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Encyclopedia > Problem of Evil
Part of a series on
God

General approaches
Agnosticism · Atheism · Deism
Henotheism · Ignosticism · Misotheism
Monism · Monotheism · Nontheism
Pandeism · Panentheism · Pantheism
Polytheism · Theism · Transcendence
Theology (natural • political • mystical) Image File history File links Merge-arrows. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Agnosticism (from the Greek a, meaning without, and gnosticism or gnosis, meaning knowledge) is the philosophical view that the truth value of certain claims—particularly metaphysical claims regarding theology, afterlife or the existence of God, gods, deities, or even ultimate reality—is unknown or, depending on the form of agnosticism... “Atheist” redirects here. ... For other uses, see Ceremonial Deism. ... Henotheism (Greek heis theos one god) is a term coined by Max Müller, to mean devotion to a single God while accepting the existence of other gods. ... Ignosticism is a word coined by Rabbi Sherwin Wine to indicate one of two related views about the existence of God. ... Misotheism-greek (μίσος miso-hate, theism- of God, from Greek Θεός theos)-literally hatred of God or Gods. ... For other uses, see Monist (disambiguation). ... For the Celtic Frost album, see Monotheist (album) In theology, monotheism (from Greek one and god) is the belief in the existence of one deity, or in the oneness of God. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Pandeism (Greek πάν, pan = all and Latin deus = God, in the sense of deism), is a term used at various times to describe religious beliefs. ... Panentheism (from Greek (pân) all; (en) in; and (Theós) god; all-in-God) is the theological position that God is immanent within the Universe, but also transcends it. ... Pantheism (Greek: πάν ( pan ) = all and θεός ( theos ) = God) literally means God is All and All is God. It is the view that everything is of an all-encompassing immanent abstract God; or that the universe, or nature, and God are equivalent. ... Polytheism is belief in or worship of multiple gods or deities. ... Theism is the belief in the existence of one or more divinities or deities. ... In religion, transcendence is a condition or state of being that surpasses, and is independent of, physical existence. ... Theology finds its scholars pursuing the understanding of and providing reasoned discourse of religion, spirituality and God or the gods. ... Natural theology is the knowledge of God accessible to all rational human beings without recourse to any special or supposedly supernatural revelation. ... Political theology is a branch of both political philosophy and theology that investigates the ways in which theological concepts or ways of thinking underlie political, social, economic and cultural discourses. ... Mystical theology is the science which treats of acts and experiences or states of the soul which cannot be produced by human effort or industry even with the ordinary aid of Divine grace. ...


Specific conceptions
Names · "God" · Existence · Gender
Creator · Architect · Demiurge · Sustainer
Lord · Father · Monad · Oneness
Supreme Being · The All · Personal
Unitarianism · Ditheism · Trinity
Omniscience · Omnipotence
Omnipresence · Omnibenevolence
in Bahá'í · in Buddhism · in Christianity
in Hinduism · in Islam · in Judaism
in Sikhism This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Holy name redirects here. ... For other uses, see God. ... Arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, and others. ... This entry discusses how the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam deal with God and gender. ... God is the divine being that created the omniverse. ... Great Architect of the Universe (GAOTU) is a term used within Freemasonry to denominate the Supreme Being which each member individually holds an adherence to. ... The Demiurge, The Craftsman or Creator, in some belief systems, is the deity responsible for the creation of the physical universe. ... There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ... The Tetragrammaton in Phoenician (1100 BC to 300 CE), Aramaic (10th Century BC to 0) and modern Hebrew scripts. ... In many religions, the supreme God is given the title and attributions of Father. ... The Pythagorean Monad Monad, according to the Pythagoreans, was a term for God or the first being, or the totality of all beings. ... Oneness is a spiritual term referring to the experience of the absence of egoic identity boundaries, and, according to some traditions, the realization of the awareness of the absolute interconnectedness of all matter and thought in space-time, or ones ultimate identity with God (see Tat Tvam Asi). ... The term Supreme Being is often defined simply as God,[1] and it is used with this meaning by theologians of many religious faiths, including, but not limited to, Christianity,[2] Islam,[3] Hinduism,[4] Deism[5] and Scientology. ... The All is the Hermetic version of God, to some and not to others. ... The phrase personal God is religious term used far more often by laypeople than by theologians due to its numerous connotations. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Unitarianism is the belief... The term dualism is the state of being dual, or having a twofold division. ... This article concerns the holy Trinity of Christianity. ... Omniscience is the capacity to know everything infinitely, or at least everything that can be known about a character including thoughts, feelings, life and the universe, etc. ... Omnipotence (literally, all power) is power with no limits or inexhaustible, in other words, unlimited power. ... Omnipresence is the ability to be present in every place at any, and/or every, time; unbounded or universal presence. ... Omnibenevolence is sometimes used to describe the property of being perfectly or absolutely good. ... Baháís believe in a single, imperishable God, the creator of all things, including all the creatures and forces in the universe. ... Buddhism is usually regarded as a religion without an absolute God who created the universe ex nihilo (from nothing) and to whom devotion and worship are due (although veneration and worship of the Buddhas do play a major role in both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism). ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Relation to other religions Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas Luther · Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      // In... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Islam reveres the One and Only God, known as Allah (الله) in Arabic. ... The Conception of God in Judaism is henotheistic or (as Rabbinic Judaism) monotheistic. ... The fundamental belief of Sikhism is that God exists, not merely as an idea or concept, but as a Real Entity, indescribable yet knowable and perceivable to anyone who is prepare to dedicate the time and energy to become perceptive to His persona. ...


