• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

problem of evil

Extracts from this document...


A) Objections Arising from Evil in the World, explain what is meant by this claim The word evil is a word which can be used very loosely, usually used to describe something we think to be morally wrong, something that when in inflicted on a person causes pain and suffering. However, if an 'evil' act is committed by someone who has been in all other aspects good, does this act make this person 'evil'? There are many different situations where evil acts could be done all with different circumstances and consequences. For example; at Auschwitz, so many guards were involved in the slaughter of massive amounts of Jews but it seems unlikely that all of them were evil. The actions may be considered evil but they were normalised by the sense of responsibility felt by the guards. In their eyes, they were carrying out a duty so the question of whether they are to be labelled evil is indefinite. There are two recognised categories which evil can fall under: Moral evil and Natural evil. Richard Swimburne, a modern day philosopher describes moral evil as 'including all evil caused deliberately by humans doing what they ought not to do, and also the evil constituted by such deliberate acts or negligent failure'. ...read more.


He states that evil is necessary in a created world as only the uncreated creator can be perfect, his creations are susceptible to change. Augustine's idea on the existence of Natural evil is that it exists as a punishment for the Original Sin, which we are all guilty of as we were all seminally present in Adam at the time it was committed. Natural evil punishes us for the destruction of the natural order by human action. For these reasons God is right not to intervene and the fact that he does save some through Christ emphasises His mercy. God would be justified in sending everyone to hell for being guilty of the Original Sin, the fact that some go to heaven shows God's goodness. Augustine's theodicy has some substantial strengths, as is proved by its popularity. Brian Davies is an example of a scholar who supports his claim that evil is only a deprivation of good rather than having a proper existence, he said it is 'a gap between what there is and what there ought to be'. To criticise would be to say that God should have created more than he did which doesn't make sense; how is anyone to know how much more should have been created. ...read more.


Lastly, nobody can be overlooked as evil acts are carried out in different circumstances for different people. For example, someone who was abused while being raised is much more likely to be abusive as an adult, it is something they are used to and have become desensitised to. There are solid criticisms of Irenaeus' theodicy as well as Augustine's: For example, everyone going to heaven defies religious texts as well as making it pointless to live a moral life, why bother if you are going to heaven anyway? It also takes away the incentive to develop into God's likeness which Irenaeus regarded of utmost importance. Another critique is of the level of suffering needed to make the world adapted for 'soul making, e.g. Was the Holocaust really necessary? Finally, it can be said that love can never be expressed through suffering, supported by D.Z Philips who said it is not justifiable to hurt someone to help them. To conclude, neither of these theodicies can be considered perfect by any means, but Ireneaus is the stronger of the two. Where Augustine fails to provide room for belief in evolution, Ireneaus manages it and while Augustine cannot provide a logical explanation for the origin of evil, Irenaeus provides a stable reason for it. It is also popular, like Augustine's for its views on free will. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. Explain the problem of evil (25 marks). Are the theodicies attempts to ...

    The contradiction of the triad would disappear if God did not behold each of the three divine attributes, the question thereafter however is that if God does not possess omnipotence, omniscience and wholly goodness, how could he be God? As the highest being requires each attribute combined to be the

  2. Explain how the theodicy of Irenaeus differs from that of Augustine and Evil cannot ...

    Why is it that whilst I sit here in the life of luxury children are dying every second in Africa from curable diseases? A particularly poignant question when we take into account the fact that many of these dying children are brought up in strong Christian families where god is an active part of their life.

  1. The Goodness of God

    The commands are to be morally good, just as god is morally good. Exodus 20 is an example of the Divine Command theory.

  2. Explain the theodicy of Irenaeus. Irenaeus theodicy is the response to the problem of ...

    clear that we are not actually able to choose our actions, as there is nothing for us to choose from, this therefore would mean that there is no such thing as free will.

  1. Compare and contrast arguments for and against belief in life after death.

    Therefore given that reincarnation argues not for life after death, just for life per se, it seems irrelevant to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of its arguments. Another argument for life after death arises through 'spiritualism' and communications between the spirit world and the living is regarded as evidence of life after death.

  2. 'A belief in the life after death solves the problem of evil' Discuss

    We are all descendants of Adam and Eve so we are all suffering because we are part of Adam. Suffering is a product of our actions, so God does no intervene, however God does have mercy. An example of God's mercy would be Jesus.

  1. ) Explain the theodicies of Irenaeus and Augustine ?

    Irenaeus believed that suffering was the only way a man could become close enough to god to become one of ?Gods children? and develop in to the perfect being that they have the ability to be. As well as this if there was no suffering there would be no compassion.

  2. Evaluate the claim that the existence of natural evil in the world makes it ...

    The Irenaean theodicy states that humanity develops through encountering evil, so evil has a good purpose; therefore, it is not impossible to believe in an all loving all powerful God. John Hick argues that God is at an epistemic distance; we are created in Gods image and not in his

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work