the logical problem of evil

(a) God creates persons with morally significant free will; (b) God does not causally determine people in every situation to choose what is right and to avoid what is wrong; and. The logical formulation utilises the logic of defeat, specifically analysing how beliefs about the nature and existence of God can be made logically compatible with beliefs or facts about the existence and nature of evil. Because a contradiction can be deduced from statements (1) through (4) and because all theists believe (1) through (4), atheologians claim that theists have logically inconsistent beliefs. Omnipotence, according to Plantinga, is the power to do anything that is logically possible. We would not be human in that world. None of these challenges undermines the basic point established above that Plantinga’s Free Will Defense successfully rebuts the logical problem of evil. Logical problem of evil. He would urge those uncomfortable with the idea of limitations on God’s power to think carefully about the absurd implications of a God who can do the logically impossible. For if God brings it about or causes it to be the case in any manner whatsoever that the person either does A or does not do A, then that person is not really free. That certainly runs contrary to central doctrines of theism. This aspect of the problem of evil comes in two broad varieties: the logical problem and the evidential problem. There exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse. Eleonore Stump (1985) offers another response to the problem of evil that brings a range of distinctively Christian theological commitments to bear on the issue. In his best-selling book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Rabbi Harold Kushner (1981) offers the following escape route for the theist: deny the truth of (1). by an ancient philosopher by the name of Epicurus. We said above that a set of statements is logically inconsistent if and only if that set includes a direct contradiction or a direct contradiction can be deduced from that set. God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly good. Therefore, an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God does not exist. In other words, it appears that W3 isn’t impossible after all. And for that they must be free. If it is possible that God has a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil and suffering to occur, then the logical problem of evil fails to prove the non-existence of God. Plantinga says, “No.” Parts (a) and (b) of the description of W3 are, he claims, logically inconsistent. And the very first statement now dating back over 2,000 years ago in this way. (MSR2) represents a common Jewish and Christian response to the challenge posed by natural evil. In the description of the sixth day of creation God says to Adam and Eve, I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. Agree x 1; List; Mar 20, 2019. Another argument goes: God exists. Is W3 possible? (20) If God is doing something morally inappropriate or blameworthy, then God is not perfectly good. To begin with, (MSR1) presupposes the view of free will known as “libertarianism”: (22) Libertarianism=df the view that a person is free with respect to a given action if and only if that person is both free to perform that action and free to refrain from performing that action; in other words, that person is not determined to perform or refrain from that action by any prior causal forces. One argument, known as the free will defense, claims that evil is caused not by God but by human beings, who must be allowed to choose evil if they are to have free will. (16) It is not possible for God and evil to co-exist. `` Logical Problem Of Evil `` By Lee Strobel 1377 Words 6 Pages Seems like each day we turn on our televisions, open up our Internet browsers or turn on our smartphones we’re confronted with some disturbing news of people doing unimaginable acts to each other, to animals, to our planet or horrible things happening to people all across the globe. Summary This chapter contains sections titled: The Logical Argument and the Free Will Defense Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God Evil and Philosophical Failure Future Directions Works cited The Logical Problem of Evil - A Companion to Philosophy of Religion - Wiley Online Library Is this kind of situation really possible? Better Never to Have Created: A New Logical Problem of Evil (2020) Horia George Plugaru Introduction. Something is logically possible just when it can be conceived without contradiction. And yet part of what it means for creatures to have morally significant free will is that they can do morally bad things whenever they want to. If #1 is true then either #2 or #5 is true, but not both. According to Edward Madden and Peter Hare (1968, p. 6), natural evil includes. (19) God is doing something morally inappropriate or blameworthy in allowing evil to occur. The article clarifies the nature of the logical problem of evil and considers various theistic responses to the problem. According to classical theism, believers in heaven will somehow be changed so that they will no longer commit any sins. Plantinga claims that when we think through what robust free will really amounts to, we can see that atheologians are (unbeknownst to themselves) asking God to do the logically impossible. Some scholars maintain that Plantinga has rejected the idea of an omnipotent God because he claims there are some things God cannot do—namely, logically impossible things. The sufferings of millions of the lower animals throughout almost endless time’ are apparently irreconcilable with the existence of a Creator of ‘unbounded’ goodness. Now one might say that that seems pretty unlikely. Theists who want to rebut the logical problem of evil need to find a way to show that (1) through (4)—perhaps despite initial appearances—are consistent after all. And yet we find that our world is filled with countless instances of evil and suffering. 