Explain the issues concerning the origins of natural and moral evil.

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Explain the issues concerning the origins of natural and moral evil. [35]

Evil is a multifaceted term that can refer to moral evil (acts committed by human beings such as murder or rape) or natural evil (naturally occurring events such as famines, diseases and earthquakes). Both forms cause unimaginable human suffering. John Hick described evil as “physical pain, mental suffering and moral wickedness.” It is not surprising, then, that the existence of evil is often brought up in debate between theists and atheists. In examining the origins of evil, a good place to start is the Christian view.

In Christianity, evil entered the world after the fall of Genesis 3, when Adam and Eve sinned by eating from the Tree of Knowledge. They were in perfection, yet they gave into the temptation from the serpent. As a punishment they were cast out of the garden to work and suffer, and Satan was condemned. If we accept the doctrine of free will, this account suggests that humans are to blame for their own suffering. Our sinful condition is not what God intended for us, but is the result of our own disobedience. For example, Genesis 6 states that God regrets having made men and if this is taken literally it can imply that he was taken by surprise at what human beings had done. To quote RC Sproul, “They were good creatures with a free will. Yet they chose to sin. Why? I don’t know. Nor have I found anyone yet who does know.”
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Any attempt to make the existence of an All-knowing, All-powerful and benevolent God consistent with the existence of evil is known as a Theodicy. Augustine uses Genesis 3 to explain the origin of evil. The Fall is not God’s responsibility and yet God makes a way for redemption. Augustine, in his sole deciding view, plays heavily on both Genesis 3 and Romans 5. God is justified in allowing the evil to stay but out of his grace the rescue plan of Jesus’ sacrificial death enables freedom from the consequences of the Fall. The individual is free to decide ...

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