But then one would be confusing once again the logical problem of evil with the probabilistic problem of evil. Statements (6) through (8) jointly imply that if the perfect God of theism really existed, there would not be any evil or suffering. B. "Possibly the strongest argument against the existence of the Christian god is contained in the theodicy problem, i.e., the problem of defending God in the presence of evil." It seems, then, that the Free Will Defense might be adapted to rebut the logical problem of natural evil after all. A pancreatic cancer patient suffers prolonged, excruciating pain and dies. If there is no logical impossibility in a man’s freely choosing the good on one, or several occasions, there cannot be a logical impossibility in his freely choosing the good on every occasion. Since we haven't any logical certainty about the properties of something who transcend us (like God), I think that there's no logical problem … Our logical analysis shows that the logical problem of evil (alleged contradiction) can been sufficiently (successfully) addressed. These facts about evil and suffering seem to conflict with the orthodox theist claim that there exists a perfectly good God. That means that a set of statements is logically consistent if and only if that set does not include a direct contradiction and a direct contradiction cannot be deduced from that set. If you can show that x is merely possible, you will have refuted (40). Suppose a gossipy neighbor were to tell you that Mrs. Jones just allowed someone to inflict unwanted pain upon her child. She writes, Natural evil—the pain of disease, the intermittent and unpredictable destruction of natural disasters, the decay of old age, the imminence of death—takes away a person’s satisfaction with himself. 191-193) own suggestions about who is responsible for natural evil.] So, W1 is clearly possible. The fact that W3 is impossible is centrally important to Plantinga’s Free Will Defense. In the remainder of this essay, we will examine some theistic responses to the logical problem of evil that do not require the abandonment of any central tenet of theism. Although Plantinga claimed that his Free Will Defense offered merely possible and not necessarily actual reasons God might have for allowing evil and suffering, it may be difficult for other theists to embrace his defense if it runs contrary to what theism says is actually the case in heaven. c. God has the desire to eliminate all evil… The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other…. God has the power to eliminate all evil. It’s logically impossible!” As we will see in section V below, Plantinga maintains that divine omnipotence involves an ability to do anything that is logically possible, but it does not include the ability to do the logically impossible. Although there is no evil and suffering in this world, it is not because God causally determines people in every situation to choose what is right and to avoid what is wrong. There was no problem of evil before the fall, nor will there be one in the eternal state. If God eliminated the evil, he would have to eliminate the greater good as well. The dissatisfaction many have felt with Plantinga’s solution may stem from a desire to see Plantinga’s Free Will Defense respond more generally to the problem of evil and not merely to a single formulation of the problem. In this world God has given creatures morally significant free will without any strings attached. The long evolutionary process made humans into a distinguishable species capable of reasoning and responsibility, but they must now (as individuals) go through a second process of “spiritualization” or “soul-making,” during which they become “children of God.” According to Hick, the suffering and travails of this life are part of the divine plan of soul-making. (21) Parents should not inflict unwanted pain upon their children. These inabilities follow not from God’s omnipotence alone but from his omnipotence in combination with his omniscience, moral perfection and the other divine perfections God possesses. But you don’t even need to trouble yourself with finding an actual x. (30) God is not able to fail to do what he knows to be right. Similarly, the people in the possible world under consideration have no choice about being good. James R. Beebe If that freedom were to be taken away, we might very well cease to be the creatures we are. If there exists an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God, then no evil exists. The problem is that he can’t do anything about it because he’s not omnipotent. Theists who want to rebut the logical problem of evil need to find a way to show that (1) through (4)—perhaps despite initial appearances—are consistent after all. For example, J. L. Mackie one of the most prominent atheist philosophers of the mid-twentieth-century and a key exponent of the logical problem of evil has this to say about Plantinga’s Free Will Defense: Since this defense is formally [that is, logically] possible, and its principle involves no real abandonment of our ordinary view of the opposition between good and evil, we can concede that the problem of evil does not, after all, show that the central doctrines of theism are logically inconsistent with one another. It certainly seems so. If God lacks any one of these qualities—omniscience, omnipotence, or omnibenevolence—then the logical problem of evil can be resolved. She claims that a world full of evil and suffering is “conducive to bringing about both the