191-193) own suggestions about who is responsible for natural evil.] Plantinga would deny that any such person has morally significant free will. Hick (1977, pp. A. For example, someone who raises the problem of evil may be referring to the religious/emotional problem of evil, the logical problem of evil, the evidential problem of evil, moral evil, or natural evil, just to name a few. If God is going to causally determine people in every situation to choose what is right and to avoid what is wrong in W3, there is no way that he could allow them to be free in a morally significant sense. (Gen. 1:29-30, NIV). In the second half of the twentieth century, atheologians (that is, persons who try to prove the non-existence of God) commonly claimed that the problem of evil was a problem of logical inconsistency. An omniscient being knows every way in which evils can come into existence, and knows every way in which those evils could be prevented. Rather, they are subcategories of the philosophical and existential problems of evil. But the conundrum evoked by our reflection on this question appears to be more than just a paradox: we seem to stare contradiction right in the face. The attempt to justify God's permitting evil to occur in the world. God uses evil for a greater good. However, atheologians claim that statement ( 13) can also be derived from (1) through (3). The phrase “problem of evil” can be used to refer to a host of different dilemmas arising over the issue of God and evil. Hick rejects the traditional view of the Fall, which pictures humans as being created in a finitely perfect and finished state from which they disastrously fell away. It leaves several of the most important questions about God and evil unanswered. For example, someone who raises the problem of evil may be referring to the religious/emotional problem of evil, the logical problem of evil, the evidential problem of evil, moral evil, or natural evil, just to name a few. God knows how to eliminate all evil. (36) God is not able to contradict himself. The problem is that he can’t do anything about it because he’s not omnipotent. According to Plantinga’s description of morally significant free will, it does not seem that God would be significantly free. (14) God is omnipotent, omniscient and perfectly good. Necessarily, God can actualize an evolutionary perfect world. How would you go about finding a logically possible x? (2) God is omniscient (that is, all-knowing). The survey included the question “If you could ask God only one question and you knew he would give you an answer, what would you ask?” The most common response, offered by 17% of those who could think of a question was “Why is there pain and suffering in the world?” (Strobel 2000, p. 29). Since (MSR1) and (MSR2) together seem to show contra the claims of the logical problem of evil how it is possible for God and (moral and natural) evil to co-exist, it seems that the Free Will Defense successfully defeats the logical problem of evil. As an all-around response to the problem of evil, the Free Will Defense does not offer us much in the way of explanation. God is omnipotent, omniscient and wholly good. 6,791 +4,732 Hick rejects the traditional view of the Fall, which pictures humans as being created in a finitely perfect and finished state from which they disastrously fell away. The Problem of Evil & Suffering is as old as religion itself, but solutions have been proposed. An omnibenevolent being would want to prevent all evils. How would my free will be compromised if tomorrow God completely eliminated cancer from the face of the Earth? If there is any blame that needs to go around, it may be that some of it should go to Mackie and other atheologians for claiming that the problem of evil was a problem of inconsistency. Evil is a problem, for the theist, in that a contradiction is involved in the fact of evil on the one hand and belief in the omnipotence and omniscience of God on the other. (Those familiar with Plantinga’s work will notice that this is not the same reason Plantinga offers for God’s allowing natural evil. To make the conflict more clear, we can combine (1), (2) and (3) into the following single statement. The logical problem of evil (including providence) involves mystery, requiring that Christians maintain doctrinal tensions in biblical proportion. The term “God” is used with a wide variety of differentmeanings. Can they help you today? How might a theist go about demonstrating that (16) is false? Reflection on the problem of evil has given rise to a philosophical argument known as the “argument from evil.” The argument comes in two forms: Deductive versions aim to prove conclusively, beyond a shadow of any reasonable doubt—that God does not exist. There is evil in the world. Plantinga’s Free Will Defense, then, cannot serve as a morally sufficient reason for God’s allowing disease and natural disasters. For example, J. L. Mackie one of the most prominent atheist philosophers of the mid-twentieth-century and a key exponent of the logical problem of evil has this to say about Plantinga’s Free Will Defense: Since this defense is formally [that is, logically] possible, and its principle involves no real abandonment of our ordinary view of the opposition between good and evil, we can concede that the problem of evil does not, after all, show that the central doctrines of theism are logically inconsistent with one another. A world full of suffering, trials and temptations is more conducive to the process of soul-making than a world full of constant pleasure and the complete absence of pain. This is a contradiction, so #1 is not true. He also maintains that part of what makes us the creatures we are is that we possess morally significant freedom. Originating with Greek philosopher Epicurus, the logical argument from evil is as follows: If an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent god exists, then evil does not. The responses of both Hick and Stump are intended to cover not only the logical problem of evil but also any other formulation of the problem as well. As it stands, however, some important challenges to the Free Will Defense remain