The Argument from evil
0. Introductory digression
Refuting an argument for p is not the same as arguing that not-p
“God exists, but the ontological argument doesn’t prove it!” is perfectly reasonable
1. The state of play
We have seen four arguments in favour of the existence of God and we have considered some weakness
in each of them
- Argument from design
- Argument from miracles
2. The nature of God
a) omnipotent – God is all-powerful, that is, able to do all things; or at least things that are
b) omniscient – God knows all things, or at least all things that can be known
c) benevolent – God is good, and benevolent to human beings, and indeed to his creation; lover
The problems is…..
…..these features of God, the so called “divine attributes” seem to be inconsistent with the
existence of evil in the world.
The argument from evil consists in showing that these divine attributes are incompatible with
the existence of evil in the world.
3. Epicurus' version of the argument from evil
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?
1. If an all-powerful and perfectly good god exists, then evil does not.
2. There is evil in the world.
3. Therefore, an all-powerful and perfectly good god does not exist.
a) striving for survival and self-preservation
b) limited powers of creatures to deal with their problems c) laws of nature
d) bizarre events in nature (how come sometimes it pours and sometimes it’s a drought?)
A theodicy is an attempt to show why and how the presence of evil in the world is compatible with the
existence of God
Three main theodicies :
- divine retribution
- free will defence
- soul making theodicy
a) divine retribution: In addition to being all-good, God is just.
1. Direct justice. The pain and suffering that people encounter is simply God's
retribution for the evil that they themselves have done.
seems like a sl