Explain the problem of evil (25 marks). Are the theodicies attempts to deal with moral and natural evil and suffering doomed, in the face of so much evil and suffering?

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Kate Verity Blueman

The problem of evil

  1. Explain the problem of evil (25 marks)

The fact that there is evil in the world is a problem for theists as they claim to worship a god who is all-knowing, all- powerful and completely good, the problem arises because surely such a being would be aware of evil and suffering in the world as they are all-knowing , would have the power to prevent it from happening as he is all-powerful and as he is supposedly completely good ,and he would not allow for such evil to ever even occur, as Christians believe him to bear all three of these divine attributes , the allowance of evil to persist on a daily basis throughout the world surely disproves the existence of God.

    There are two separate types of evil that affect the world, firstly there is moral evil. Moral evil defines the bad actions of us as humans such as: rape, theft and murder, where as Natural evil makes reference to the natural processes of the world such as:

volcanoes, earthquakes and forest fires, it is said that as humans commit such atrocities as murder through moral evil , natural evil occurs as punishment.

   The logical problem of evil is defined by Epicurus “If he is willing and is unable, he is feeble, which is not in accordance with the character of God, if he is able and unwilling, he is envious... if he is neither willing nor able, he is both envious and feeble...if he is both willing and able... from what source then are evils? Or why does he not remove them?” here Epicurus explores the problem of the inconsistent triad which is as follows : 1)God is omniscient, omnipotent and wholly good, 2)there is evil in the world , 3)a being who is holy good will eliminate evil as far as it can. J.L Mackie stated that all three in the triad cannot be true simultaneously and therefore believers must give up one of the three, some believers do this by stating that evil does not exist , this however is simply absurd due to the prominence of suffering and evil that confronts humans on a daily basis. The contradiction of the triad would disappear if God did not behold each of the three divine attributes, the question thereafter however is that if God does not possess omnipotence, omniscience and wholly goodness, how could he be God? As the highest being requires each attribute combined to be the almighty creator and the necessary being that creates all the contingent beings who cannot posses all of these attributes.

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   The evidential problem of evil is explored by Charles Darwin, as he noted that he witnessed the daily suffering of so many animals on a daily basis during his research , he concluded that the sheer amount of evil in the world must weigh against god holding all of the divine attributes. Example of the problems of evil in the world include the spread of viruses such as HIV which affect those in under developed countries so often that they must suffer until they die, surely such a great theistic God would not have allowed such viruses to exist ...

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