unanswered. Some might think that (MSR2) is simply too far-fetched to be taken seriously. If there is nothing bad in this world, it can only be because the free creatures that inhabit this world have—by their own free will—always chosen to do the right thing. Current discussions of the problem focus on what is called “the probabilistic problem of evil” or “the evidential problem of evil.” According to this formulation of the problem, the evil and suffering (or, in some cases, the amounts, kinds and distributions of evil and suffering) that we find in the world count as evidence against the existence of God (or make it improbable that God exists). Plantinga (1974, p. 190) writes. Yes! As a perfectly good God, he also feels your pain. No amount of moral or natural evil, of course, can guarantee that a man will [place his faith in God]…. Now let’s consider the philosophically more important world W3. If Adam and Eve had followed God’s plan, then W4 would have been the actual world. Philosophers claim that you only need to use your imagination. He seems constitutionally incapable of choosing (or even wanting) to do what is wrong. They reasoned that there must be more to the problem of evil than what is captured in the logical formulation of the problem. The Logical Problem of Evil. (37) God is not able to make significantly free creatures and to causally determine that they will always choose what is right and avoid what is wrong. If we interpret the dichotomy here in premise 1 as a metaphysical (broadly logical) disjunction, rather than a strictly logical one, then the injection of a *conceivable* third option (namely that having free entities is better than not and that the nature of free will is such as to require the possibility of evil) doesn't demonstrate that the (broadly) logical problem *isn't* a problem. Whats the answer? As an example, a critic of Plantinga's idea of "a mighty nonhuman spirit" causing natural evils may concede that the existence of such a being is not … If W3 is possible, an important plank in Plantinga’s Free Will Defense is removed. So, when they do perform right actions, they should not be praised. Responding to this formulation of the problem requires much more than simply describing a logically possible scenario in which God and evil co-exist. In fact, according to the Judeo-Christian story of Adam and Eve, it was God’s will that significantly free human beings would live in the Garden of Eden and always obey God’s commands. Granting Plantinga’s assumption that human beings are genuinely free creatures, the first thing to notice about W2 is that you and I would not exist in such a world. Most people are tempted to answer “No” when first exposed to this description, but think carefully about it. This is precisely what atheologians claim to be able to do. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other…. However, we should keep in mind that all parties admit that Plantinga’s Free Will Defense successfully rebuts the logical problem of evil as it was formulated by atheists during the mid-twentieth-century. If God lacks any one of these qualities—omniscience, omnipotence, or omnibenevolence—then the logical problem of evil can be resolved. If … But if it is possible for God to possess morally significant freedom and for him to be unable to do wrong, then W3 once again appears to be possible after all. This chapter shows that the logical problem of evil is far from dead. Theodicy. The two claims are logical opposites. Peterson (1998, p. 39) writes. However, consider the sort of freedom enjoyed by the redeemed in heaven. Mass murderers and serial killers typically have reasons for why they commit horrible crimes, but they do not have good reasons. I suggest, then, that it is an ethically reasonable judgment… that human goodness slowly built up through personal histories of moral effort has a value in the eyes of the Creator which justifies even the long travail of the soul-making process. People in this world always perform morally good actions, but they deserve no credit for doing so. In this paper I presented a new logical problem of evil based on Benatar's axiological asymmetry, one that I called the argument from the harm of coming into existence (AHCE). According to the logical problem of evil, the continued existence of evil since the beginning of time is a prelude to the fact that God is non-existent (Inwagen 188). 1990. Millions starve and die in North Korea as famine ravages the land. Instead, Hick claims that huma… In W3 God causally determines people in every situation to choose what is right and to avoid what is wrong. What about W2? This question raises what philosophers call “the problem of evil.”. (11′) If God is powerful enough to prevent all of the evil and suffering, wants to do so, and yet does not, he must not know about all of the suffering or know how to eliminate or prevent it (that is, he must not be all-knowing)—unless he has a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil. 1985. [3] Most philosophers today reject this argument. The final problem of evil is the emotional problem of evil. Also known as a reduction ad absurdum argument, whereby all three propositions cannot be true together. They claim that, since there is something morally problematic about a morally perfect God allowing all of the evil and suffering we see, there must not be a morally perfect God after all. Our logical analysis shows that the logical problem of evil (alleged contradiction) can been sufficiently (successfully) addressed. If there is some divine omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent Being in the universe, would He, She, or They not have made sure there was no evil in it? A higher moral duty—namely, the duty of protecting the long-term health of her child—trumps the lesser duty expressed by (21). Other solutions to the problem include John Hick’s (1977) soul-making theodicy. If you can conceive of a state of affairs without there being anything contradictory about what you’re imagining, then that state of affairs must be possible. A pancreatic cancer