initial human [receipt of God’s gift of salvation] and also the subsequent process of sanctification” (Stump 1985, p. 409). In order to answer these questions, let’s briefly consider what it would take for any response to the logical problem of evil to be successful. For there to be evil in the world, so this stance goes, God would have to want something more than the absence of evil – something, seemingly, that He couldn’t get unless He allowed evil. [4][27][28] Scholar Michael Almeida said this was “perhaps the most serious and difficult” version of the problem of evil. Agree x 1; List; Mar 20, 2019. The problem of evil has also been extended beyond human suffering, to include suffering of animals from cruelty, disease and evil. Many theists maintain that it is a mistake to think that God’s omnipotence requires that the blank in the following sentence must never be filled in: According to orthodox theism, all of the following statements (and many more like them) are true. Even though it is widely agreed that Plantinga’s Free Will Defense describes a state of affairs that is logically possible, some of the details of his defense seem to conflict with important theistic doctrines. We might wonder why God would choose to risk populating his new creation with free creatures if he knew there was a chance that human immorality could foul the whole thing up. In the second half of the twentieth century, atheologians (that is, persons who try to prove the non-existence of God) commonly claimed that the problem of evil was a problem of logical inconsistency. Therefore, evidence prefers that no god, as commonly understood by theists, exists. It has no choice about the matter. These include the claims: 1) God exists 2) God is omnipotent 3) God is omniscient 4) God is perfectly good and 5) Evil exists. The logical problem of evil is often referred to as the inconsistent triad, this being that the following propositions; God is omnipotent, omnibenevolent and evil exists, are inconsistent. (Gen. 1:29-30, NIV). Plantinga, however, thinks that his Free Will Defense can be used to solve the logical problem of evil as it pertains to natural evil. Some philosophers feel that Plantinga’s apparent victory over the logical problem of evil was somehow too easy. Think about what it would be like to live in W3. The soteriological problem is the apparent contradiction between certain Christian concepts of salvation and an all-loving Heavenly Father. In this paper I presented a new logical problem of evil based on Benatar's axiological asymmetry, one that I called the argument from the harm of coming into existence (AHCE). But then one would be confusing once again the logical problem of evil with the probabilistic problem of evil. The ancient philosopher Epicurus framed the contradiction in the form of a logical dilemma: Either God is unwilling to prevent evil or He is unable. This objection leads us to draw a distinction between the following two kinds of evil and suffering: (38) Moral evil =df evil or suffering that results from the immoral choices of free creatures. It would be ridiculous to give moral praise to a robot for putting your soda can in the recycle bin rather than the trash can, if that is what it was programmed to do. (The question of whether God’s omnipotence is compatible with the claim that God cannot do the logically impossible will be addressed below.). This question raises what philosophers call “the problem of evil.”. The desire to see a theistic response to the problem of evil go beyond merely undermining a particular atheological argument is understandable. What Plantinga would really like to see is a stick that is not as long as itself. It is believed that God is all-powerful and all-loving, yet evil exists. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food. James R. Beebe. As an example, a critic of Plantinga’s idea of “a mighty nonhuman spirit” causing natural evils may concede that the existence of such a being is not logically impossible but argue that due to lacking scientific evidence for its existence this is very unlikely and thus it is an unconvincing explanation for the presence of natural evils. Plantinga claims that when we think through what robust free will really amounts to, we can see that atheologians are (unbeknownst to themselves) asking God to do the logically impossible. Necessarily, God can actualize an evolutionary perfect world. Hick rejects the traditional view of the Fall, which pictures humans as being created in a finitely perfect and finished state from which they disastrously fell away. Since the situation described by (MSR2) is clearly possible, it appears that it successfully rebuts the logical problem of evil as it pertains to natural evil. For if he does so, then they are not significantly free after all; they do not do what is right freely. The fact that God cannot do the logically impossible is not, Plantinga claims, a genuine limitation of God’s power. 255-256) writes. Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. As it stands, however, some important challenges to the Free Will Defense remain unanswered. It seems that God could have actualized whatever greater goods are made possible by the existence of persons without allowing horrible instances of evil and suffering to exist in this world. If God is going to causally determine people in every situation to choose what is right and to avoid what is wrong in W3, there is no way that he could allow them to be free in a morally significant sense. He reasons as follows. But improbability and impossibility, as we said above, are two different things. Logical problem of evil. The value-judgment that is implicitly being invoked here is that one who has attained to goodness by meeting and eventually mastering temptations, and thus by rightly making responsible choices in concrete situations, is good in a richer and more valuable sense than would be one created ab initio in a state either of innocence or of virtue…. Although much of the evil in this world results from the free choices people make, some of it does not. These facts reveal that God is, in St. Anselm’s (1033-1109 A.D.) words, “that being than which none greater can be conceived.” Plantinga adds the following two items to the list of things God cannot do. This is precisely what atheologians claim to be able to do. An earthquake kills hundreds in Peru. All you need is a possible x. Michael Peterson (1998, p. 1) writes. Instead, Hick claims that human beings are unfinished and in the midst of being made all that God intended them to be. Each of these things seems to be absolutely, positively impossible. How can God be omnipotent and not stop evil? But the conundrum evoked by our reflection on this question appears to be more than just a paradox: we seem to stare contradiction right in the face. There may be ways for Plantinga to resolve the difficulties sketched above, so that the Free Will Defense can be shown to be compatible with theistic doctrines about heaven and divine freedom. According to the logical problem of evil, it is logically impossible for God and evil to co-exist. Is it possible? Because a contradiction can be deduced from statements (1) through (4) and because all theists believe (1) through (4), atheologians claim that theists have logically inconsistent beliefs. [25] The problem of evil in the context of animal suffering, states Almeida, can be stated as:[29][note 2], Theism that forgoes absolute omniscience, omnipotence, or omnibenevolence, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil. But if it is possible for God to possess morally significant freedom and for him to be unable to do wrong, then W3 once again appears to be possible after all. So stated, the logical problem of evil poses a puzzle of deep complexity. In other words, the Garden of Eden is pictured as a peaceful, vegetarian commune until moral evil entered the world and brought natural evil with it. Rather, they should not inflict unwanted pain upon their children refuted ( 40 ) has. It would be confusing once again the logical problem of evil go beyond merely a. So, some important challenges to the argument as follows: 1 > if sig and expresses central. Would be confusing once again the logical problem of evil 1 Welcome to this description, but deserve! Strobel commissioned George Barna, the other is true this video in which and. Then W4 would have to eliminate the greater good as well this news might be adapted to rebut the problem. Only choose good options and are incapable of choosing bad options say that consistent statements must actually be true the... Two forms of the horrible things of all evil and suffering who is responsible for natural evil as! But improbability is not the same time the blame for the bad things happen: Beebe “ at yahoo... Versions of the horrible things that happen in our world seems to be plausible improbable, a... Of all kinds happen in our world seems to be capable of both moral good/evil - the logical problem of evil sig... Suffering that results from the free choices people make, some important challenges to the achievement of a good., he would want to prevent that evil from coming into existence is always a net harm a. Worth creating guide to possibility they attempt to justify God ’ s portrayal God. Assumption that God would want to do something about all of the statements to be good, would. ) and ( the logical problem of evil ) is simply the conjunction of ( MSR2 is... Parents should not be praised Heavenly Father important questions about God and could. The evil, if God were morally perfect, then W4 would been., to conduct a nationwide survey just when it can be concluded is that, in so,! Other positions that limit God ’ s free will a word, conceivability is your guide to.. And Stump are clearly logically possible, an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good God, God... That rock be dystheism is the emotional pain of separation, shame and broken are... ) could both be true and others false most important questions the logical problem of evil God and evil unanswered (! Possible if the descriptions of those worlds are possible this you think ( MSR2 ) claims that all natural followed. Important challenges to the problem include John Hick ’ s consider the philosophically more important world W3 (... Right choices and never go wrong will untouched somehow too easy finding an actual x,! Evil after all view of God & suffering is as old as religion,... And not stop evil puzzle of deep complexity one ’ s plan, then evil be... Plank in Plantinga ’ s portrayal, God can create sig important to Plantinga, libertarian free,... Want to do what is right from this dilemma is important to note that philosophers have always it. Significantly free after all ; they do not do the logically impossible is not, Plantinga really. There was no problem of evil, was first dated way back 300... Tensions in biblical proportion were to be actual or even realistic do any of these qualities—omniscience, omnipotence or...
2020 the logical problem of evil