Experience and practices
Faith · Prayer · Belief · Revelation
Fideism · Gnosis · Metaphysics
Mysticism · Hermeticism · Esotericism For other uses, see Faith (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Prayer (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Believe. ... Revelation of the Last Judgment by Jacob de Backer Revelation is an uncovering or disclosure via communication from the divine of something that has been partially or wholly hidden or unknown, which could not be known apart from the unveiling (Goswiller 1987 p. ... In Christian theology, fideism is any of several belief systems which hold, on various grounds, that reason is irrelevant to religious faith. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Plato (Left) and Aristotle (right), by Raphael (Stanza della Segnatura, Rome) Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the ultimate nature of reality, being, and the world. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Hermeticism should not be confused with the concept of a hermit. ... Look up Esotericism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Related topics
Philosophy · Religion · Ontology
God complex · God gene
Problem of evil (Euthyphro dilemma • Theodicy)
Chaos · Cosmos · Cosmic egg
For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ... This article is about ontology in philosophy. ... A god complex is a colloquial term used to portray a perceived character flaw as if it were a psychological complex. The person who is said to have a god complex does not believe he is God, but is said to act so arrogantly that he might as well believe... The God gene hypothesis states that some human beings bear a gene which gives them a prediposition to episodes interpreted by some as religious revelation. ... The Euthyphro dilemma is found in Platos dialogue Euthyphro, in which Socrates asks Euthyphro: Is the pious (τὸ ὅσιον) loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods? (10a) In monotheistic terms, this is usually transformed into: Is what is moral... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Chaos (disambiguation). ... The Ancient and Medieval cosmos as depicted in Peter Apians Cosmographia (Antwerp, 1539). ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


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In the philosophy of religion and theology, the problem of evil is the problem of reconciling the existence of evil or suffering in the world with the existence of a god.[1] The problem is most often discussed in the context of the personal god of the Abrahamic religions, but is also relevant to polytheistic traditions involving many gods. A proposed solution to this dilemma is called a theodicy. Philosophy of religion is the rational study of the meaning and justification ( or rebuttal) of fundamental religious claims, particularly about the nature and existence of God (or gods, or the divine). ... Theology finds its scholars pursuing the understanding of and providing reasoned discourse of religion, spirituality and God or the gods. ... For other uses, see Evil (disambiguation). ... Suffering is any aversive (not necessarily unwanted) experience and the corresponding negative emotion. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... The phrase personal God is religious term used far more often by laypeople than by theologians due to its numerous connotations. ... Abrahamic religions symbols designating the three prevalent monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam Abrahamic religion is a term commonly used to designate the three prevalent monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam[1][2] – which claim Abraham (Hebrew: Avraham אַבְרָהָם ; Arabic: Ibrahim ابراهيم ) as a part of their sacred history. ... Polytheism is belief in, or worship of, multiple gods or divinities. ... Look up deity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

Contents

History

Epicurus is credited with first expounding the problem of evil. David Hume in his Dialogues concerning Natural Religion (1779) cited Epicurus in stating the argument as a series of questions:

"Is [God] willing to prevent evil, but not able? then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? whence then is evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 396 × 599 pixel Image in higher resolution (1850 × 2800 pixel, file size: 3. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 396 × 599 pixel Image in higher resolution (1850 × 2800 pixel, file size: 3. ... Epicure redirects here. ... This article is about the philosopher. ... Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion was written by skeptical philosopher David Hume. ...

Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt

The problem of evil takes at least four formulations in ancient Mesopotamian religious thought, as in the extant manuscripts of Ludlul bēl nēmeqi (I Will Praise the Lord of Wisdom), Erra and Ishum, The Babylonian Theodicy, and The Dialogue of Pessimism.[2] In this type of polytheistic context, the chaotic nature of the world implies multiple gods battling for control. In ancient Egypt, it was thought the problem takes at least two formulations, as in the extant manuscripts of Dialogue of a Man with His Ba and The Eloquent Peasant. Due to the conception of Egyptian gods as being far removed, these two formulations of the problem focus heavily on the relation between evil and people; that is, moral evil. The Eloquent Peasant is an Ancient Egyptian story about a peasant, Khun-Anup, who stumbles upon the property of the noble Rensi, guarded by its harsh overseer, Nemtynakht. ...


Epicurus

Epicurus is generally credited with first expounding the problem of evil, and it is sometimes called "the Epicurean paradox" or "the riddle of Epicurus." In this form, the argument is not really a paradox or a riddle, but rather a reductio ad absurdum of the premises.[3] Epicurus drew the conclusion that the existence of evil is incompatible with the existence of the Gods who care about the matters of mankind, assuming absolute concepts of benevolence, knowledge, and power. More generally, no paradox or problem exists for those who do not accept the premises, in particular the existence of a benevolent god or gods. However, many Greeks did; Plato, in his "Timaeus," states gods are good. Epicure redirects here. ... Look up paradox in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A riddle is a statement or question having a double or veiled meaning, put forth as a puzzle to be solved. ... Reductio ad absurdum (Latin: reduction to the absurd) also known as an apagogical argument, reductio ad impossibile, or proof by contradiction, is a type of logical argument where one assumes a claim for the sake of argument, derives an absurd or ridiculous outcome, and then concludes that the original assumption...

Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world? — Epicurus, as quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief

Epicurus himself did not leave any written form of this argument. It can be found in Lucretius's "De Rerum Natura" and in Christian theologian Lactantius's "Treatise on the Anger of God" where Lactantius critiques the argument. Not to be confused with The Nature of Things, a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television show about natural science. ... Lucius Caelius (or Caecilius?) Firmianus Lactantius was an early Christian author who wrote in Latin (c. ...


Epicurus's argument as presented by Lactantius actually argues that a god that is all powerful and all good does not exist and that the gods are distant and uninvolved with man's concerns. The gods are neither our friends nor enemies. The stronger form most people know of Epicurus' problem of evil is actually David Hume's formulation of the problem of evil in Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion: Lucius Caelius (or Caecilius?) Firmianus Lactantius was an early Christian author who wrote in Latin (c. ... This article is about the philosopher. ... Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion was written by skeptical philosopher David Hume. ...

"[Gods] power we allow [is] infinite: Whatever he wills is executed: But neither man nor any other animal are happy: Therefore he does not will their happiness. His wisdom is infinite: He is never mistaken in choosing the means to any end: But the course of nature tends not to human or animal felicity: Therefore it is not established for that purpose. Through the whole compass of human knowledge, there are no inferences more certain and infallible than these. In what respect, then, do his benevolence and mercy resemble the benevolence and mercy of men?"

Marcion, the 2nd century sect leader is presented by Tertullian in his "Adversus Marcion" as presenting this puzzle: "why does God who is all powerful and has foreknowledge of the future allow evil?" Marcion's answer is that god is in part evil himself. Marcion of Sinope (ca. ...


Traditional Judeo-Christian Interpretations

The biblical Book of Job is, perhaps, the most widely known formulation of the problem of evil in Western thought. Other books of note include Psalms 1 and 82, and Ecclesiastes (Koheleth). The Book of Job (איוב) is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. ... Psalms (from the Greek: Psalmoi) (originally meaning songs sung to a harp, from psallein play on a stringed instrument, Ψαλμοί; Hebrew: Tehilim, תהילים, or praises) is a book of the Hebrew Bible, Tanakh or Old Testament. ... Ecclesiastes, Qohelet in Hebrew, is a book of the Hebrew Bible. ...


