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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 cannot escape the nonexistence of God Show more Show less

Theodicy never manages to fully reconcile the existence of God as an omnipotent, benevolent and omniscient being with the existence of evil.
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Evil and God are incompatible

The existence of evil is fundamentally incompatible with the existence of God.

(1 of 1 Argument)

Context

Benevolence, omnipotence, omniscience, and existence are all predicates of God. If God is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-good, then God must have the ability to eliminate evil. The fact evil exists demonstrates that God cannot exist as an omnipotent, benevolent force.

The Argument

Evil and suffering are visible across the mortal world. To deny their existence would be to deny the reality of life on earth. If God exists, they would be both all-powerful as an omnipotent power and all-good as a holy, benevolent power. Therefore, God would have both the power and the desire to end evil. The fact that evil exists demonstrates that God either does not have the power or the inclination to eliminate it. This means an all-powerful, all-good God cannot exist.[1]

Counter arguments

This interpretation of evil and the existence of God assumes that the accuser is an infallible moral observer. To assert that evil exists and that this evil is in direct contrast to God’s benevolence is to say: “I am morally qualified to assess God is flawed”. Nobody is in a position to make this assertion. Nobody is morally objective or omniscient to be able to categorically point to an incident of “evil” and say with infallibility that the act is objectively and morally evil.

Framing

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Premises

[P1] God is by definition omnipotent, omniscient and morally perfect. [P2] If God is omnipotent, God can eliminate evil. [P3] If God is omniscient, God knows evil exists. [P4] If God is morally perfect, God wants evil to be eliminated. [P5] Evil exists. [P6] Therefore, God is either non-existent, not omnipotent, not omniscient or not morally perfect. [P7] Therefore, God does not exist.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P5] To conclude with certainty that evil exists would require someone with infallible moral judgment to confirm its existence. Nobody is qualified to make that assertion.

Proponents

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Further Reading

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References

  1. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/evil/#SomImpDis
This page was last edited on Thursday, 13 Feb 2020 at 12:06 UTC