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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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Humans have free will

God gave us free will. God accepts evil as a necessary consequence of human free will.

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Context

God gave humans free will. While God is benevolent, omniscient and omnipotent, through the preservation of free will humans are able to choose evil over good.

The Argument

God protects human free will above all else. While they have the ability to end evil, God chooses not to because to do so would infringe on humans’ ability to choose evil over good, and in doing so would remove human free will. God wills that humans should have free will more than he wills that evil should not exist.

Counter arguments

If God permits evil to protect free will, God cannot be exclusively good. For God to be benevolent and exclusively good, nothing can be more good than God. If we can imagine an alternative divine being that did not permit evil, even if it meant sacrificing an element of free will, then this supreme being would be “more good” than God. Because we can contemplate another supreme being “more good” than God, God cannot be the “most good” divine being we can imagine. Therefore, God cannot be all good, and therefore, cannot be benevolent. This leaves a situation where either God is not exclusively good or does not exist. Either one is catastrophic for our understanding of God. Additionally, while the preservation of free will above all else adequately explains evil as a result of human behaviour, it cannot account for evils that lie beyond our control. For example, childhood cancer is not the result of human free will. It could be eradicated without infringing on our free will.[1]

Framing

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Premises

[P1] God gave humans free will. [P2] Evil is a necessary side effect of free will. [P3] Therefore, God allows evil to protect human free will. [P4] Therefore, God has ordained evil.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Not all evil is the result of human free will. [Rejecting P4] If God ordains evil then God is not all-good.

Proponents

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Further Reading

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References

  1. http://www.sofiatopia.org/equiaeon/theodicy.htm

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This page was last edited on Thursday, 13 Feb 2020 at 11:39 UTC