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What is theodicy? Show more Show less

Theodicy is the name given to reconciling the existence of God as a divine, benevolent, omnipotent being with the existence of evil. The existence of evil appears to contradict the existence of God. If an all-powerful, all-good being existed, then why would they permit evil in the world? The existence of evil must confirm that God is either not omnipotent, not benevolent, or non-existent. Theodicy attempts to answer the basic question of why God permits evil.

Theodicy concludes God has ordained evil Show more Show less

God is the divine creator of all earthly phenomena. Evil exists on earth. Therefore, God has ordained evil and allows it to exist.
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God needs evil for an authentic relationship with humanity

God needs evil to offer an alternative to his love. Without a viable alternative, humans cannot choose God's love.

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Context

Without evil, humans would have no choice but to love God. Humans need a choice between good and bad to choose "good". Humans need to choose "good "to have an authentic relationship with God. Without evil, there would be no choice and no authentic relationship.

The Argument

God needs evil to establish an authentic relationship with humanity. If there was no evil on earth, humans would have no choice between doing good and doing evil deeds. They would have no choice but to love God and their omnipotence and benevolence.[1] By ordaining evil, God can establish an authentic relationship with humanity. Humans choose "good" in the face of evil. Therefore, when they choose to love God, they are doing so because they want to, not because there are no other options.

Counter arguments

But most people who choose good (or God) do not do so through choice. There are factors like economic background (economic determinism) that impact their ability to choose to behave in a “good” way. Someone might do bad things (like steal) out of necessity, not choice. People don’t “choose” their relationship with God. It is largely dependent on their upbringing, their parent’s religious choices, the influence of their peers, and the people they meet and interact with. Finally, if God ordained evil to establish an authentic relationship with humanity, how can we explain animal suffering and evil acts committed against animals?[2] How can it explain suffering and evils committed against those that have not had the opportunity to choose to resist temptation? Children who die from diseases before they are able to choose to love God or choose to resist evil have had no opportunity to build an authentic relationship with God.

Framing

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Premises

[P1] To have an authentic relationship with humankind, humans must choose to love God. [P2] To make a choice, there must be multiple options. [P3] Evil provides an alternative option to loving God. [P4] Therefore, God needs evil to provide humans with a choice.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Most people who have a relationship with God did not choose God in any real sense. [Rejecting P3] Some people do evil things out of necessity, not choice.

Proponents

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Further Reading

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References

  1. https://www.compellingtruth.org/what-is-theodicy.html
  2. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/evil/#IndIndVerEviArgEvi

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This page was last edited on Thursday, 13 Feb 2020 at 11:59 UTC