The Problem of Evil
November 17, 2014
One of the most prominent arguments against the existence of God today would be the problem of evil. Not only is it a problem for Christians, who want to provide a defense for their faith, but it is also a problem for Christians, who being faced with suffering and pain on account of evil, and without knowing the thoughts or intentions of God, wish to reconcile the two ideas together. In spite of Mackie’s Logical Argument of Evil proving, some would say, that it is not possible for both God and evil to exist, I believe that it is in fact possible that they exist simultaneously. My reason for believing so stems from ...view middle of the document...
Mackie’s Logical Problem of Evil says:
1. God exists.
2. If God exists, then God is omnipotent.
3. If something is omnipotent, it can do anything.
4. If God exists, then God can do anything.
5. If God exists, then God is wholly good.
6. If something is wholly good, it always eliminates as much evil as it can.
7. If God exists, then God eliminates as much evil as God can.
8. If God exists, then God eliminates all evil.
9. If God exists, then there is no evil.
10. BUT, evil exists.
11. Therefore God does not exist.
Now as theists this doesn’t sit well with us because if we were to refute it and say that God does exist then it would be to the exclusion of evil, which would make us look ignoramus, because we know, based on the experiences we have had, that in fact evil does exist. So our only other possibility would be to say God doesn’t exist or to diminish the deity of God, either God can’t stop evil or he doesn’t desire to stop evil, thus proving His inexistence.
Though the argument above may prove intimidating because of its logical consistency and the ensnaring nature of its wording, there are some ambiguous or incorrectly defined words that I would like to shed some light on. The first would be omnipotence, which is described as “can do anything” in the Logical Argument. I do not oppose the definition completely, although I think “power to do all things” is better, rather I would like to add some helpful information to the idea of omnipotence. In the Logical Argument if I, as a theist, were to say that God and evil do exist the result would be that then God would not be able to stop evil, meaning it would be an impossibility for God to stop evil from happening. With the idea of impossibility C.S. Lewis in his book “The Problem of Pain”, sets forth the idea that with impossibility comes a “suppressed clause” which utilizes the word, unless. So for example, “I can’t tie my shoe, unless it were first untied.” The task is impossible because the “unless” hasn’t occurred. Now there are also such things called “absolute impossibilities” which Lewis describes as something that, “is intrinsically impossible for it carries within itself impossibility, so for all conditions, in all worlds, and for all agents (including God).” This implies a statement such as “Evil can’t be done away with unless nature was different than it is.” To this the response would be “I don’t think nature could be different than it is” proving that this is an absolute impossibility, because it carries impossibility within itself. “It is no more possible for God than for the weakest of His creatures to carry out both of two mutually exclusive alternatives; not because His power meets an obstacle, but because nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God.” Therefore, omnipotence is not just “can do anything”; it is an idea that incorporates restraint, and those restraints we will revisit with the introduction of the Free-Will Defense.
The second term I...