Evil and Suffering
Part A) 'Evil and suffering is the result of a malevolent God' discuss the problem of evil and suffering in light of this quote. (6 marks)
There are two different types of evil. Moral evil and natural evil. Moral evil is the result of human actions that are morally wrong. Examples are murder, war and cruelty. Richard Swinburn said 'Moral evil I understand as including all evil caused deliberately by humans negligently failing to do what they ought to do, and also the evil constituted by such deliberate actions or negligent failure'. Natural evil is not caused by humans, and it is the apparent malfunctioning of the natural world. Examples of this are volcanoes erupting, earthquakes, famines, and diseases. John Hick said 'Natural evil is the evil that originates independently of human actions, in disease… in earthquakes, storms, droughts, or tornadoes'. Evil and suffering is definitely problematic. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, it produces suffering which usually seems unfair. This may include animal suffering which, of course, is totally unfair because the animal usually cannot do anything in it's power to stop itself suffering. This leads to the belief that evil does exist and is a reality, and is a challenging problem. The next problem is a theological problem. This is that evil challenges the nature of God. A philosophical problem with evil is that it requires the believer to accept conflicting claims. Lastly, the problem that evil comes in many forms and which demand different explanations is a diverse problem. These terms do suggest a malevolent God. If God is benevolent then these definitions of evil and suffering do make the problem greater, because one would wonder why God chooses to make innocent and undeserving people suffer, for which there is no real answer available to man. JL Mackie came up with the 'inconsistent triad' to explain the problem of evil and suffering with belief in God. He wrote about a triangle which has three points; God's omnipotence, evil existing, and God's omnibenevolence. These three components cannot exist together if they are all correct, therefore one of them must be wrong.This leads us to question the nature of God, and wether he is the classical theistic God that we think we know.
Part B) Examine two theodicies and evaluate whether they provide an adequate solution for the problem of evil and suffering. (24 marks)
Aquinas's argues that whatever suffering and evil humans have to go through, God puts them through for a reason which is that it's what's best for them, and is necessary and essential in one way or another. Therefore, argued, God is still all loving or omnibenevolent, and the problem of evil and suffering does not challenge this. Augustine's theodicy is largely similar to this idea. Augustine argued that the universe is good, thus is a creation of from a good God for a good purpose. The Bible shows that God created the world perfectly, but it was made imperfect when Adam and Eve succumbed to the tree of temptation and ate the forbidden fruits. This created original sin, and is the reason for evil and suffering. This leads me on to the factor of freewill. Augustine argues that in order for God to be omnibenevolent, he needs to give man freewill. As a consequence of giving man freewill, man will cause evil and suffering in some of their actions. Also, Augustine argued that evil is totally necessary in a good world, because it means we know what good is. With no evil or suffering or bad, man would not know what good and bad were, and the distinction between them. This could cause man to not appreciate happiness and good. Augustine concluded that God should not put a stop to evil and suffering or intervene, because it is a punishment for human sin and God is fair. He said that if God was unfair, then everyone would receive their rightful punishment in hell, but God, being the selfless and fair God that he is,...
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