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What is the problem of evil?

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The Problem of evil 1) What is the problem of evil? The problem of evil concerns the challenge of how an all-powerful and all-loving God can allow his creation to suffer, without helping then and putting an end to their suffering. This challenge is an often quoted reason for being unable to believe in God for it is argued, either God does not exist or, if he does then he is not a God worthy of out worship. Followers of the God of classical theism acknowledge the existence of one God only who is the omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent creator of the universe. This God, in principle, should be able to remove all occurrences of evil in the world - both moral evil such as rape and murder and natural evil such as earthquakes and floods. However, it is quite clear to us that both evil and suffering continue to exist which leads us to the following dilemma. * Since God alone created the universe out of nothing he has total responsibility for everything in it. If he is omnipotent then he can do anything that is logically possible which means he could have created a world that was free from evil and suffering, it also means that should he had allowed it to come about then he could end it all if he wanted to. ...read more.


The scientific problems are that in Augustine's theodicy the world was made perfect by God and then damaged by humans. This contradicts evolutionary theory, which states that the universe has continually been developing from a state of chaos. The second major weakness is that Augustine's assumption that each human being was seminally present in Adam. This theory must be rejected on biological grounds, which means that we are not guilty for Adam's sin and God is not just in allowing us to suffer for someone else's sin. One moral difficulty within Augustine's theodicy concerns his concept of hell. Hell appears to be part of the design of the universe. This means that God must have already anticipated that the world would go wrong - and have accepted it. Finally, although Augustine argued that God's selection of some people for Heaven shows His mercy, others would argue that it displays irrational inconsistency, further questioning God's goodness. Overall I think that Augustine's theodicy does not work as there are too many criticisms that do not really explain the problem of evil. Irenaues (AD 130-202) followed Augustine in tracing evil back to human free will. Unlike Augustine, Irenaeus admitted that God is partly responsible for evil. His responsibility extends to creating humans imperfectly as genuine human perfection cannot be ready made, but must develop though free choice. This is based on Irenaeus' interpretation of Genesis 1:26 where good said 'Let us make man in out image, after our likeness'. ...read more.


Irenaeus' theodicy does not deal with the problem of what happens to the people who die, if their souls are left to float around the earth or come back in different bodies or if you have not achieved God's likeness in one lifetime then you can never go to heaven. If the latter is true then this means that only the last generation of humans that achieve God's likeness would go to heaven and that the rest of the world would have lived in suffering and died in vain for these chosen few. Finally, it can be said love can never be expressed by allowing any amount of suffering, no matter what the reason. D.Z. Phillips argued that it would never be justifiable to hurt someone in order to help them. This again can be argued by saying that free will is the reason for this and it is necessary if God wants us to eventually develop into his likeness. So in conclusion I think that Irenaeus' theodicy is quite successful in trying to solve the problem of evil as he says that God is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent but the only reason he allows evil to exist is so that we become better people because of in and all eventually develop into his likeness and end up in heaven. However the criticisms show us that is not a full answer to the problem of evil as it is a very complex problem. Kajal Patel 4 ...read more.

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