Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Value of Evil Forces

From guest blogger, Daniel.

The obvious question and objection to Satan and his cohorts being the cause of evil in the world, as brought up in Alvin Platinga’s paper "Satan," is why an omnipotent, all-good deity would allow evil forces to exist in the world from the onset. It is even stated that a creature who has more power, even if it is used for evil purposes, is more valuable to their world than a creature who is less powerful but uses its freedom and what power it does have for the good. The term “valuable” is an interesting one with regards to this topic. If a being has more control over the occurrences in their world, for better or for worse, then they are indeed more valuable in that respect. However, we must look at the world valuable as adding value to the whole rather than prescribing it independently based on a creature’s power and freedom first and then gauging how it contributes and uses that power second. Looking at the word valuable from this angle the argument can be made that even the smallest creature with the smallest amount of freedom and power, if used for good, is more valuable than any creature with a greater amount of power and freedom that works against God’s values.

The analogy used to explain the suffering caused to the people of the twentieth century Soviet Union to achieve a Marxist utopia can also be scaled to explain ‘natural evils.’ These maladies, natural disasters, disease etc., cannot be attributed to human action. Perhaps it is likely that God created Satan and his cohorts to do what he cannot, namely the evil acts that must sometimes be inflicted as a means to an end that is only known to God. Take the great flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah or any of the other ‘bad’ natural things that happened in the bible that humans would not know were for the greater good unless God had told us so; the cause for God’s allowing of these events could not possibly be known to humans and as such we perceive unexplained natural disasters as bad things. There is, at least some likelihood, that God created and allows these creatures to operate for reasons we are simply not able to comprehend.

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