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

What is meant by the problem of suffering?

Extracts from this document...


What is meant by the problem of suffering? One of the greatest problems facing a believer in a good, all powerful God is the existence of evil and apparent undeserved suffering in the world. The problem has been presented by many different writes as a dilemma: Either God wishes to remove evil but is unable and therefore cannot be all - powerful, or he is able to remove evil but is unwilling and therefore cannot be wholly good. The reality of evil becomes "The Problem of Suffering" if one accepts the traditional attributes associated with the monotheistic doctrines of Christian Theology: o God is absolutely good and compassionate o God controls all events in history because he is omnipotent and omniscient The assumption is that a good God would eliminate evil as far as he s able. Given that he is all-powerful therefore he should eliminate it all. However evil exists. In other words God has the means (power) and the motivation (love, goodness) to eliminate evil. So why doesn't he? One of the issues within the problem of suffering is the actual origin of suffering. If God created or caused all things then clearly he is the originator of evil. Some people would also want to differentiate between the problem of evil and suffering. The problem of suffering is often seen as having a slightly different emphasis. It focuses more on the experience of the evil and so addresses the problem on a more personal level. ...read more.


It also correctly observes that this, in turn, leads to disharmony within the human race and towards the animal world as well as damage to the environment. What it fails to explain is natural calamities and animal suffering, which most people believe existed long before man came into existence. Therefore how can man be to blame for these problems, thus making Augustians theodicy not as strong as it could have been. Augustine could explain this on the basis of a prior fall of angels, led by Lucifer. Their rebellion consisted of causing animals to prey upon one another as well as upsetting the stability of the earth's crust thus causing earthquakes and volcanoes. This view can easily be criticised on several counts. There is the problem, first raised by Schleiermacher, of why the first creatures, angels or humans, whose natures contained no flaw and who lacking nothing, would have sinned, even if they were formally free to do so, when they were in the presence of God and enjoying his happiness. The Bible does not say that man was originally in the full presence of God and John Calvin, uncharacteristically, says that man's original condition was "...weak, frail and liable to fall." In a sense the first beings did not have everything, for they were limited in power and it only requires the desire for something that cannot be obtained, like having total power to become like God, for sin to occur. ...read more.


Who knows if the Ten Commandments are correct and if we do wrong we can just pray and all is forgiven? How are we meant to know that? It is ridiculous that we are going to heaven when we do not know the line to go there. There is no atonement necessary and the end never justifies the means. Christians have rejected the Irenaean Theodicy because it ignores a lot of the key doctrines such as "The fall, Incarnation and Judgement". How can such a painful creative process be the expression of divine goodness and is all the pain and suffering worth it? It also calls into question the nature of freewill because if everyone is saved where is the free choice to decide. There is also no requirement or incentive to act morally if the outcome is eternal salvation. Finally some suggest it is inappropriate to suggest some good comes out of suffering. In conclusion, both arguments fail to find a suitable reason for the problem of evil and suffering, they mainly discuss salvation and God not wanting to interfere and letting us to decide for ourselves. However they never truly have a reason for natural evil and even moral evil why it was created or have the ability to create harm. He should have just not invented the idea to harm. Therefore neither theodicies provide appropriate evidence for the problem of evil and suffering. ?? ?? ?? ?? Nick Gibson Miss Newton Evil and Suffering Page 1 of 4 ...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

    Others say it's a force, these people think that it is the power inside someone to commit evil acts. The last view on evil is that a person may be overcome by evil, the Bible has many references of this "the prince of the demons, Beelzebub" (Matthew 12:24)

  2. Explain What Is Meant By Natural Law

    Thomas Aquinas. When Aristotle's theories reached the Western World, many people disapproved theories such as Causation and Natural Law, because it revolved around the idea of there being a Prime Mover instead of the God of Classical Theism, and

  1. Explain how natural evil may be seen as a challenge to belief in God ...

    Therefore God has to give you free will and some 'space'. We have to make the choice of worshipping him. This distance that God keeps is called an epistemic distance.

  2. 1.) Compare and contrast the Augustinian and Irenaean theodicies and their attempts to solve ...

    with immense capacity for spiritual and moral development, the idea being that the human race was created in a state of imperfection leading to a state of perfection. In other words, humans are being created into children of God. Thus perfection, rather than lying in the past, lies in the future.

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

    therefore God can not be held responsible as he did not create it. If a human being causes evil then the individual is evil to the extent that he or she falls short of their full potential of goodness. He used the analogy of blindness being the absence of sight.

  2. Christianity - Ideas on suffering

    and then gave you shape (the noble shape of a human being), then We told the angels, "Prostrate to Adam";, and they prostrated, except Iblis (Satan), he refused to be of those who prostrate. Allah said: "What prevented you Iblis, that you did not prostrate, when I commanded you?"

  1. The problem of evil.

    This argument is limited to begin with as it is purely based on the analogy of the watch. The problem of evil limits this argument even further. In Hume's Philosophy of Religion written by J.C.A Gaskin it is claimed that evil restricts the inference which can be drawn from the design of the universe to the character of the designer.

  2. Discuss the Problem of Evil

    This Theodicy claims that God?s greater knowledge (Omniscience) allows him to know that he shouldn?t interfere in cases that we would normally think a person should interfere. Given our limited, finite knowledge, we don't see the bigger picture and think God should have intervened.

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