If God exists, then evil cannot exist. It is important to note certain similarities between W1 and W4. Not just any old reason can justify God’s allowing all of the evil and suffering we see. The phrase “problem of evil” can be used to refer to a host of different dilemmas arising over the issue of God and evil. Although sketching out mere possibilities without giving them any evidential support is typically an unsatisfactory thing to do in philosophy, it is not clear that Mackie’s unhappiness with Plantinga is completely warranted. The only difference is that, in W1, the free creatures choose to do wrong at least some of the time, and in W4, the free creatures always make morally good decisions. They claim that, since there is something morally problematic about a morally perfect God allowing all of the evil and suffering we see, there must not be a morally perfect God after all. It should be obvious that (13) conflicts with (1) through (3) above. (16) It is not possible for God and evil to co-exist. Greater goods defense. However, consider the sort of freedom enjoyed by the redeemed in heaven. Of course, it’s highly improbable, given what we know about human nature. Is W1 possible? If W3 is possible, then the complaint lodged by Flew and Mackie above that God could (and therefore should) have created a world full of creatures who always did what is right is not answered. 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. However, philosophical theodicies try to make logical sense of evil and suffering - they are solutions that make sense to … According to Plantinga, Mackie is correct in thinking that there is nothing impossible about a world in which people always freely choose to do right. So the logical problem of evil is not a logical problem at all and does not give us a good reason to reject belief in God. both moral wrong-doing such as lying, cheating, stealing, torturing, and murdering and character defects like greed, deceit, cruelty, wantonness, cowardice, and selfishness. Plantinga claims God and evil could co-exist if God had a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil. This chapter shows that the logical problem of evil is far from dead. The logical formulation utilises the logic of defeat, specifically analysing how beliefs about the nature and existence of God can be made logically compatible with beliefs or facts about the existence and nature of evil. (Plantinga 1974, pp. But you don’t even need to trouble yourself with finding an actual x. As a result, the problem of evil is often regarded as one of the greatest threats to religious belief,causing many religious writers to scramble to find a wide variety of solutions. Some scholars maintain that Plantinga has rejected the idea of an omnipotent God because he claims there are some things God cannot do—namely, logically impossible things. Evil is a problem for a believer because it challenges the nature of God so it is, therefore, a logical problem. It has not, however, been the only such response. Michael Peterson (1998, p. 1) writes. Logical Consistency and the Logical Problem of Evil, Divine Omnipotence and the Free Will Defense, Other Responses to the Logical Problem of Evil. James R. Beebe. 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. If God can make 2 + 2 = 5, then what would 2 + 3 equal? 1990. 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. (11′) If God is powerful enough to prevent all of the evil and suffering, wants to do so, and yet does not, he must not know about all of the suffering or know how to eliminate or prevent it (that is, he must not be all-knowing)—unless he has a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil. Even Mackie admits that Plantinga solved the problem of evil, if that problem is understood as one of inconsistency. There is evil in the world. If there is some divine omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent Being in the universe, would He, She, or They not have made sure there was no evil in it? The evidential version of the problem of evil (also referred to as the probabilistic or inductive version), seeks to show that the existence of evil, although logically consistent with the existence of God, counts against or lowers the probability of the truth of theism. 1985. (MSR2) claims that all natural evil followed as the result of the world’s first moral evil. But since there is a lot of evil in the world, God does not exist and this basically forms a basis for the logical problem of evil. Similarly, the people in the possible world under consideration have no choice about being good. The logical problem of evil questions how there possibly could be evil, given a particular view of God. In his best-selling book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Rabbi Harold Kushner (1981) offers the following escape route for the theist: deny the truth of (1). According to this proposal, God is not ignoring your suffering when he doesn’t act to prevent it because—as an all-knowing God—he knows about all of your suffering. If God existed, there would not be evil, but since there is evil, God (as religious believers define him) cannot exist. People in this world always perform morally good actions, but they deserve no credit for doing so. It is omnibenevolent, meaning perfectly good, meaning does no harm to anyone or anything. The worlds described will be possible if the descriptions of those worlds are logically consistent. The Logical Problem Of Evil 1535 Words | 7 Pages. The fact that God cannot do the logically impossible is not, Plantinga claims, a genuine limitation of God’s power. People have free will in this world and there is evil and suffering. The evidential problem of evil (also referred to as the probabilistic or inductive version of the problem) seeks to show that the existence of evil, although logically consistent with the existence of God, counts against or lowers the probability of the truth of theism. A pit bull attacks a two-year-old child, angrily ripping his flesh and killing him. If you can show that x is merely possible, you will have refuted (40). The Logical Problem of Evil. In fact, on the assumption that God exists, it seems to describe the actual world. Therefore, an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God does not exist. (MSR1) claims that God cannot get rid of much of the evil and suffering in the world without also getting rid of morally significant free will. He is also correct in thinking that God’s only options were not “making innocent automata and making beings who, in acting freely, would sometimes go wrong.” In other words, worlds like W1 and W2 are not the only logically possible worlds. People can freely choose to do what is right only when their actions are not causally determined. The problem of evil is unusual in objections to religion in that many apologists accept that it is a persuasive and rational criticism of theism. If there exists an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God, then no evil exists. An earthquake kills hundreds in Peru. 