Augustine and Pelagius

In the 5th Century, Pelagius denied the Augustianian answer to the paradox of original sin. Augustine's answer was the Limited Sovereignty argument, which stated that Adam and Eve had the power to change nature by bringing sin into the world, but that the advent of sin then limited mankind’s power thereafter (to evade the consequences). The problem of evil then asks: "Is God's creation still good?" Pelagius argued that death is a natural part of the universe. Both he and John Chrysostom believed that Christians, through their baptism, are free to make moral choices; that, although their wills cannot affect the course of nature, it can — and must — affect their moral decisions. This view, however, does not exclude the possibility that death came about as a result of human action. Pelagius' main argument was that God is just, and it would be unjust to punish many people for the sin of two people. Adam and Eve sinned, but universal mortality cannot be the result of their sin alone. Mortality must be the result of some other cause, which Pelagius held was simply the structure of nature. Pelagius' position is regarded by most Christian denominations as a heresy.[4] Augustine's position on the issue is discussed further in the section on Criticisms and responses below. Pelagius (ca. ... John Chrysostom (349– ca. ... Heresy, as a blanket term, describes a practice or belief that is labeled as unorthodox. ... In the philosophy of religion and theology, the problem of evil is the problem of reconciling the existence of evil or suffering in the world with the existence of a god. ...


Apocatastasis

Origen, an early Christian scholar and theologian, suggested that the problem of evil was a misnomer. Origen's response to this was the concept of Apocatastasis. Simply stated, the ends justify the means. That is, all of creation is reconciled by its purpose of facilitating freewill. This argument is still prevalent in Eastern Orthodoxy today. The concept can be traced in the works of St Clement of Alexandria, St Isaac of Syria, St Gregory of Nyssa, St Gregory the Great and St Maximus the Confessor. Modern versions of the argument can be found in some of the writings of Dostoevsky (see the Devil's conversation with Ivan in The Brothers Karamazov and in Stepan Verkhovensky's play in The Possessed) though Dostoevsky himself never expressed his endorsement of the idea. Origen Origen (Greek: Ōrigénēs, 185–ca. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Ancient of Days by William Blake Apocatastasis (a-po-ca-TAH-sta-sis) is a Greek word meaning: 1) reconstitution or restitution [1] 2) restoration to the original or primordial condition [2] // [edit] Apocatastasis [edit] in Stoicism In Stoic philosophy, the cosmos is a physical expression of Zeus perfect thoughts... ... Clement of Alexandria (Titus Flavius Clemens), was the first member of the Church of Alexandria to be more than a name, and one of its most distinguished teachers. ... Isaac of Nineveh (d. ... Gregory of Nyssa ( 335 – after 394) was a Christian bishop and saint. ... Saint Gregory I, or Gregory the Great (called the Dialogist in Eastern Orthodoxy) (circa 540 - March 12, 604) was pope of the Catholic Church from September 3, 590 until his death. ... Saint Maximus the Confessor (also known as Maximus the Theologian and Maximus of Constantinople) (c. ... Fyodor Dostoevsky. ... For other uses, see The Brothers Karamazov (disambiguation). ... For the theatrical adaptation by Albert Camus, see The Possessed (play). ...


Formalized arguments

One example among many of a formulation of the problem of evil presented by Epicurus may be schematized as follows (this form of the argument is called 'the inconsistent triad'):

  1. If a perfectly good god exists, then there is no evil in the world.
  2. There is evil in the world.
  3. Therefore, a perfectly good god does not exist.

This argument is of the logically valid form modus tollens (denying the consequent). In this case, P is "God exists" and Q is "there is no evil in the world". Other logical forms of arguments articulating the problem follow. The problem with this is that it assumes that God is somehow unable to exist with evil, but most religious texts on the description of God and evil say otherwise, one example is the Book of Job. In logic, Modus ponendo tollens (Latin for mode that affirms by denying) is the formal name for indirect proof or proof by contraposition (contrapositive inference), often abbreviated to MT. It can also be referred to as denying the consequent, and is a valid form of argument (unlike similarly-named but... The Book of Job (איוב) is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. ...


