Evil Problem “If it turns out that there is a God, I don’t think that he’s evil..the worst that you can say about him is that basically he’s an underachiever.” -Woody Allen The Problem of Evil From the viewpoint of theodicy, the problem of evil lies in its origin: Does evil come from God? In spite of God? Using theodicy to define evil is basically an attempt to affirm Gods omnipotence and his/her love for humans, with the existence of evil and without contradiction. Depending on your religious background, the weight each of these options carry may vary greatly. A theologian may argue that evil is not a theoretical problem at all, as for it to be a problem, one must question Gods power, character, and/or existence. To them, even asking the question is a sin. A theologian may also say that evil is a practical truth, as it requires from us the courage to forgive and to heal, or they might also hold the belief that to obtain moral perfection, we must face challenges and overcome them.
Other appeals often made by theologians to explain evil might be: a sin is punished with suffering; having free will enables us to make choices, either for good or for evil; and finally that Satan is the cause of all evil. From the viewpoint of atheism, it is a question of the existence of God. If God is all-powerful and all-knowing, then evil must not exist apart from God. For it to do so under those criterion would be impossible. This leads one to question the true power of God, and the true good of God. If God is all good, and has the power to stop evil and does not, then God must have a slightly nasty disposition, and therefore is not all good.
If God wishes to stop evil and cannot, then God is not all-powerful: he/she is limited. Evil and the Original Sin The doctrine of original sin declares that when Adam ate from the tree of knowledge, he became a moral being by knowing the difference between good and evil, and having the free will to choose between these two dichotomies. This Judeo-Christian story set in the Garden of Eden is said to have great consequences on mankind. Since, according to the bible, Adam is the original father (human being), the sin of Adam is inherited by all beings born to this earthly domain, as we are claimed by the Judeo-Christian culture to be descendants of Adam. When sin entered the world through the sin of Adam, all of mankind became (spiritually) enslaved to sin: we are held in spiritual bondage to sin and the devil.
To explain natural evil from the view of the original sin: we (mankind) are dependent on the proper function of our body, and if something goes wrong, we are merely the victim, not the cause of the disturbance to our bodies. We are only human. We cannot control nature, as that is Gods domain. Therefore, there is some external responsibility with evil To explain moral evil from the view of the original sin: we have free will, and may choose to use that will for good or for evil. Moral evil serves the purpose of challenging our faith and forcing us to face our fears. This is ultimately how one gets to heaven. We are given the freedom to make immoral or moral decisions, and having that choice allows us to choose the road we wish to walk upon.
Therefore, there is all internal responsibility with sin. Evil and Soul Building The soul building theodicy carries a strong hope for the future with its ultimate destiny for mankind being a close relationship with God in an eternal life. Soul building ignores neither the arbitrary nor the excessive evil in our world. This theodicy suggests that God desires personal relationships with men and women; that God desires fellowship with humanity. It does not necessarily allude to God desiring relationships with perfect people; rather a relationship with mature people.
According to the soul building theodicy, this maturity is reached by withstanding the difficult (evil?) circumstances put before you. In the soul building theodicy, there is an element of future hope. The reason for this element of hope is that in the end, God will be able to use all that happens in this world, good or evil, as part of God’s good purpose for this good world. Evil and Atheism Perhaps the strongest atheistic argument concerns the existence of evil, which is hard to reconcile with the notion that the world was created by an omnipotent, all-loving God. The reason why the problem of evil is not a problem for the atheist depends on historical and individual perspective. Some scholars acknowledge that theists have the burden of explaining how a being that is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good can allow evil to exist and reasons why a perfect being does or might allow horrible evils, for example the Holocaust, to exist in our world.
The concept of God, under these circumstances, is observed as a weak, passive, non-participant, which is contrary to the written documentation that theologians profess. Therefore the atheist viewpoint is validated. Another argument is that the existence of evil is compatible with divine moral purity or holiness. Some scholars believe that God is the author of everything that exists, and evil is one of the things that exists, and so God is thereby the author of evil. If someone is an “author of evil,” they are thereby implicated in the evil and thus cannot be morally pure or holy.
If that is true, then God cannot be morally pure nor holy. Atheists also do not assume a moral good exists, nor that a moral bad exists. To do so would assume that there is a super-being who demands and judges these moral rules, namely God. My View I don’t believe that Christians worship a God they know to be evil. Many worship as they have been taught to worship, never seriously exploring the moral implications of the biblical God. Other believers are capable of incredible feats of rationalization to protect themselves from uncomfortable challenges to the teachings of their religious education.
Others might worship out of fear and denial. I can’t help wondering whether belief in and worship of a God for this reason isn’t a moral failure. I would find it difficult to spend eternity worshipping a God who is forever torturing most of the human race, including many people who no doubt worshipped that very same God. Also, to declare that humans have been given both free will and that they could ever be inherently perfect is a logical absurdity. Perfection’ implies that when given more than one choice, only a single option possibly can be the right, or perfect choice. Since only one unique option could be ‘perfect,’ then the selection of any other option would be a self-contradiction for the person who is by nature perfect.