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. The second version of the problem of evil applied to animals, and avoidable suffering experienced by them, is one caused by some human beings, such as from animal cruelty or when they are shot or slaughtered. However, it is not clear that human freedom requires the existence of natural evils like deadly viruses and natural disasters. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. "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." These statements are logically inconsistent or contradictory. 166-167). In response to this formulation of the problem of evil, Plantinga showed that this charge of inconsistency was mistaken. (14) God is omnipotent, omniscient and perfectly good. So, the objection goes, even if Plantinga’s Free Will Defense explains why God allows moral evil, it does not explain why he allows natural evil. The final problem of evil is the emotional problem of evil. What might God’s reason be for allowing evil and suffering to occur? A world full of suffering, trials and temptations is more conducive to the process of soul-making than a world full of constant pleasure and the complete absence of pain. Yes. is the contradictory of (40). If there is nothing bad in this world, it can only be because the free creatures that inhabit this world have—by their own free will—always chosen to do the right thing. God uses evil for a greater good. None of the statements in (1) through (4) directly contradicts any other, so if the set is logically inconsistent, it must be because we can deduce a contradiction from it. 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. God was not, then, faced with a choice between making innocent automata and making beings who, in acting freely, would sometimes go wrong: there was open to him the obviously better possibility of making beings who would act freely but always go right. (ibid.). Of course, God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently He thought it worth the risk. (12′) If evil and suffering exist, then either: a) God is not omnipotent, not omniscient, or not perfectly good; or b) God has a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil. We can start by granting Plantinga the possibility of trans-world depravity. Logical problem of evil First, it can be formulated as a purely deductive argument (logical version of the argument) that attempts to show that there are certain facts about the evil in the world that are logically incompatible with the existence of God. The logical problem of evil doesn't apply to these gods, though the evidential problem of evil may still apply. 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. The desire to see a theistic response to the problem of evil go beyond merely undermining a particular atheological argument is understandable. The problem of evil is also a theoretical one, usually described and studied by religion scholars in two varieties: the logical problem and the evidential problem. Necessarily, God actualized an evolutionary perfect world. `` Logical Problem Of Evil `` By Lee Strobel 1377 Words 6 Pages Seems like each day we turn on our televisions, open up our Internet browsers or turn on our smartphones we’re confronted with some disturbing news of people doing unimaginable acts to each other, to animals, to our planet or horrible things happening to people all across the globe. It is important to note that (MSR1) directly conflicts with a common assumption about what kind of world God could have created. In this paper Horia Plugaru argues that theism is necessarily false because attributes usually ascribed to God, such as the property of being morally perfect, are incompatible with God's alleged creation of sentient beings. “Divine Omnipotence and Human Freedom.” In Anthony Flew and Alasdair MacIntyre (eds. Natural disasters, it will be said, bear no essential connection to human wrongdoing, so it is absurd to think that moral evil could somehow bring natural evil into the world. Returning to the main issue, there does not seem to be anything impossible about God causally determining people in every situation to choose what is right and to avoid what is wrong. It has no choice about the matter. (21) Parents should not inflict unwanted pain upon their children. The article clarifies the nature of the logical problem of evil and considers various theistic responses to the problem. Both worlds are populated by creatures with free will and in neither world does God causally determine people to always choose what is right and to avoid what is wrong. An omnipotent being has the power to prevent that evil from coming into existence. Death, disease, pain and even the tiresome labor involved in gleaning food from the soil came into the world as a direct result of Adam and Eve’s sin. Process theology and open theism are other positions that limit God’s omnipotence and/or omniscience (as defined in traditional theology). The assumption behind this charge is that, in so doing, God could leave human free will untouched. Mar 20, 2019 #2. The LPE in its most basic form is a sort of trilemma, where supposedly only two of the three premises can be consistently held at any one time. 