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

The problem of evil.

Extracts from this document...


THE PROBLEM OF EVIL The problem of evil is usually seen as the problem of how the existence of God can be reconciled with the existence of evil in the world. There are two versions of the problem. The logical version is based on the apparent contradiction involved in holding onto four incompatible beliefs. This being that God is omnipotent, that God is omniscient, that God is omnibenevolent and that evil exists in the world. It is seen that the existence of any form of evil prevents the existence of God. The probabilistic version takes the stance that given the amount of evil that exists its unlikely God exists, this suggests that if there was fewer instances of evil or lower extremes of evil its plausible to suppose God's existence. The fact that evil exists in the world constitutes the most common objection to the belief in the existence of the omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing) and all loving God of Classical Theism. One would expect an omnibenevolent being armed with omnipotence and omniscience to prevent evil and suffering in the world or rather, as creator, never to have put there in the first place. ...read more.


An analogy can be made here between doctors and illness; if people didn't get ill then doctors wouldn't know how to treat certain illnesses. Criticism's can be applied to this approach. For example why couldn't god have created people in his likeness from the beginning and placed them in a perfect world? A response to this could be that a perfect world is quite inconceivable. The laws of physics make it unimaginable, for example a child falls from a top floor hotel balcony, in a perfect world god would step in and alter the laws of gravity so that the child floats safely down to earth. Scenarios such as this would cause innumerable problems for the human race, as they would be no telling when the laws of physics would change. By getting rid of the hardships of the world life would become like a dream where we could drift delightfully but aimlessly. If we lived in a perfect world then we wouldn't learn through evil and suffering, life in that sort of world is quite unimaginable. Irenaeus also doesn't appear to consider that evil and suffering often have negative consequences that greatly outweigh the positive ones. ...read more.


William Paley points out that if a watch goes wrong we don't immediately say that it wasn't made for the purpose it was ascribed to. He says "irregulatities and imperfections are of little or no weight in the consideration when that consideration relates simple to the existence of a creator". He tells us to take into account the instances where "skill, power and benevolence are displayed". He is in essence in my opinion justifying the times when things go wrong and asking us to watch for the good things and don't pay as much attention to the bad things. This is all well and good but the same objection can be applied to this as the one I applied to St Augustine's argument right at the beginning, in denying evil one is denying the right to suffer and people all over the world are suffering. It shows no respect for those who are victims of evil and I believe this disputes God's omnibenevolence nonetheless. If god were a morally perfect being he would suffer alongside those victims of evil. In this essay I feel I have shown the problem of evil causes many conflicts within religious belief. Attempts to solve the problem are at best unsuccessful for example Irenaeus and at worst add fuel to the fire in the case of St Augustine. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Existence of God 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 GCSE Existence of God essays

  1. Good and Evil

    Looking at the life of Jesus we can see that Jesus spent his life doing good and helping people, Christians would simply look at Jesus' life and do as he as done. When Jesus gave his life for everyone as he died on the cross, Christians believe that here, Jesus

  2. What do religious believers mean by the 'problem of suffering?' Select any two ...

    Irenaeus based his theory on Genesis chapter 1:26, the phrase "let us make man in our own image, after our likeness." His interpretation is that the creation of mankind was a two fold development. We are all born in the image of God, in that we are all intelligent beings

  1. Explain the Ontological argument.

    Irenaeus stated that goodness could not be bestowed on humans but had to be a result of human development through willing co-operation. Willing co-operation requires genuine freedom; we cannot willingly co-operate with something if we are forced to do it. Genuine freedom requires the possibility of choosing evil over good.

  2. What is meant by the problem of suffering?

    The alternative Theodicy written by John Hick starts from a different perspective and fits in better with the modern evolutionary theory however it still fails to solve the problem of evil and suffering, nevertheless it does a better job than Augustine.

  1. The Problem of Evil

    Therefore as the whole of mankind is seminally present in Adam, we are to feel guilty from this disobedience of God resulting in our human actions destroyed the natural order. However some hold the view that this shows a uncaring and unloving God however Augustine would use the example from

  2. Problem of evil

    Much of the evil in the world occurs only because we choose to create it. The greatest evils in the world are those inflicted by man upon man. In making the world, God faced a choice: he could create free agents like us, or he could create automata, robots, without the ability to make choices of their own.

  1. Discuss the Problem of Evil

    would not have the means of which it would be possible for us to develop spiritually. Also, Hick argues, there exists what he calls an 'epistemic distance' between human beings and God, so that we are not born knowing of his existence, and it is not something which it is easy to gain certain knowledge of.

  2. The Holocaust - personal response to Anne Frank's diary and the problem of evil ...

    Another point to consider is that Ultra-orthodox Jews believed that other conservative, unorthodox and reformed Jews did not follow the 613 Jewish laws strictly. The majority of Jews actually were Ultra-orthodox and believed that Holocaust, meaning? sacrificed offering to god?, is a better word to use than Shoah, meaning ?disaster or calamity?.

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