The Problem Of Evil and Suffering Essay

Submitted By beessie96
Words: 2212
Pages: 9

(i) What is the problem of evil?
‘Physical pain, mental suffering and moral wickedness. The last is one of the causes of the first two, for an enormous amount of human pain arises from people’s inhumanity. This pain includes such major scourges as poverty, oppression and persecution, war and all the injustice, indignity and inequalities that have occurred through history.’ This written by John Hick in Philosophy of Religion and this quote defined what evil and suffering was. The problem of evil and suffering is a major problem for religious believers as it talks about how there is evil and suffering within our world and this evil and suffering means that it’s hard to believe in an all loving god. According to David Hume this problem is the ‘rock of atheism’.

The problem of evil was first brought to our attention by the Greek philosopher Epicurus (341 BC - 270 BC) as he raised the question “If God is an all-good, all powerful creator, where did evil come from and why doesn’t God prevent it?”

There are three types of evil when we are discussing the problem of evil and suffering. One of the evils is natural evil and this the malfunctioning of the natural world for example natural disasters like earthquakes, volcanoes, famines and floods and then these natural disasters may cause use diseases. To define Natural evil John Hick wrote ‘Natural evil is the evil that originates independently of human actions, in disease… in earthquakes, storms, droughts, tornadoes’. The second form of evil is moral evil and this type of evil is the evil that is the result from human actions for example murder, war and cruelty. David Hume wrote in his book Is There A God? ‘Moral evil I understand as including all evil causes deliberately by humans doing what they ought not to do, and also the evil constituted by such deliberate actions or negligent failure’.

Within his paper Evil and Omnipotence J.L. Mackie talked about three things and put them into a triangle this then forms the inconsistent triad. In this triad there are three points and these are God is omnipotence, God is Omnibenevolence and that evil and suffering does exist. It is known as the inconsistent triad as one of these points must be false. So for example if God was to be omnipotence and Omnibenevolence then evil and suffering wouldn’t exist. David Hume argued that these three possibilities within the inconsistent triad are the only ones to exist, and since there is evidence within our world support the fact that there is the existence of evil within our world, we cannot have either an all-powerful God, or an all good God.

One response to the problem of evil is the Augustinian theodicy looks at evil as the privation of goodness exactly like blindness is the privation of sight. This theodicy was developed by St. Augustine (354—430 A.D.) and was a Christian response to the problem of evil. This theodicy says that sing evil is not an entity itself therefore God could not have created this evil and that God had created this universe perfect. Evil is in fact, according to this theodicy, originates from free will which every single human has, and it is said that it’s from angels and humans turning their back against God and settling for a different, lesser form of goodness. This is because we humans are contingent beings and they can be changed as they are made out of nothing and this leaves the possibility of them turning evil. God is perfect however none of his creations are perfect. This theodicy also discusses how natural evil comes into our world and this is because of our human actions which have caused a disruption within the natural order, and then this causes all of the natural evil. Augustinian theodicy argues that evil is a deprivation of good rather than a positive substance created by God has been supported by some modern thinkers. This theory also argues that evil has resulted from the abuse of human free will has also been supported by modern thinkers. It…