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. Originally, Plantinga claimed that W3 is not a logically possible world because the description of that world is logically inconsistent. They could never be praiseworthy. Firstly, let me lay out the argument as follows: 1. But then one would be confusing once again the logical problem of evil with the probabilistic problem of evil. The problem is that he can’t do anything about it because he’s not omnipotent. Let’s first consider a down-to-earth example of a morally sufficient reason a human being might have before moving on to the case of God. A variety of arguments have been offered in response to the problem of evil, and some of them have been used in both theodicies and defenses. It leaves several of the most important questions about God and evil unanswered. In response to the logical problem of evil, notable philosopher Alvin Plantinga describes such a possible reason in his famous Free Will Defense: A world containing creatures who are significantly free (and freely perform more good than evil actions) is more valuable, all else being equal, than a world containing no free creatures at all. It is difficult to see how a God who allowed bad things to happen just for the heck of it could be worthy of reverence, faith and worship. According to Plantinga’s description of morally significant free will, it does not seem that God would be significantly free. 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). Consider W4. They will also be able to guess why a different reason was chosen in this article.) 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). Before we try to decide whether (MSR1) can justify God in allowing evil and suffering to occur, some of its key terms need to be explained. The existence of evil makes God's existence logically impossible. If W3 is possible, an important plank in Plantinga’s Free Will Defense is removed. According to Edward Madden and Peter Hare (1968, p. 6), natural evil includes. For example, someone who raises the problem of evil may be referring to the religious/emotional problem of evil, the logical problem of evil, the evidential problem of evil, moral evil, or natural evil, just to name a few. If (19) and (20) are true, then the God of orthodox theism does not exist. But improbability and impossibility, as we said above, are two different things. U. S. A. Plantinga, however, thinks that his Free Will Defense can be used to solve the logical problem of evil as it pertains to natural evil. If that freedom were to be taken away, we might very well cease to be the creatures we are. The logical problem of evil is usually cast as an argument for the logical inconsistency of a number of claims that traditional theism holds. All you need is a possible x. theistic John Hick Omnipotent Why Do Happen to Although each solution proposed was plausible, there are limitations like moral evil vs. natural evil which have their solutions as well, but make it apparent that the logical problem of evil is yet to be solved The Logical Problem of Evil. The logical problem of evil questions how there possibly could be evil, given a particular view of God. Our hypothetical person does, however, have complete freedom to decide which of the two good courses of action to take. It was, after all, Mackie himself who characterized the problem of evil as one of logical inconsistency: Here it can be shown, not that religious beliefs lack rational support, but that they are positively irrational, that several parts of the essential theological doctrine are inconsistent with one another. A being who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, who is able to prevent that evil from coming into existence, and who wants to do so, would prevent the existence of that evil. Many theists answer “Yes.” If (17) were true, (9) through (12) would have to be modified to read: (9′) If God knows about all of the evil and suffering in the world, knows how to eliminate or prevent it, is powerful enough to prevent it, and yet does not prevent it, he must not be perfectly good—unless he has a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil. Do people really need to die from heart disease and flash floods in order for us to have morally significant free will? c. God has the desire to eliminate all evil… As an attempt to rebut the logical problem of evil, it is strikingly successful. The logical version of the problem of evil (also known as the a priori version and the deductive version) is the problem of removing an alleged logical inconsistency between certain claims about God and certain claims about evil. And the very first statement now dating back over 2,000 years ago in this way. Since he did not do so, God did something blameworthy by not preventing or eliminating evil and suffering (if indeed God exists at all). The logical problem of evil has been a lynchpin for the atheistic belief of nonexistence of God. If God were all-powerful, God would be able to do something about all of the evil and suffering. Examines both the logical and probabilistic arguments against God from suffering and evil. (MSR1) claims that God allows some evils to occur that are smaller in value than a greater good to which they are intimately connected. Philosophers of religion have called the kind of reason that could morally justify God’s allowing evil and suffering a “morally sufficient reason.”. That situation doesn’t need to be actual or even realistic. God knows how to eliminate all evil. Your first reaction to this news might be one of horror. Plantinga would deny that any such person has morally significant free will. J.L. (Those familiar with Plantinga’s work will notice that this is not the same reason Plantinga offers for God’s allowing natural evil. Logical problem of evil. What about W2? Persons have morally significant free will if they are able to perform actions that are morally significant. If God were to have a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil, would it be possible for God to be omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good, and yet for there to be evil and suffering? If you could point to an actual instance of the type of situation in question, that would certainly prove that (40) is false. 