and possible responses
(Defenses of God's existence in light of the existence of evil)
1. God doesn't create evil, humans create it.
a. Still God permits it to happen even though he/she could stop it.
b. This pertains to moral evil (wrong things that humans do), it ignores "natural evil"--the bad things that happen in the natural world (e.g., suffering of deer while freezing or starving to death).
i. Will need a different response to this sort of evil (since humans did not create this)
ii. Is there any possible response to natural evil?
2. There is also a lot of good in the world, and perhaps more good than evil. Where did all this good come from?
a. Still, from an all perfect God one would expect an all perfect world (Leibniz' the best of all possible worlds)--not a world like ours which is so mixed with good and evil (e.g., good people suffering misfortune and cruel people thriving).
3. Evil is necessary as a contrast with good.
a. But only the idea of evil is necessary for a contrast with good. No actual evil is required.
b. Even if some actual evil must exist for good to exist, a little bit of evil would suffice as a contrast and not the huge amounts of evil in our world.
4. Evil is necessary for a greater good ("higher harmony"); good invariably comes out of evil and requires it. For example, free will is a great good but it requires the possibility of evil.
a. Does this show that God is not omnipotent?
b. Wouldn't an all powerful God be able to produce good without using or permitting evil as a means?
c. Doesn't evil sometimes come out of evil?
5. God's ways are incomprehensible ("inscrutable"). God has reasons that we can't understand.
a. Does this grant that the believer holds what seem to be contradictory beliefs? We can’t understand why the four propositions stating the problem of evil are not contradictory as they appear to be.
6. No right to question God's ways; Doing so is presumptuous
a. But we do have a right to decide what to believe.
b. And if we are trying to decide whether to believe in an all perfect God, then the existence of evil has to be confronted as a serious question and the problem of evil may not be brushed aside as “presumptuous.”
See study questions at the end of notes on “Hick’s Theodicy”