HUMA Lecture #16
March 03 2014
Parts 10, 11
• Is Natural Evil (bad things that happen thru nature) compatible with benevolence of
• Is God good while Evil still exists?
• Part 10, everyone agrees evil exists.
• The issue is, can God’s benevolence and evil co-exists?
• God that is being discussed is the Designer of the World
• Recall: (Infinite Power . Benevolence) > (Best of All Possible Worlds)
• ~(Best of All Possible Worlds) b/c there would
be no evil
• Therefore: ~(Infinite Power. Benevolence)
• Cleanthes still says God is benevolent but does not have infinite power.
• There is an argument within the argument All in Part 10
• Part 10, Pages 152 – 156: Talk of evil in the world
• Pg. 156, bottom paragraph: Why the design of the World does not show a benevolent
• Pg. 157, second last paragraph: Cleanthes’s challenge
• It’s not a challenge to Philo, even though it sounds like it. It’s a challenge to himself
• Pg. 157 bottom – Top of pg. 158: Porch view of the Universe. If we see all the evil, we
will see the evil as rectified
• Pg. 158, second last paragraph on page: Benevolence of God is unaffected by the evil in
• Pg. 158 – Pg. 160: Philo gives 3 arguments against Cleanthes Argument within the argument.
• P. 156, last paragraph: Philo’s 2 arguments against God’s benevolence.
Philo’s Arguments against God’s benevolence.
• Hypothesis: God’s power is infinite; Whatever God wills, happens.
• Fact: Look around you, there is so much evil that no one is happy. Neither humans or
other animals are happy
• Conclusion: God does not will our happiness Incompatible with divine benevolence.
• Hypothesis: God’s wisdom is infinite; God never makes a mistake in choosing an
appropriate means to accomplish what he wants.
• Fact: Nature does not support the happiness of humans and animals. Course of nature
is hostile to us. (Nature as in hurricanes, droughts, storms etc.)
• Conclusion: God did not intend to make the course of nature to make us happy.
Incompatible with divine benevolence.
Hume points out Cleanthes’s position are always anthropomorphic. God is good that the way we
are good but is infinite.
• So how do you determine something is benevolent?
• Hume: The sign of benevolence is promoting the happiness of others. Those who make
other people happy are benevolent.
• If you make animals happy, you are benevolent.
• If you make other miserable or hurt animals, you are not benevolent.
• P. 157 – top of pg. 158: Porch view of the World
• Demea: I have the answer to all of this.
• Cleanthes: Porch view of the world is useless.
Cleanthes’s 2 counter-arguments to show God’s benevolence
• Pg. 158, second last paragraph. (What is being read is to show counter arguments):
Even if there is still evil, there is still more good.
Counter Argument #1
• Hypothesis: God’s power is infinite; Whatever God wills, happens
• Fact: Humans and other animals tend to be happy. They are happier than miserable
• Conclusion: God wills the tendency of happiness in humans and animals. God cannot
guarantee you will be happy but he wills the tendency to. Cleanthes thinks this
establishes divine benevolence.
Counter Argument #2
• Hypothesis: God’s wisdom is infinite; God is never mistaken in choosing a means to an
• Fact: The force of nature tends to support happiness in humans and animals. • Conclusion: God has willed the tendency of the course of nature to promote our
Philo’s 3 arguments against Cleanthes’s position. Developed dialectally
• Pg. 158, last paragraph: Philo does not want to argue about Cleanthes’s 2 arguments.
He just says let’s assume its right. Argument #1
• Even if it is true, pleasure is more common than pain