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. It is difficult to see that they do. It seems, then, that the Free Will Defense might be adapted to rebut the logical problem of natural evil after all. So, if it is plausible to think that Plantinga’s Free Will Defense solves the logical problem of evil as it pertains to moral evil, the current suggestion is that it is plausible also to think that it solves the logical problem of evil as it pertains to natural evil because all of the worlds evils have their source in moral evil. According to classical theism, the fact that God cannot do any of these things is not a sign of weakness. God has the power to eliminate all evil. Also known as a reduction ad absurdum argument, whereby all three propositions cannot be true together. Is this kind of situation really possible? There was no problem of evil before the fall, nor will there be one in the eternal state. Even so, other theists have rejected the validity of the argument outright, asserting that it involves a number of logical fallacies. But it seems like we can generate a strengthened, revenge-style, logical problem of evil in the following way. But then one would be confusing once again the logical problem of evil with the probabilistic problem of evil. And yet we find that our world is filled with countless instances of evil and suffering. In fact, according to the Judeo-Christian story of Adam and Eve, it was God’s will that significantly free human beings would live in the Garden of Eden and always obey God’s commands. All that Plantinga needs to claim on behalf of (MSR1) and (MSR2) is that they are logically possible (that is, not contradictory). It has not, however, been the only such response. 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. The phrase “problem of evil” can be used to refer to a host of different dilemmas arising over the issue of God and evil. Peterson (1998, p. 39) writes. Now God can create free creatures, but he cannot cause or determine them to do only what is right. A. In W3 God causally determines people in every situation to choose what is right and to avoid what is wrong. The problem of evil has also been extended beyond human suffering, to include suffering of animals from cruelty, disease and evil. So, the existence of evil and suffering makes theists’ belief in the existence of a perfect God irrational. His solution to the logical problem of evil leaves them feeling unsatisfied and suspicious that they have been taken in by some kind of sleight of hand. The term “God” is used with a wide variety of differentmeanings. (2) God is omniscient (that is, all-knowing). If God has a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil and suffering, theists claim, it will probably look something like Mrs. Jones’. Furthermore, if God were morally perfect, then surely God would want to do something about it. Suppose a gossipy neighbor were to tell you that Mrs. Jones just allowed someone to inflict unwanted pain upon her child. Unlike Plantinga’s response to the logical problem of evil, which is merely a “defense” (that is, a negative attempt to undermine a certain atheological argument without offering a positive account of why God allows evil and suffering), Hick’s response is a “theodicy” (that is, a more comprehensive attempt to account for why God is justified in allowing evil and suffering). Originating with Greek philosopher Epicurus, the logical argument from evil is as follows: This argument is of the form modus tollens, and is logically valid: If its premises are true, the conclusion follows of necessity. For if God brings it about or causes it to be the case in any manner whatsoever that the person either does A or does not do A, then that person is not really free. That is, that person would not be able to choose any bad option even if they wanted to. As long as there is nothing contradictory about their conjunction, it will be possible (even if unlikely) for them all to be true at the same time. The logical problem of evil states that if God really existed he would be an all powerful and morally perfect being who would not allow any evil or immorality to exist in the world. If, however, it is not possible that God has a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil, then it seems that (13) would be true: God is either not omnipotent, not omniscient, or not perfectly good. Statement (14) is simply the conjunction of (1) through (3) and expresses the central belief of classical theism. The survey included the question “If you could ask God only one question and you knew he would give you an answer, what would you ask?” The most common response, offered by 17% of those who could think of a question was “Why is there pain and suffering in the world?” (Strobel 2000, p. 29). Let’s figure out which of these worlds are possible. 1955. I. (15) A set of statements is logically consistent if and only if it is possible for all of them to be true at the same time. According to his Free Will Defense, God could not eliminate the possibility of moral evil without at the same time eliminating some greater good. 1 The problem of evil. Is (18) correct? One could, for example, raise the philosophical problem of evil either with a more aggressive goal (as in the case of the logical form) or a more modest goal (the evidential form). (5) A set of statements is logically inconsistent if and only if: (a) that set includes a direct contradiction of the form “p & not-p”; or (b) a direct contradiction can be deduced from that set. Notice that (15) does not say that consistent statements must actually be true at the same time. Some theists suggest that perhaps God has a good reason for allowing the evil and suffering that he does. (a) God does not create persons with morally significant free will; (b) God causally determines people in every situation to choose what is right and to avoid what is wrong; and, Flew, Anthony. The most that can be concluded is that either God does not exist or God has a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil. Although the term “libertarianism” isn’t exactly a household name, the view it expresses is commonly taken to be the average person’s view of free will. This aspect of the problem of evil comes in two broad varieties: the logical problem and the evidential problem. Horrible things of all kinds happen in our world—and that has been the story since the dawn of civilization. (19) God is doing something morally inappropriate or blameworthy in allowing evil to occur. Plantinga can’t put all the blame for pain and suffering on human beings. If you can conceive of a state of affairs without there being anything contradictory about what you’re imagining, then that state of affairs must be possible. 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. The ‘Incompatibility’ or ‘Logical’ versions of the Problem of Evil claim that evil’s existence is logically incompatible with God’s existence: believing in God and evil is like believing in a five-sided square, a contradiction. First, I think it directly contradicts the Christian faith to claim that God intentionally put evil into the world. 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