The Problem Of Evil And Suffering.

1916 words - 8 pages

The presence of evil and suffering in the world is a problem for those Christians who want to retain God's attributes of omnipotence, omniscience and benevolence and that God created the world 'out-of-nothing' (ex nihilo).* David Hume's challenge: 'If God is able to something about evil and suffering yet chooses not to then God is malevolent. If God cannot do anything about evil and suffering then God is impotent.'The word 'theodicy' is derived from the Greek words 'theos' (God) and 'dike' (justice). Theodicy is therefore a word used in Christian theology to show that God is righteous and just despite the presence of evil in the world.Two types of Evil:* Natural Evil - Events in the world which bring about suffering due to 'natural disasters' (E.g. Earthquakes, famine).* Moral Evil - Actions which bring about unnecessary suffering in the world as a direct result of human activity (E.g. Rape, murder).* It should be noted that the concept of natural evil may be rejected if one considers that events such as earthquakes and famine have come about due to human mis-management of the environment. It is also questionable whether an earthquake causing the loss of human life is an 'evil' due to humans building homes on a geological fault line (E.g. The San Andreas fault which runs through San Francisco).* Not all suffering is bad. If I feel pain when I put my hand on something hot this is good as it may stop me permanently damaging my hand by leaving it there.Real Evil?There is a theological position in Christian theology which argues that nothing happens in the world outside the will of God. Logically this means every event in the world is willed by God (although not caused by God).* If every event in the world is willed by God then evil events are also willed by God.* Evil events are designed to lead humans to greater faith in God (E.g. Job) or better conditions in the world ('And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him' (Romans 8:28)). The most powerful example of God working good through evil is Jesus dying for the sins of the world on the cross.For a theodicy to be credible it must deal with real evil which logically must refer to those things not willed by God.The Freewill Defence.The Freewill Defence is based on the biblical teaching in Genesis 3:1-24 which states that God gave humans a choice as to whether they would obey or disobey God. Those who hold to the Freewill Defence often assume the events in Genesis 3 speak of an actual event in human history.Key features of the Freewill Defence are:* God created a perfect world (Genesis 1).* Humans were created perfect and in the image of God (Genesis 1:26f).* Humans were given freewill.* God told humans not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden.* Humans were tempted by the serpent (Devil/Satan) to disobey God and as result they ate the forbidden fruit.* When 'their eyes were opened' relationships between God, humanity and the world...

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