Logical problem of evil

  1. God exists. (premise)
  2. God is omnipotent and omniscient. (premise — or true by definition of the word "God")
  3. God is all-benevolent. (premise — or true by definition)
  4. All-benevolent beings are opposed to all evil. (premise — or true by definition)
  5. All-benevolent beings who can eliminate evil will do so immediately when they become aware of it. (premise)
  6. God is opposed to all evil. (conclusion from 3 and 4)
  7. God can eliminate evil completely and immediately. (conclusion from 2)
    1. Whatever the end result of suffering is, God can bring it about by ways that do not include suffering. (conclusion from 2)
    2. God has no reason not to eliminate evil. (conclusion from 7.1)
    3. God has no reason not to act immediately. (conclusion from 5)
  8. God will eliminate evil completely and immediately. (conclusion from 6, 7.2 and 7.3)
  9. Evil exists, has existed, and probably will always exist. (premise)
  10. Items 8 and 9 are contradictory; therefore, one or more of the premises is false: either God does not exist, evil does not exist, or God is not simultaneously omnipotent, omniscient, and all-benevolent (i.e. God is omnipotent and omniscient but not all-benevolent, omnipotent and all-benevolent but not omniscient, or omniscient and all-benevolent but not omnipotent).

Evidential problem of evil


As argued by Paul Draper in a seminal article in Noûs (1989), the evidental problem of evil goes as follows: Paul Draper is a philosopher, and currently a professor at Purdue University, where he edits the academic journal Philo. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

  1. Gratuitous evils exist.
  2. The hypothesis of indifference (HI), i.e., that if there are supernatural beings they are indifferent to gratuitous evils, is a better explanation for (1) than theism.
  3. Therefore, evidence prefers that no god, as commonly understood by theists, exists.

Argument from evil natural laws and processes

  1. A god is omnipotent, omniscient, and all-benevolent.
  2. If a god exists, then there exist no instances of an ultimately evil natural laws or processes.
  3. The laws of predation are ultimately evil.
  4. There are instances of the laws of predation.
  5. Therefore, no god exists.

Moral argument from evil Predator and Prey redirect here. ...

  1. The most rational theists believe (i.e. roughly speaking, have a belief) that God exists.
  2. If a god exists, then there is objective justification for every actual instance of evil (even if no-one intervenes to prevent that evil).
    1. For any possible world W, if a god exists in W, then every instance of evil in W is objectively justified.
    2. If a god exists, then there is an objective justification for every actual instance of evil, (including those evils where there is a witness).
  3. Some members of the class of most rational theists (as defined above) are theists who believe(2).
  4. Some of the most rational theists (namely, those who know 2) know that there is objective justification for any actual instance of evil, justification that will occur even if no onlooker intervenes to stop or prevent that evil.
  5. If human person P knows that there is objective justification for evil E, and that this justification will occur even if P does not intervene to stop or prevent E, then P is morally justified in allowing E to occur.
  6. Some of the most rational theists (namely, those who know 2) are morally justified in allowing any actual evil to occur. (from 4 and 5)
  7. If the most rational theists know that a god exists, then some of those theists (namely, those who know 2) are morally justified in allowing any evil to occur. (from 1 to 6)
  8. Even the most rational theists (including those who know 2) are not morally justified in allowing just any evil to occur.
  9. Even the most rational theists do not know that a god exists. (from 7 and 8)
  10. If the most rational theists do not know that a god exists, then no theist knows that a god exists.
  11. No theist knows that a god exists. (from 9 and 10)
  12. For any given theist, that theist's belief that a god exists is either false or unjustified.
  13. If a god exists, then some theists are justified in believing that a god exists.
  14. If a god exists, then no theist has a false belief that a god exists.
  15. If a god exists, then some theists know (i.e., have a justified, true belief) that God exists. (from 13 and 14)
  16. It is not the case that some theists know (i.e., have a justified and true belief) that a god exists. (from 12)
  17. No god exists. (from 15 and 16)

Inductive argument from evil

  1. All evil in the kinds of created entities are the result of the fallibility of one or more of its creators. (Premise)
  2. The universe is a created entity. (Premise)
  3. The universe contains evil. (Premise)
  4. Evil is the result of the actions of a fallible creator(s) or is not the result of any creator(s). (From 1, 2 and 3 by predictive inference)
  5. If god created the universe, then he is fallible. (From 4)
  6. Therefore, god did not create the universe, is imperfect, or does not exist. (From 5)

Argument from the biological role of pain and pleasure

  1. Consider the following observations:
    • Moral agents experiencing pain or pleasure we know to be biologically useful.
    • Sentient beings that are not moral agents experiencing pain or pleasure that we know to be biologically useful.
    • Sentient beings experiencing pain or pleasure that we do not know to be biologically useful.
  2. The observations in 1 are more probably the result of natural law than a god.
  3. Therefore, probably no god exists.

