Thoughts on God and the Problem of Evil

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Theodicy as a term was originally coined in 1710 by a philosopher named Gottfried Leibniz in his work Essais de Théodicée sur la bonté de Dieu, la liberté de l'homme et l'origine du mal ("Theodicy Essay on the Benevolence of God, the Free will of man, and the Origin of Evil"). Theodicy, as defined by Webster’s Dictionary, is a “defense of God's goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil.”

David Hume, in his Dialogues concerning Natural Religion, quotes Epicurus, a Greek philosopher, as saying the following:

“Is [God] willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

Epicurus states the core of the problem of evil. If God exists, and is omnipotent as well as omnibenevolent, how can he allow evil to exist? If he is not omnipotent, or omnibenevolent, why do we call him God? These questions form the core problem in reconciling belief in God with the problem of evil.

Hume formulates his own version of the problem of evil in Dialogues concerning Natural Religion:

“[God’s] power we allow [is] infinite: Whatever he wills is executed: But neither man nor any other animal are happy: Therefore he does not will their happiness. His wisdom is infinite: He is never mistaken in choosing the means to any end. But the course of nature tends not to human or animal felicity: Therefore it is not established for that purpose. Through the whole compass of human knowledge, there are no inferences more certain and infallible than these. In what respect, then, do his benevolence and mercy resemble the benevolence and mercy of men?”

St. Augustine answered the question of evil with his own theory. He stated that anything that had being was good. God, who created all beings, was perfectly good, along with everything he created. Based on this premise, he was ready...
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