Presence Of Evil Shows God Doesnt Exist Philosophy

Add: 28-10-2015, 15:03   /   Views: 229

Evil can be defined as anything that is painful, malicious or disastrous.

There is much evil in the world, which can be split into either natural or moral evil.

Natural evil refers to suffering caused by natural disasters whereas moral evil refers to suffering which has been caused by human selfishness. [] I believe that the existence of these evils in the world disproves the existence of God.

These evils would not exist if there was a perfectly good, all loving, omnipotent, omniscient God as He would want to prevent all evils and would be able to do so.

In this essay I am going to look at the logical problem of evil, looking at the arguments put forward by Epicurus, Hume and Aquinas.

I will also look at the evidential problem of evil, in particular the arguments put forward by William L.

Rowe and Paul Draper which support the claim that the existence of evil disproves the existence of God.

I will also look at Augustines and Irenaues' theodicies against these arguments.

Then finally I will look at problems with these theodicies and why I believe the existence of evil as well as the existence of God is incompatible.

The logical problem of evil put forward by Epicurus states that evil could not exist if god was all loving and omnipotent.

Thus, because there is evil in the world God cannot exist.

He argues that an all loving god would not tolerate the suffering of his creatures therefore he would have created a world in which this suffering does not exist in the first place, or would step in to prevent it. [] Similarly if god was omnipotent he would have been able to create a universe without evil and suffering to begin with.

Therefore, the existence of evil in the world supports the claim that either God does not exist, or that he is either not omnipotent or not all loving.

Humes similarly argued that the existence of evil in the world meant that God would need to be either not omnipotent or not all-loving.

As it is not possible for God to be either of these things Humes concluded that God does not exist.

Aquinas saw evil as the absence of good, or failure to achieve potential.

In his book Summa Theologica, Aquinas states that 'the name of god means that He is infinite goodness.

If, therefore God existed, there would be no evil discoverable; but there is evil in the world.

Therefore God does not exist.' [] This argument is similar to that of Epicurus and Humes, stating that the existence of evil in the world contradicts the idea of an all loving, omniscient, omnipotent god.

Thus again supporting my claim that the existence of God is incompatible with the existence of evil in the world.

There is also the evidential problem of evil which contends known facts about evil as evidence against the existence of God. [] William L.

Rowe argued that 'there exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse'. [] He then goes on to argue that such a God would want to prevent such suffering and would be able to do so and concludes that because this kind of suffering exists then God cannot.

The existence of gratuitous evil in the world can similarly be used to disprove the existence of God according to Paul Draper.

Evil which is without apparent reason or justification would not exist if God existed as He would not allow it.

Therefore because there are cases where gratuitous evil can be said to exist God does not exist.

Theodicies have been put forward in an attempt to justify the existence of God alongside the presence of evil in the world.

Augustine argued that God's creation was 'faultless and perfect' and that evil 'came from within the world'. [] As an explanation for the existence of evil in the world Augustine blamed the 'fall' of man from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).

Disobeying God in the Garden of Eden is seen by Augustine as a moral evil leading to the evil within the world.

The cause of this is free will and the allowance of man to have control over their actions and freedom of choice, including the ability to choose evil instead of good.

Thus Augustine argues that God is still all loving, omniscient and omnipotent therefore he allows us to have free will and it is our fault we choose to do moral evil.

To take away our free will would be unloving as it would take away our ability to choose good and to love God.

Natural evil, on the other hand, can be seen as a consequence of the 'disharmony of nature brought about by the fall'. [] 

The presence of evil does not necessarily disprove the existence of God according to Irenaeus.

In his theodicy, Irenaeus attempts to justify the existence of evil as a sign of Gods goodness.

He claims that evil and suffering in the world are useful as a means of knowledge, vital for character-building and provide a predictable environment.

It is claimed by Irenaeus that without the presence of evil these attributes would be unobtainable.

Therefore an all loving, omniscient, omnipotent God has allowed for evil to exist as a means for humans to learn and ultimately reach perfection.

Although providing a possible explanation of the existence of evil in a world created by an all loving, omniscient and omnipotent God, Augustine's theodicy does have some problems.

Firstly, the theory of natural selection could be seen to contradict the idea that the Garden of Eden existed in 'blissful ignorance' as it relies upon the selfishness of creatures as vital to their survival. [] Also, God must still be responsible for the evil that has come from 'within the world' as he created it.

An omniscient God would have been able to foresee the evil which would come about and have been able to prevent it.

Augustine also claimed that we are all being punished for Eves actions in the Garden of Eden which contradicts the bible itself - 'should the children's teeth be set on edge because the Fathers have eaten sour grapes?' (Jeremiah 31:27-34).

The existence of hell also shows that God must have foreseen the need for punishment therefore showing that God cannot be all loving and that mankind cannot be held fully responsible for the fall of man.

Similarly, there are problems with Irenaeus's theodicy.

The main issue with this theodicy is whether suffering and evil is really necessary in order to achieve the desired goals.

Surely an all loving, omnipotent, omniscient God would be able to devise a way in which humans could learn and develop without the need for evil and suffering.

It is also not in the nature of an all loving God to allow certain people to starve to death in order to provide the knowledge to others to feed them.

I therefore do not believe that these theodocies provide a conclusive defence for the existence of evil alongside the existence of god in the world.

In conclusion, throughout this essay I have attempted to prove why the existence of evil within the world shows us that God does not exist.

By looking at the arguments of famous philosophers I have found evidence to support this claim.

I have also looked at theodicies which disprove my argument and found possible errors with these arguments.

I believe that the existence of an all loving, omniscient, omnipotent God is simply incompatible with the existence of evil.

In order for evil to exist God cannot be all of these things, if God is not all of these things then he simply isn't God.

Therefore God cannot exist.

Although the existence of God and evil may not necessarily be logically and evidentially compatible, I believe that God is necessary for many people across the world to understand why evil and suffering occurs and to have someone to blame.

Thus regardless of what evidence is available I don't think it would ever be completely possible to disprove the existence of God in its entirety as believers would still come up with situations in which an all loving, omniscient, omnipotent God would allow for the existence of evil.

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