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What is meant by the problem of evil and suffering for religious believers? Examine two solutions to this problem.

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Introduction

1. What is meant by the problem of suffering for religious believers? Examine two solutions to this problem. Evil and suffering is a problem for religious believers as it challenges the existence of God. Theists believe that God is omniscient, omnibenevolent and omnipotent, however if he was then he would want to abolish evil and suffering. Augustine said ?Either God cannot abolish evil or he will not: if he cannot then he is not all-powerful, if he will not, then he is not all good?. J. L. Mackie argued that the existence of an all loving and powerful God, and the existence of evil and suffering is incompatible, and this results in the inconsistent triad. Mackie has said that ?if God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent how can there be evil and suffering in the world?. The existence of evil in the world goes against the qualities that religious believers think God holds. ...read more.

Middle

One solution to the problem of suffering is the Augustian theodicy. Augustine argues that the Bible shows that God created a world that was perfectly good and free from any defects. He defined evil to be the privation of good, as he believed it was the going wrong of something that is actually good in itself. Augustine believed that evil is not a thing or substance that God created; however there are higher and lesser goods. He suggested that evil came about because God gave beings (angels and humans) freewill and they chose to turn away from God and settle for the lesser goods. Augustine?s explanation for suffering is that it is a punishment because Adam and Eve disobeyed God and as a consequence, the state of perfection was destroyed. He believes that the original sin committed by Adam was passed on to humans and is seminally present in them all; therefore they have to suffer as a punishment. ...read more.

Conclusion

Irenaeus concluded that humans will eventually develop into the likeliness of God, overcome evil and suffering, and then live in heaven where there is no evil and suffering. John Hick developed Irenaeus?s idea by arguing that if God had created perfect humans, then they would have the goodness of robots and would love God automatically without thinking about it. God wanted humans to genuinely love him by choice and so he gave them the freedom to develop this love. In order for God to achieve this, he had to create humanity at an epistemic distance form himself, meaning that God must not be so close to humans that they feel obliged to obey hum. Also, the world had to be created imperfectly because if evil and suffering did not exist, then humans would not be free as only good would happen. Both of these solutions suggest that humans have freewill to choose between evil and good. When beings disobey God by choosing to do evil, they cause suffering which is their punishment. ...read more.

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