patient suffers prolonged, excruciating pain and dies. According to the logical problem of evil, it is logically impossible for God and evil to co-exist. An implicit assumption behind this part of the debate over the logical problem of evil is the following: (18) It is not morally permissible for God to allow evil and suffering to occur unless he has a morally sufficient reason for doing so. Horrible things of all kinds happen in our world—and that has been the story since the dawn of civilization. Clearly, his failure to avail himself of this possibility is inconsistent with his being both omnipotent and perfectly good. (7) If God is omniscient, he would know about all of the evil and suffering in the world and would know how to eliminate or prevent it. Consistency only requires that it be possible for all of the statements to be true (even if that possibility is never actualized). Many theists answer “Yes.” If (17) were true, (9) through (12) would have to be modified to read: (9′) If God knows about all of the evil and suffering in the world, knows how to eliminate or prevent it, is powerful enough to prevent it, and yet does not prevent it, he must not be perfectly good—unless he has a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil. (35) God is not able to make a mistake of any kind. is the contradictory of (40). On theone hand, there are metaphysical interpretations of the term: God isa prime mover, or a first cause, or a necessary being that has itsnecessity of itself, or the ground of being, or a being w… The potential of the various theodicies is inadequate for their attempt to account for evil in term of good, which are a misinterpretation of evil to some good and the misrepresentation of God’s nature through the endorsement of good to God. The logical problem of evil has been a lynchpin for the atheistic belief of nonexistence of God. (11) If God is powerful enough to prevent all of the evil and suffering, wants to do so, and yet does not, he must not know about all of the suffering or know how to eliminate or prevent it—that is, he must not be all-knowing. It does not require the joint of a consistent set of statements to be plausible. They will be yours for food. Each of these things seems to be absolutely, positively impossible. The challenged posed by this apparent conflict has come to be known as the problem of evil. The theist understands that evil, pain, and suffering are contrary to the opposite “good” states – The “way it should be.” Can he make contradictory statements true? These tend to fall, however, into two main groups. Think about what it would be like to live in W3. It may be exceedingly unlikely or improbable that a certain set of statements should all be true at the same time. Can God create a round square? It has no choice about the matter. Many atheologians believe that God could have created a world that was populated with free creatures and yet did not contain any evil or suffering. [Statements (6) through (12) purport to show how this is done.] Necessarily, God actualized an evolutionary perfect world. It is omnibenevolent, meaning perfectly good, meaning does no harm to anyone or anything. For if he does so, then they are not significantly free after all; they do not do what is right freely. Denying the truth of either (1), (2), (3) or ( 4) is certainly one way for the theist to escape from the logical problem of evil, but it would not be a very palatable option to many theists. All that Plantinga needs to claim on behalf of (MSR1) and (MSR2) is that they are logically possible (that is, not contradictory). (a) God does not create persons with morally significant free will; (b) God causally determines people in every situation to choose what is right and to avoid what is wrong; and, Flew, Anthony. The assumption behind this charge is that, in so doing, God could leave human free will untouched. But improbability and impossibility, as we said above, are two different things. In the contemporary literature on the problem of evil, it is common to distinguish between the logical or deductive form of the problem of evil and the evidential or inductive form. Since the logical problem of evil claims that it is logically impossible for God and evil to co-exist, all that Plantinga (or any other theist) needs to do to combat this claim is to describe a possible situation in which God and evil co-exist. Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. It is omnibenevolent, meaning perfectly good, meaning does no harm to anyone or anything. Do people really need to die from heart disease and flash floods in order for us to have morally significant free will? Imagine a possible world where God creates creatures with a very limited kind of freedom. It is believed that God is all-powerful and all-loving, yet evil exists. He might say, “Of course he hasn’t done that. The claim. People deserve the blame for the bad things that happen—not God. In response to this charge, Plantinga maintains that there are some worlds God cannot create. Logical problem of evil First, it can be formulated as a purely deductive argument (logical version of the argument) that attempts to show that there are certain facts about the evil in the world that are logically incompatible with the existence of God. They will somehow no longer be capable of doing wrong. Your first reaction to this news might be one of horror. If God existed, there would not be evil, but since there is evil, God (as religious believers define him) cannot exist. Death, disease, pain and even the tiresome labor involved in gleaning food from the soil came into the world as a direct result of Adam and Eve’s sin. The claim that God allows some evil to exist because it is necessary to the achievement of a greater good. The evidential problem of evil (also referred to as the probabilistic or inductive version of the problem) seeks to show that the existence of evil, although logically consistent with the existence of God, counts against or lowers the probability of the truth of theism.

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