Criticisms and responses

In Essais de Théodicée sur la bonté de Dieu, la liberté de l'homme et l'origine du mal, a well-known essay written in 1710, Leibniz introduced the term "theodicy" to describe the formal study of this subject. This term is also used for an explanation of why God permits evil to exist without it being a contradiction of his perfect goodness. // Events April 10 - The worlds first copyright legislation became effective, Britains Statute of Anne Ongoing events Great Northern War (1700-1721) War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713) Births January 3 - Richard Gridley, American Revolutionary soldier (d. ... Leibniz redirects here. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Definition of "evil"

The fifth century theologian Augustine of Hippo mounted what has become one of the most popular defenses of the existence of God against the Epicurean paradox. He maintained that evil was only privatio boni, or a privation of good. An evil thing can only be referred to as a negative form of a good thing, such as discord, injustice, and loss of life or of liberty. If a being is not totally pure, evil will fill in any gaps in that being's purity. This is commonly called the Contrast Theodicy — that evil only exists as a "contrast" with good. However, the Contrast Theodicy relies on a metaphysical view of morality that few people, even theologians, agree with[citation needed] (that good and evil are not moral judgments). In On Free Choice of the Will, Augustine also argued that Epicurus had ignored the potential benefits of suffering in the world. (4th century - 5th century - 6th century - other centuries) Events Rome sacked by Visigoths in 410. ... Augustinus redirects here. ... Privatio Boni can be loosely translated as lack of good. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


"Evil" suggests a moral law

Another response to this paradox argues that asserting "evil exists" would imply a moral standard against which to define good and evil (see also Argument from morality). Therefore, by using this argument one implies the existence of a moral law, which requires a law-maker. Most theists would assert that this law-maker is God, whilst many atheists would argue that morality can just as easily be reached through reason — that this law is in fact a social contract agreed to by all humans; subconsciously developed from social prisoner's dilemma and/or that this problem is more accurately described as a problem of physical suffering, which can be objectively defined against a standard (of zero physical suffering), or that morality can be reached by its ability to support man's means to attain life. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... John Lockes writings on the Social Contract were particularly influential among the American Founding Fathers. ... Will the two prisoners cooperate to minimize total loss of liberty or will one of them, trusting the other to cooperate, betray him so as to go free? In game theory, the prisoners dilemma (sometimes abbreviated PD) is a type of non-zero-sum game in which two players... Suffering is any aversive (not necessarily unwanted) experience and the corresponding negative emotion. ...


Free will

Some theists argue that God allows evil to exist so that humans can have freedom of choice. The argument runs as follows: Free-Will is a Japanese independent record label founded in 1986. ...

  • Free will requires the potential to do anything one chooses. (premise, or by definition)
  • Thus, free will requires the potential to do evil.
  • Thus, removing the potential to do evil would remove free will.

Having concluded that capacity for evil is a prerequisite for free will, they argue that favoring the presence of free will over an absence of evil is consistent with the concept of a powerful, benevolent god.


Critics of this argument claim there is an implicit assumption that the capacity for evil necessarily leads to the occurrence of evil, and assert that it is logically possible to have a world in which people have free will and are capable of evil, but nonetheless live morally.


Ditheism

Ditheistic belief systems (a kind of dualism) resolved the problem of evil by positing that there are two rival great gods, that work in polar opposition to each other. Examples of such belief systems include Gnosticism, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism and in a way those currents of Christianity and Islam comprising the Devil, although the latter tend to define some kind of asymmetry between the two deities' capabilities. While the concept of omnipotence is difficult to hold in ditheistic belief systems, "asymmetrically ditheistic" belief systems as described above can't logically adhere to the omnipotence of one of the opposing forces as the omnipotent one then could simply rid itself of the other. Thus generally ditheistic believe system technically aren't even subject to the problem of evil. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Zoroastrianism is the religion and philosophy based on the teachings ascribed to the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra, Zartosht). ... Manichean priests, writing at their desk, with panel inscription in Sogdian. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Christianity is... For people named Islam, see Islam (name). ... This is an overview of the Devil. ...


