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Lecture 1

PHL 101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Theodicy, Maurice Maeterlinck, Natural Evil

Course Code
PHL 101
Richard Brown

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Is god real? 16/9/14
“If god did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him”
What does “god” mean? Can it be defined?
Zeus, and Jehovah
Three possibilities
oWe can understand him totally and in his being
oWe are able to understand the important qualities the must have in order to
worship god, the believe him
oWe cannot understand the meaning of god at all, in other words concept of
god is empty.
Must go for the 2nd of the 3 possibilities because even for the last to be true, we
have to know what god is in order to not believe in him.
Five philosophical problems
1. Is god transcendent being or immanent being? Or both?
2. Does god have a “special” relationship with us? The world?
3. Is “god” a personal god who loves us? – One that truly loves and cares for us?
4. What are god’s essential properties?
5. How can we prove the god exists—or doesn’t?
God’s essential attributes
God is all good
All knowing (omniscient)
All powerful (omnipotent)
Three different kinds of arguments used to prove gods existent
1. Ontological
Essence to existence (even a atheist has god in his mind, thus believing in his
2. Cosmological
World effect god cause (god causes the natural stuff on earth)
3. Teleological (design)
Moving from the observation that nature, human being, life, is ordered and
designed and therefore god must exist as the designer.
Some even ask, is there even a design, structure in nature?
Creationism tells us that earth was created by the theory of evolution.
William Paley (1743-1805)
He said imagine you find a stone, and you ask your self. “How’d that stone get
there” but then you find a watch, and then you ask, “How did IT get there.”
Unlike the rock, the watch was put together “its several parts are framed and put
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Is god real? 16/9/14
together for a purpose thus the watch must have had a maker or a designer, and
the very design of the watch showed intelligence and that the entire world is just
like the watch and the god is the intelligent designer”
There is only one god because if there were a committee of gods, things would be
very screwed up by now.
The problem of evil
If god really loves us, then how should he care for us? Why does he let people
harm others, or why does he cause natural disasters if he really loves us?
This world seems to have far more negativity, des-stress, and problems than it
should (why doesn’t god create a perfect, nice, safe world?)
Maybe god exists but is….
Lacking power to do anything
Is not all knowing?
Not good? - if he was all good and not evil, then why does he let evil happen
Arthur c. Clark * refer to article in red book*
Believes that god exists, but what are his real characterises and personality traits?
The priest discovers the “vault”
Left behind treasures, fruits of the intelligence, and more
Left something behind that was “human-like”
Nature is neither good nor bad
Easy answer; universe has no divine plan, and everything happens at random
because there is no god. Therefore nature is non real, and is neither good nor bad
Does good like “us” best?
Does he give preference to humans first? Then animals, then plants, then others in
the universe??
The problem of prima facie (at first glace) gratuitous (un necessary) evil
1. There is evil in the world
2. God is all good, all-powerful and all knowing.
Shouldn’t be evil and let bad happen, but does therefore is not existent.
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