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Lecture 21

PHL105Y5 Lecture 21: 07b Traditional Responses to the Problem of Evil

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Bernard Katz

Traditional responses to the problem of evil: A theodicy is an attempt to explain what God’s purposes might be for permitting evil in our world. It is an attempt to “justify the ways of God to man”, to show that God is just in permitting evil. A theodicy tries to show that there are no evils that are not necessary for some greater good. The purpose theodicy: A life that is all pleasure and no challenge, a life in which we have no wrongs and imperfections to overcome, would be a life without meaning and purpose. So evil is necessary to give life meaning and purpose. The moral quality theodicy: One of the greatest goods that we possess are moral qualities like courage, mercy, and compassion. But such qualities arise and develop out of confrontation with evil and wrong. The punishment and reward theodicy: Evil is God’s instrument for punishing the guilty and warning those tempted to sin. So evil is an instrument of justice in the u
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