, often presumed that human reason could define the transcendent. Further, it was a greater good for God to create beings with free will than to not create them. Photo by Damon Lam on Unsplash. 19 The Problem of Evil David Hume 29. Start studying The Problem of Evil. If there exists an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being, then no evil exists. But such a world would be one in which wrong actions were impossible, and in which, therefore, freedom of the will would be void; nay, if the principle were carried out to its logical conclusion, evil thoughts would be impossible, for the cerebral matter which we use in thinking would refuse its task when we attempted to frame them. “The problem of evil” is one of the most discussed objections to the existence of God and is a top reason many unbelievers give for their unbelief. Problem of Evil: The Philosophical Challenge The "Problem of Evil" is a philosophical stumbling block for many people. When I ponder both the extent and depth of suffering in the world, whether due to man’s inhumanity to man or to natural disasters, then I must confess that I find it hard to believe that God exists. 3. No Definition of Terms . by Dr. Norman L. Geisler. Since many theodicies seem limited (because one can easily imagine a better world), and since many thinkers have not been convinced by the argument that the reality of evil establishes atheism, it is likely that future discussions will attempt to balance the reality of evil against evidence in favour of the existence of God. My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. The problem of evil has also been extended beyond human suffering, to include suffering of animals from cruelty, disease and evil. The question is whether the premises are true and so, whether the conclusi… One of the most common challenges to the Christian worldview is the problem of evil. In contemporary philosophy, however, the debate has petrified into a select number of entrenched and defensive strategies. The “problem of evil” is better phrased as the “argument from evil” and the reason for the adjustment is simple. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. Hick rejects the traditional view of the Fall, which pictures humans as being created in a finitely perfect and finished state from which they disastrously fell away. The term “God” is used with a wide variety of differentmeanings. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. God's omnibenevolence is one of the most appropriate reasons for worshiping him. It takes the following form: A God that is all powerful would be able to prevent evil and suffering. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? The Problem of Evil is a strong argument against the concept of God accepted by some Christians, Jews and Muslims.This is an argument against the classical definition of god. Atheists view the Problem of Evil as evidence that God does not exist. What do you say to the grieved in such an occasion? Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The emotional problem of evil concerns how to comfort those who are suffering and how to dissolve the emotional dislike people have of a God who would permit such evil. An omnipotent being, who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, has the power to prevent that evil from coming into existence. 4. By Al Serrato. Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. It has not, however, been the only such response. Another argument, developed by the English philosopher Richard Swinburne, is that natural evils can be the means of learning and maturing. Perhaps the most difficult issue concerning the relation between morality and belief in God is the problem of evil. If we are honest with ourselves we often get it wrong.  One version of this problem includes animal suffering from natural evil, such as the violence and fear faced by animals from predators, natural disasters, over the history of evolution. The problem of evil is certainly the greatest obstacle to belief in the existence of God. As I asserted in my last post, we all want justice. He admits he cannot comprehend why, only leaving us with this: "What seems to us good may therefore not be good in His eyes, and what seems to us A defense need not argue that this is a probable or plausible explanation, only that the defense is logically possible. One argument, known as the free will defense, claims that evil is caused not by God but by human beings, who must be allowed to choose evil if they are to have free will. The problem of evil is the question whether evil exists, and if so does it disprove the existence of God. then is he malevolent. If God exists and is... Epicurus, bronze bust from a Greek original. 2. An argument from evil attempts to show that the co-existence of evil and such a God is unlikely or impossible. There are two versions of this problem: first, the logical problem of evil, and second, the probabilistic problem of evil. The so-called problem of evil is a topic of much debate in theology and the philosophy of religion.It was first proposed by the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus.Many atheists base their views to some degree on their assessment of this argument's strength, and this problem has been investigated by many theologians, such as Thomas Aquinas: Answer: Broadly stated, the “problem of evil” is the seeming contradiction between an all-powerful, all-loving God and the human experience of suffering and evil in the world. Evil may be considered the opposite of good in a metaphysical sense. JL Mackie explains it this way: Often the reality of evil is treated as canceling out whatever evidence there may be that God exists—e.g., as set forth in the argument from design, which is based on an analogy between the apparent design discerned in the cosmos and the design involved in human artifacts. The Problem of Evil takes the following form: 1. An argument from evil attempts to show that the co-existence of evil and such a God is unlikely or impossible. ; A God that is all knowing would know that evil and suffering happen. The Problem of Evil is a strong argument against the concept of God accepted by some Christians, Jews and Muslims.This is an argument against the classical definition of god. The problem of evil is presented philosophically as an argument against the existence of the God of classical monotheism: 1. Critics claim that the existence of evil is proof that the omnipotent, omnibenevolent God of the Bible cannot exist. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. Gilligan, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ", The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ", The formulation may have been wrongly attributed to Epicurus by Lactantius, who, from his, TIP: The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, Tutorials in Quantitative Methods for Psychology, Pain and Pleasure: An Evidential Problem for Theists, http://www.angelfire.com/mn2/tisthammerw/rlgnphil/poe.html, http://www.keyway.ca/htm2002/whysufer.htm, The Supposed Problem of Evil, biblicalstudies.org/journal/v006n01.html, A Rational and Biblical Approach to the Problem of Hell, Gregory S. Neal: "The Nature of Evil and the Irenaean Theodicy", Putting God on Trial — The Biblical Book of Job, A debate between theist William Lane Craig and atheist Kai Neilsen, A selection of articles on good and evil in Judaism, Project Gutenburg: Leibniz, Theodicy (English translation), Dr. Barry L. Whitney, preeminent figure on theodicies, https://psychology.wikia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil?oldid=117336, Pages needing enhanced psychological perspective. In these religions, the question to answer is how an all-loving and all-powerful god could allow evil to exist. Updates? An important statement of the problem of evil, attributed to Epicurus, was cited by the Scottish philosopher David Hume in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779): “Is [God] willing to prevent evil, but not able? An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse. (Therefore) There does not exist an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good being. Other solutions to the problem include John Hick’s (1977) soul-making theodicy. Many philosophers and theologians have rejected accounts of the first kind as inherently implausible or as foolhardy attempts to go beyond the bounds of human knowledge to discern God’s inscrutable purposes. PART X. In this argument and in the problem of evil itself, evil is understood to encompass both moral evil (caused by free human actions) and natural evil (caused by natural phenomena such as disease, earthquakes, and floods). The problem of evil is the problem of freedom. A God that is all powerfulwould be able to prevent evil and suffering. It takes the following form: A God that is all powerful would be able to prevent evil and suffering. This volume opens the way for a wholesale reconsideration of the problem of evil. 2. 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