The Problem of Evil

Mind Map by , created over 5 years ago

A2 Problem of Evil mind map (AQA)

Created by michellelung2008 over 5 years ago
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The Problem of Evil
1 Problem comes in 2 forms...
1.1.1 questions how God could exist in a world with ANY evil 2. A wholly good being eliminates evil as far as it can. REJECT THIS: normally favoured by theists, argue that there may be a good reason for God to allow evil (e.g. moral lessons, test faith, free will...) 3. Evil exists. REJECT THIS: some argue that evil doesn't really exist as a substance but is really just an illusion. 1. God is an all-powerful, wholly good and all-knowing creator of the universe. REJECT THIS: favoured by atheists, would argue either God is not all-powerful and maybe lacks power or knowledge, or completely rejects God's existence.
1.1.2 These three statements can't all work together, since a wholly good and powerful being like God should be able to eliminate evil completely, but as number 3 points out, there is evil. So one of these statements met be rejected...
1.2.1 questions how God could exist in a world in which the AMOUNT of evil is so much. As theists would respond to the logical problem of evil by rejecting the second statements and suggesting good can come out of keeping evil, the evidential problem comes back... Even if there are goods that can come from evil, there seems to be too much evil to justify those goods, some that even seem like no good comes from it at all. William Rowe There exists examples of intense suffering where an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without losing out on the greater good. e.g. How is the premature/col seat of a baby justifiable? Why do animals suffer?
2.1 Augustine converted to christianity from Manichaeism, where it teaches that 2 opposing natures existed from the beginning: light (good) and darkness (evil)
2.1.1 He rejected the dualism of Manichaeism in favour of the God of classical theism. However, the Gnosticism within Manichaeism influenced his theology by taking the good as God's creation and darkness as the vil that disrupts the good.
2.2 The Origin of Evil
2.2.1 Augustine traced the origin to those with free will within the world: angels & human beings. The fallen angels led by Lucifer firstly chose to rebel against God and so were cast out of Heaven. Then Adam & Eve disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge from the Garden of Eden, and so were cast out. These misuses of free will unbalanced the harmony of God's creation, leading to the privation of goodness in the world which we call evil.
2.3 Explanation for the Existence of Evil & Suffering
2.3.1 All suffering is a fully deserved consequence of human sin. The first sin cause humans to be distanced from God, and in this new and damaged environment, moral evil flourished and spread.
2.3.2 MORAL EVIL Occurs because of the wrong choices that humans make when they disobey God's commands e.g. when people ignore God's commands in the Bible of "You shall not kill" or "You shall not commit adultery", suffering occurs as a result.
2.3.3 NATURAL EVIL Result of MORAL EVIL as the rebellion of the fallen angels and first humans disrupted the pure and natural order of God's creation and prevented it from achieving its true nature. e.g. tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis...
2.3.4 Both natural and moral evil are interpreted as punishment "All evil is either sin or punishment for sin"
2.3.5 ALL humans deserve to suffer (even supposedly innocent babies!) because ALL humans were "seminally present" in Adam's loins and so inherit the original sin and guilt though every generation. Modern science contradicts idea of inheriting anything from Adam or being "seminally present" in his loins. It is unfair for us to be punished for original sin and held responsible for the actions of Adam and Eve. WE didn't actually perform the act of rebellion.
2.3.6 Can't explain the reason why there is so much suffering in the animal kingdom.
2.4 Nature of Evil
2.4.1 As a perfect being, God originally created the world perfect, free from flaws out of nothing (ex nihilo) Evil came later and not from God so he is not to blame for it existing. God's creation was good but when people make the wrong choices, it becomes less good. Evil is a privation of good and unlike good, is not a substance in itself. e.g. blindness is an absence of sight. Therefore it makes no sense to blame God as he can't have created a privation of something. Evil is not just a privation of good. Evil can't have come out of a perfect world because this would suggest it came from nothing. Therefore God must have not created a perfect world suggesting He isn't perfect either. e.g. pain is not merely an absence of pleasure but a form of suffering in itself. "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good" ~ Genesis 1:31
2.5 Principle of Plenitude
2.5.1 God has created a perfect world as the diversity contributes to bringing out the perfection of the whole.
2.6 Aesthetics Argument
2.6.1 Hell is a just punishment However, God still sent Jesus to die on the cross so some souls might be saved and go to Heaven, showing GOD IS MERCIFUL & JUST.
2.6.2 The world only seems evil when parts of it are considered in isolation of the whole. "The universe even with its sinister aspects is perfect" ~Soliloquies, I, i, 2) The problem of evil can therefore be seen as a problem of perspective. Humans by nature have a LIMITED PERSPECTIVE, judging by self-centred criteria, and from this view, evil is a reality. From God's omniscience however, evil has no reality since what we consider evil actually magnifies the goodness of the whole and only God can see it. e.g. a scorpion's poison seems cruel and fatal to the victim, but not from the scorpion's. Also allows God to exercise justice & mercy.