Problem of evil in Hinduism

In Hinduism, the problem of evil is present but does not exist per se as souls are eternal and not directly created by God. In Dvaita philosophy, jivas (souls) are eternally existent and hence not a creation of God ex nihilo (out of nothing). The souls are bound by beginningless avidya (ignorance) that cause a misidentification with products of nature (body, wealth, power) and hence suffering. In effect, Hinduism identifies avidya (ignorance) as the cause of evil and this ignorance itself is uncaused. Suffering from natural causes are explained as karmic results of previous births. Hindu answers to the problem of evil are different from most answers offered in Western philosophy, partly because the problem of evil within Hindu thought is differently structured than Western traditions, mainly Abrahamic traditions. ... Hinduism (known as in modern Indian languages[1]) is a religious tradition[2] that originated in the Indian subcontinent. ... Dvaita (Devanagari:द्बैत, Kannada:ದ್ವೈತ) (also known as Tattvavada and Bheda-vada), a school of Vedanta (the most widespread Hindu philosophy) founded by Madhvacharya, stresses a strict distinction between God (Vishnu) and the individual living beings (jivas). ... In Hinduism and Jainism, a jiva is the immortal essence of a living being, subject to maya. ... Avidya is the Buddhist term for ignorance. ... For other uses, see Karma (disambiguation). ...


Moreover, even within the realm of avidya, "good" and "evil" are an individual's deeds and God dispenses the results of an individual's actions but has the power to mitigate suffering.(see Karma in Hinduism). Avidya is the Buddhist term for ignorance. ... Karma is a concept in Hinduism, based on the Vedas and Upanishads, which explains causality through a system where beneficial events are derived from past beneficial actions and harmful events from past harmful actions, creating a system of actions and reactions throughout a persons reincarnated lives. ...


Problem of evil in Buddhism

The problem of evil is generally considered in Buddhism as a basis for not believing in a benevolent creator God, which Buddhism considers to be self attachment to false concepts. For instance, in the Bhûridatta Jataka[5] the Bodhisattva sings: A statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Tawang Gompa, India. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Lands Bhutan â€¢ China â€¢ Korea Japan â€¢ Tibet â€¢ Vietnam Taiwan â€¢ Mongolia Doctrine Bodhisattva â€¢ Bodhicitta Karuna â€¢ Prajna Sunyata â€¢ Buddha Nature Trikaya â€¢ Eternal Buddha Scriptures Prajnaparamita Sutra Avatamsaka Sutra Lotus Sutra Nirvana Sutra VimalakÄ«rti Sutra Lankavatara Sutra History 4th Buddhist Council Silk Road â€¢ Nagarjuna Asanga â€¢ Vasubandhu Bodhidharma      A statue of a Bodhisattva, Akasagarbha. ...

If the creator of the world entire
They call God, of every being be the Lord
Why does he order such misfortune
And not create concord?

If the creator of the world entire
They call God, of every being be the Lord
Why prevail deceit, lies and ignorance
And he such inequity and injustice create?

If the creator of the world entire
They call God, of every being be the Lord
Then an evil master is he, (O Aritta)
Knowing what's right did let wrong prevail!

Problem of evil in Islam

Mutazilite view

Mu'tazilis identify evil as something that stems from free will and human imperfection, arguing that if man's evil acts were from the will of God then punishment would be meaningless. Mu'tazilis do not deny suffering from non-human sources such as natural disasters, and explain this "apparent" evil through the Islamic doctrine of taklif - that life is a test for beings possessing free will. Mutazilah (Arabic المعتزلة al-mu`tazilah) is a theological school of thought within Islam. ...


