Monday, September 30, 2013

On the Necessity of Evil

From guest blogger, Isaac.

In class we have been discussing the problem of evil and how if God is a perfectly good and all powerful being, how could he let evil exist. I think this problem can be solved by showing that evil necessarily must exist if a perfectly good being exists. My argument starts with these premises.

1.      Good exists
2.      God is perfectly good and is not anything other than good
3.      Anything that exists necessarily must have something from which it can be distinguished
4.      Evil is anything that is not: good and/or something lacking moral value
5.      There is at least one thing that exists that would be considered good in some way and that thing is not God

If (1) and (3) are true, then there is necessarily something from which good can be distinguished. If (4) is true, then evil is what we distinguish from good and it also necessarily exists. Now, if we take (2) to be true, then there is necessarily something from which God can be distinguished from. God in this sense is distinguishable from anything that is not perfectly good or more precisely, anything that contains some evil or has no moral value. In order for God to create something other than himself, he must then necessarily create something that contains at least some evil in it or something that has no moral value. If God has created a world in which (5) is true, then there is necessarily at least one thing that exists that has some evil in it. So, if God is a morally perfect, perfectly good being, He must necessarily create evil in the world.

This is a pretty "good" argument but there are many problems that are left untouched. The first is that this argument doesn't tackle the problem of evil on different magnitudes. Even if one is convinced that this argument is correct, it doesn't explain problems of why God allows there to be genocide, murder, torture, etc. One could also say that we could have all been created to be one notch under the goodness of God and if God is omnipotent he could still of made us this way.

There are also ways in which people could argue against this argument. The first being that (1) could be rejected. This however seems to give up morals in general. The argument doesn't depend on any one conception of the good; any conception will do. Another argument could be that God is not something outside of our existence and he is fact all the good that exists in the world. This criticism would depend on rejecting (5) and would bring up a problem of God's omnipotence because it seems the criticism is suggesting something other than god is creating all the evil, plus god cannot create something other than himself.


Can't wait to hear what you guys think. If you could help me with expanding my argument to cover other problems with evil and also some better criticisms of the argument I would really appreciate it.

1 comment:

Annalee Galston said...

I like your argument because it is bold. It seems as though you are making the assumption that God exists or that if he does exist be possesses all three omniproperties. I would suggest that you make these assumptions explicit in your paper if you have not already done so. Otherwise it would
just provide material for objection,