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The Problem of Evil


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If God created everything, including morality, and morality is objective in nature, then God can simply define anything he does as good.

 

The problem of course is arguing that morality is objective. It is subjective by it's very nature, and the only way that God wins is by a might-makes-right approach.

 

This leads to the Euthyphro problem. There are two options:

  1. God does things because they are good.
  2. Things are good because God does them.

 

Which is it? If 2 is true, God could do anything we consider to be morally objectionable -- kill thousands of people, smite the Pope, and so on -- and those actions would be good. If 1 is true, there are morals above God.

 

Our instinctive response is that God killing innocent people is bad, so 1 is true, but then there are absolute morals apart from God, and (at least Biblically) he has occasionally broken them.

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But if he is the creator of all, that should include him thought.

 

example

God created Satan, or rather the angel of light. He gave Satan the idea to become "evil" and disobey god. i say he gave the idea because how could one think of anything without the "creator of all" creating it first?

 

sorry cant remember the term for creator of all.. omni something or another.

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Did God give humanity free will, or are humans constrained to do only things that God lets them?

That's not necessarily mutually exclusive.. you can have free will to act within a constricted set of rules.

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I'd prefer to call that sort of limited free will "inexpensive will." It's not completely free.

Well, nothing is completely free, though.. there are always constraints. If you walk out of a third story building's window, you will fall to the ground. That's a constraint. You can choose to do it.. other than locked windows, nothing is stopping you.

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Exactly. Whereas if God decreed that I shall not be allowed to even try, I never would choose to do it.

 

But you must consider that if God knows everything could you even CHOOSE to think of a thought? in other words, you would not know that you could choose a different set of thoughts other than the ones you are allowed to think.

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Is that where part of the problem lies, in the interpretation of the word "almighty" to mean "omnipotent"? Does almighty mean "unlimited power" or simply "most powerful"?

 

I can handle a saw one-handed. And it's within my abilities to obtain a very sharp saw. However, I don't want to cut my hand off. So I won't. And I can't just arbitrarily choose to change what I do and do not want to do.

 

So... is it 'within my power' to cut my hand off, or not?

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There is no evil in my book, there is only balance. Balance exhibited by every single law or theory in nature and observed by man.

If there is a god then there is a anti god << balance

There is God and there is Satan < balance

you have Zeus and you have Hades < balance

you have Loki... er Hel, and you have Odin < balance

you have night and you have day <balance

you have sky and ground,

you have solid and gas

liquid and plasma

living and dead

Entropy and enthalpy

Balance is the #1 thing that i have ever observed in the world.

it only makes sense to me that if there is Evil then There would be good. but neither are real because they only exist as placeholders if the need arises that they must be in order for balance to be achieved

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Why does this balance have to exist? And why are liquid and plasma balances? Or solid and gas?

 

Basically, what prevents an omnipotent being from removing the evil? Is the omnipotent being bound by the rules of balance? Because that's not very omnipotent to me.

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Cap'n, that reminds me of a claim skeptics often answer creationists: It's like the case of the pond in a hole in the road. The pond wonders in awe -- "How is it that I fit *perfectly* to the hole I'm in?? I must be designed!".

 

Of course, if the pond would not have fit that hole in the ground, it would be asking a different question.

 

 

Your question makes no sense in that aspect. Let's say god is not prevented from removing the evil, it just chose not to. We ask 'why' because that's how things are. If evil would not have existed, or if balance was tilted, we'd be asking why there is no balance.

 

The question seems to be tautological, no?

 

~moo

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Why does this balance have to exist? And why are liquid and plasma balances? Or solid and gas?

 

Basically, what prevents an omnipotent being from removing the evil? Is the omnipotent being bound by the rules of balance? Because that's not very omnipotent to me.

 

to me, a "believer" you could say of balance, i could see your question as a balance to my response.

 

"why does balance exist?" i do not know, however i notice that in all equations

0 tends to be the answer the equation wants to get to.

the universe acts upon a balance of entropy and enthalpy. in thermodynamics you have the relationship between cold and hot. you have the relationship between pressures.

"Basically, what prevents an omnipotent being from removing the evil? Is the omnipotent being bound by the rules of balance? Because that's not very omnipotent to me"

I dont have an answer for you, but i do have a question. why does there have to be an omnipotent being outside of a balance? why does there have to be an omnipotent being, being what you think it should be?