2.6.3 Gottfried Liebniz God created the "best of all possible worlds" Because this world allows for the greatest quantity and variety of beings. Evil brings out the good. e.g. without evil to challenge us, we wouldn't have courage or selflessness. So god created the best world he could have made. Evidential Problem does the amount of good really outweigh the evil? Thomas Aquinas Reinforces ides that the evil we have allows goodness "The life of a lion would not be preserved unless an ass was killed" Because of all the links between good and evil, God could not improve the world in one way, without making it worse in another. Relates to Augustinian idea of God's perspective as being different to ours, and how He can see the perfection of His creation.
2.7 Predestination
2.7.1 God has predestined who will be saved to go to Heaven and who will go to Hell.
2.7.2 Not from foreknowledge, but from God's wisdom
2.7.3 Number of the elect (predestined for Heaven) was a fixed number that can't be changed. If he is saving some but not all of us then this suggests he is only extending his mercy to a limited extent, showing he is not all-loving. If God knows what we will do in advance, then we are not truly free or have free will.
2.7.4 John Calvin Puts more stress on the idea that we are predestined, mostly to go to Hell. God foreknew that Adam & Eve would sin and that they would be punished after Everything happens according to God's plan But God does't simply allow sin to happen Seems unfair: everything is already planned (even sin) so how can we be held responsible. Calvin thought it represented God's power and freedom.
3.1 process by which we develop into moral & social beings and then develop morally and spiritually from the IMAGE OF GOD to the LIKENESS OF GOD.
3.1.1 Done by developing virtues like kindness, courage, compassion..... For it to be genuine it must be undertaken FREELY and so must be developed through our FREE ACTION.
3.1.2 Evolution shows how we improve and develop over time. Changes meaning of Jesus suffering on the cross as a saviour as said in the Bible. Bible should be taken metaphorically, not literally.
3.2 God cannot continually intervene to prevent evil
3.2.1 If he did, we wouldn't be able to develop a sense of moral responsibility. Without consequences for our actions we won't learn or develop.
3.2.2 His presence would also overwhelm us and prevent our actions being genuine. e.g. a fan with a celebrity. He must be at an EPISTEMIC distance from us (distant from our knowledge)
3.3 Natural evil is necessary since it gives us a chance to develop virtues
3.3.1 e.g. helping someone with disease, or after natural disasters.
3.3.2 Suffering does not express love D.Z. Phillips never justifiable to hurt someone to help them Sometimes it is, e.g. stopping a smoker from smoking
3.4 Because of free will, this also means we are free to commit moral evil and learn from it.
3.5 Nature of Evil
3.5.1 Evil is a substance Contrast with augustine
3.6 Influenced by IRANAEAN theodicies
3.7 Process is rarely completed in the life of the individual.
3.7.1 Process is continued in the afterlife. Why do some people reach perfection sooner than others.
3.8 Many apparently "evil" people are just "victims of the system"
3.8.1 E.g. people with bad upbringings, can't be held responsible for actions.
3.8.2 UNFAIR, if struggle results in more spiritual development, some people are getting more than others.
3.8.3 Distribution of suffering very uneven e.g. Holocaust- was so many deaths necessary? No suffering is pointless
3.9.1 Makes religion (Christianity) seem pointless, no goal or target.
3.9.2 What about animals? Why do they suffer?
4.1 Liberal 20th century Christians
4.1.1 Whitehead
4.1.2 Griffin
4.2 God is NOT seen as key creator of the universe but instead a DEVELOPER of what was already in existence (not ex nihilo like traditional theism)
4.2.1 "When God began to create the Heavens and the Earth, the earth was without form and void"
4.3 God is NOT omnipotent because he too is also bound by the laws of the universe and so it is out of his control
4.3.1 This explains how evil is beyond his control as we created it. Changed vital definition of God Is a weaker God worthy of worship? In Bible it pays attention to God's power. "For nothing will be impossible with God"
4.3.2 He can only lure and persuade the world to become more harmonious and complex.
4.3.3 As humans develop out of the complexity and intensity of the world, they gain more control than God and destruction and evil arises.
4.4 God and universe CO-CREATE
4.4.1 God develops universe, universe develops and teaches God.
4.5.1 He knew he wouldn't be able to control his creation eventually and didn't know how it would turn out
4.5.2 But eventually the universe produced enough quantity of good to outweigh evil and given a choice between the universe we live in and none at all, our universe is preferred. " Should God, for the sake of avoiding 'man's inhumanity to man', have avoided humanity altogether?" ~David Griffin Some who have only experienced greater suffering may argue that bad outweighs the good.
4.6.1 He is affected by the universe, but it is beyond his control. Therefore no reason to condemn God as he has suffered considerably more than anyone from his choices.
4.6.2 Gets frustrated and is the "fellow sufferer who understands" (Whitehead)
4.7.1 recognition of perfection and generates desire for a better world
4.7.2 We can't experience all values if we don't have the opposites to compare.

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