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Evil and Suffering

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Introduction

What is meant by the problem of evil and suffering? [8] The problem of evil and suffering is perhaps the greatest of all challenges to religious belief. It is the difficulty of reconciling the existence of wickedness in the world with the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent God. It is best explained in the inconsistent triad; a vertex dating from Epicurus and Augustine that acknowledges the main problem believers face; how can there be a deity that is all good, powerful and knowing if evil exists, as the problem of evil itself is a contradiction within the idea of a deity. The problem of evil is an extensive problem. Whether malum culpae; moral evils we inflict upon one another (murder), or malum poenae; evil caused by natural occurrences (earthquakes) it is the direct cause of the suffering we endure each day. Different religious perspectives require different answers; the 'problem of evil', which in itself has numerous debatable aspects, is therefore interpreted in different ways by atheists, agnostics and theists. To theists particularly, the existence of evil in our world poses more than a merely philosophical or apologetic problem; it creates a very personal religious one, as although our ...read more.

Middle

He held that we deserved punishment through natural evil, and it was this that produced a distance from God where moral evil could flourish. He believed that God is justified in allowing evil to stay, as He will then be merciful and save some in Christ, as well as gaining justice through condemning some to hell. However, the challenge of evolutionary theory opposes Genesis on two points. Firstly, it hints to an instant creation rather than a process of evolution; stating that the world began perfectly, which completely contradicts all evolutionary theories and evidence modern scientists have gathered that support an earthly progression from simplicity to complexity. Secondly, Darwin's theory of the Selfish Gene, that every creature, in the long run, acts to maximize the number of its descendants, challenges his theory of original perfection. There is also a logical error, as according to Augustine, evil seems to have created itself out of nothing! If the origin of evil is Adam, and God is the creator of Adam, is God not then the origin of evil? Also, the appeal to free will as the source of evil is illogical in a world where there was no knowledge of good and evil. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is pictured by Michelangelo's 'Creation of Adam', in which Adam is viewed very much in imago dei. Kierkegaard also illustrated the act of attaining true love rather than merely being compliant through the parable of the king and the peasant girl. Scholars such as John Mackie have challenged this theory logically, as surely if there is an opposite evil for all good, then God himself must face equal evils at the end of the cycle. He also conjured up the Paradox of Omnipotence; based on the question that can God create rules, which bind himself?; and also, the thought that suffering (such as innocent children dying), can never be an expression of God's love. Many theists would, however, support that evil is merely there to test our faith, but D Z Phillips contradicts this point, saying that 'It is never justifiable to hurt someone in order to help them.' Many follow Irenaeas' theory, as it is a universalised concept of heaven, however that feature in itself makes it unjust. There is, therefore, no incentive for this 'Vale of Soul Making', as it questions God's justice; denying genuine freedom and removing any point of moral effort. Keri Hilton ...read more.

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