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RS Evil and Suffering Essay

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Introduction

a) Outline the reasons some beliefs about God mean that suffering poses a particular problem for believers? The problem of evil is one, which has been around for a lot of time. It can be best expressed by the quotation: 'Either God cannot destroy evil, or he will not, he is not al-powerful and if he will, he is all-loving.' Since religious believers in a God who is omnipotent and all-loving then they face a real problem, since it is impossible to den the reality of evil. The essential problem is that if God is omnipotent, omniscient and perfectly good, then why does evil exist in the world? If he is able to remove the evil from the world, but doesn't do so, he is malevolent: if he desires to do so, but cannot, then he is impotent. Neither option surely leaves the theist with a God worthy of worship that fulfils the characteristics of the God of classical theism. ...read more.

Middle

Or why he would have created such a world in the first place. Traditionally people who believe in god have given him the following attributes: 1. Omniscience (knows everything) 2. Omnbienevolent (all good) 3. Omnipotent (can do anything) However there seems to be an inconsistency between this and the existence of evil. If god was all loving etc then why doesn't he abolish evil? The atheist David Hume argued that only three possibilities exist: 1. God is not omnipotent 2. God is not omni benevolent 3. Evil does not exist Since we have sufficient direct experience to support the existence of evil, if God exists he is either an impotent God or a malicious God; not the God of classical theism. Hume concluded that God therefore does not exist. b) Examine and comment on the success or otherwise of any two theodicy's. Augustine believed that man was created perfectly and placed in the Garden of Eden, where he fell from grace. ...read more.

Conclusion

The theodicy of Ireneaus may therefore be more successful. He maintained that man was not created perfectly, but only with the potential to grow into the likeness of God. Man has free will to make a range of possible responses when faced with evil, and if he makes the right choice then he will contribute positively to the development of his environment. This theodicy allows for all matters of suffering in the world, and sees great value in the opportunity that man has to respond positively. His destiny is not decided on the basis of an event, which took place in some primeval past, but on his own actions and decisions. He is also able to make a real difference to the lives of others, and for this reason Richard Swinburne finds this a useful theodicy, observing that 'a generous God will give us great responsibility for ourselves, each other and the world. But he cannot give us these goods without allowing much evil on the way'. William Hazlehurst ...read more.

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