See also

Ancient of Days by William Blake Apocatastasis (a-po-ca-TAH-sta-sis) is a Greek word meaning: 1) reconstitution or restitution [1] 2) restoration to the original or primordial condition [2] // [edit] Apocatastasis [edit] in Stoicism In Stoic philosophy, the cosmos is a physical expression of Zeus perfect thoughts... The Book of Job (איוב) is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. ... This is an overview of the Devil. ... The problem of Hell is a variant of the problem of evil, aimed specifically at religions which hold both that: An omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent (all-loving) God exists. ... The Tower of Siloam was a tower that existed at Siloam near Jerusalem in ancient times. ... Qliphoth, kliffoth or klippot, Heb. ... Sephirah, also Sefirah (Hebrew language סְפִירָה Enumeration); plural Sephiroth or Sefiroth סְפִירוֹת. In the Kabbalah, the Sephiroth (or Enumerations) are the ten emanations of God (or infinite light: Ain Soph Aur) into the universe. ... This article is about traditional Jewish Kabbalah. ... The Problem of Pain is a 1940 book by C. S. Lewis, in which he seeks to provide a Christian response to intellectual questions about suffering. ... Listen to this article ( info/dl) This audio file was created from an article revision dated 2007-09-04, and may not reflect subsequent edits to the article. ... Arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, and others. ... The just-world phenomenon, also called the just-world theory, just-world effect or just-world hypothesis, refers to the tendency for people to believe that the world is just and so therefore people get what they deserve. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Tooley, Michael "The Problem of Evil". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  
  2. ^ Ancient Babylonia—Wisdom Literature. Bible History Online. Retrieved on 2007-04-19.
  3. ^ Tattersall, Nicholas (1998). The Evidential Argument from Evil. Secular Web Library. Internet Infidels. Retrieved on 2007-04-12. “[The Argument from Evil] is a reductio ad absurdum argument. It claims that there is an inconsistency with the theistic hypothesis and certain facts about the world. What atheism has to say about morality is irrelevant as to whether theism is contradicted or made improbable by the fact that pointless suffering probably exists.”
  4. ^ See, e.g., http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11604a.htm
  5. ^ V. A. Gunasekara, The Buddhist Attitude to God [1]

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 109th day of the year (110th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Internet Infidels, Inc. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 102nd day of the year (103rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

References

  • Beebe, James R. "Logical Problem of Evil," The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, James Fieser and Bradley Dowden (eds.).
  • Crouch, William, "Is there a defensible argument for the non-existence of God?," On Philosophy, James Nicholson (ed.).
  • Farrer, Austin. Love Almighty and Ills Unlimited. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1961.
  • Haught, James A. (1996). 2,000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People with the Courage to Doubt. Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-067-3.
  • Hein, David and Henderson, Edward, Captured by the Crucified: The Practical Theology of Austin Farrer. New York and London: Continuum / T & T Clark, 2004. 100–118.
  • Hick, John. Evil and the God of Love, first edition. London: Macmillan, 1966.
  • Mackie, J. L. The Miracle of Theism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982.
  • Murray, Michael. "Leibniz on the Problem of Evil," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2005 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).
  • Plantinga, Alvin. God, Freedom, and Evil. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1977.
  • Plantinga, Alvin. The Nature of Necessity. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974.
  • Swinburne, Richard. The Coherence of Theism. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997.
  • Tooley, Michael, "The Problem of Evil," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2004 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).
  • Trakakis , Nick. "Evidential Problem of Evil," The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, James Fieser and Bradley Dowden (eds.).

External links

Philosophy Portal
  • The Riddle of Epicurus — Earliest known statement of the problem of evil
  • Does God Really Care About Us? If so, why does he permit suffering? (A Jehovah's Witness Perspective)
  • In Defense of the Free Will Theodicy
  • Problem of Evil Blog
  • Gregory S. Neal: "The Nature of Evil and the Irenaean Theodicy" Grace Incarnate (1988)
  • Putting God on Trial — The Biblical Book of Job A Hegelian theodicy.
  • A Collection and Critique of Responses
  • A debate between theist William Lane Craig and atheist Kai Neilsen regarding the problem of evil.
  • A selection of articles on good and evil in Judaism from Chabad.org
  • Apocatastasis article at Orthodoxwiki
  • The Problem of Evils & Predestination, (Islam), Frithjof Schuon, retrieved 11 June 2007
  • Bediuzzaman Said Nursî's Scriptural Approach to the Problem of Evil, (Islam), Yamine Mermer, retrieved 11 June 2007
  • Evil, The Catholic Encyclopedia, A.B Sharpe, 1909, retrieved 11 June2007
  • Beyond the Problem of Evil, A Graduate Level Research Paper

  Results from FactBites:
 
Problem of evil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2462 words)
In the philosophy of religion and theology, the problem of evil is the problem of reconciling the existence of evil or suffering in the world with the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent god.
The problem of evil arises from the supposition that a completely good deity would not have created a world containing evil, or would not permit its continued existence in the world, and that an omniscient and omnipotent god should be able to arrange the world according to its intentions.
In Hinduism, the problem of evil is present but does not exist per se as souls are eternal and not directly created by God.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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