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The point is that an omnibenevolent being, by definition, should choose to stop evil. It's part of being benevolent. If I'm a benevolent leader, I act to prevent harm to those who I lead.

 

However, nothing in the definition of omnibenevolent, omnipotent or omniscient implies balance.

 

Now, it's perfectly true that if we lived in a world with no evil, we might ask different questions. But they wouldn't be "if God is omnibenevolent, why doesn't he allow evil?" We'd probably have a different conception of God, and we'd ask different questions.


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I dont have an answer for you, but i do have a question. why does there have to be an omnipotent being outside of a balance? why does there have to be an omnipotent being, being what you think it should be?

 

Well, if there isn't one, we certainly don't have the problem of evil anymore, do we?

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i disagree with most if not all of it, but i dont really want to get into the discussion of benevolent and omnipotent because it just leads to circular logic and undefined fuzzy answers. and answers that leave loop holes.

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i disagree with most if not all of it, but i dont really want to get into the discussion of benevolent and omnipotent because it just leads to circular logic and undefined fuzzy answers. and answers that leave loop holes.

 

Yes, but we're talking about the problem of evil, which is the four premises I describe in my first post. The third and fourth are straight from Job, so they're hardly disputable unless you want to get into Biblical interpretation.

 

Now, the first premise makes sense because of the definition of omnibenevolence. Or do you disagree with it? Or the second premise, which defines God?

 

Which? Both? Why?

 

Answering the main question of this thread by saying "I don't want to answer" isn't really helpful.

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(whee, the first post in this forum)

 

So, this is a problem that's been discussed over and over and over and over again, but perhaps SFN has something unique to say about it.

 

Here's the problem. Suppose we create a set of propositions:

 

  1. If God is omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient, good people will never suffer disproportionately.
  2. God is omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient.
  3. Job is good. (I refer here to the book of Job in the Bible; see Job 1:8 for evidence for this proposition.)
  4. Job suffers disproportionately. (See Job 3 and the rest of the book of Job.)

 

So, we have four propositions. What happens if we follow some to their conclusions?

 

  • Job does not suffer. (Follows from 1, 2 and 3.)
  • Job is not good. (Follows from 1, 2 and 4.)

 

Clearly, these contradict our initial propositions. Now, the initial set of propositions is valid -- that is, if the premises are true, they do indeed imply the conclusions I stated. But of course the premises might not be true. Perhaps God isn't omnipotent, Job isn't good, or good people can suffer under an omnibenevolent deity.

 

Which proposition is wrong? And why do you think so?

 

i believe this is what your referring to when you say "my first premise"

were even going to go with your job example,

If god is omnipotent and benevolent then why did he cause job to suffer so much. well one explanation is that he cause the "disproportionate" suffering to allow the millions of other people to be good, aka make up for jobs suffering.

or our understanding of God is incomplete and inaccurate and therefore we cannot make the assumption that job was either good or was suffering disproportionately.

 

i however do not agree with any of these, due to the fact i don't believe there to be an omnianything being out there. i do believe that there is balance. it may not seem like you have balance, because maybe you are on the low end making up for someones high end.

You can also make the argument that if god is; is benevolent and omnipotent, then why did he create evil? why did he create Satan, why did he give Satan the thought to be evil. why did he create the tree in the garden. especially since he would have known how it would have turned out.

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If god is omnipotent and benevolent then why did he cause job to suffer so much. well one explanation is that he cause the "disproportionate" suffering to allow the millions of other people to be good, aka make up for jobs suffering.

Why can't an omni-everything God allow millions of others to be good and Job to not suffer?

 

or our understanding of God is incomplete and inaccurate and therefore we cannot make the assumption that job was either good or was suffering disproportionately.

God himself says Job is "blameless." Check the links I gave. Read the rest of the book to see Job suffering disproportionately -- he's blameless, yet he suffers enough to curse the day he was born. (But not God, mind you.)

 

You can also make the argument that if god is; is benevolent and omnipotent, then why did he create evil? why did he create Satan, why did he give Satan the thought to be evil. why did he create the tree in the garden. especially since he would have known how it would have turned out.

 

All good questions, although the Satan of the Old Testament is "the accuser," more of a prosecutor-like figure than Mr. Evil.

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