The following is a debate between myself and atheists on the “problem of evil.” What you will see is that they ultimately return to the same reasoning again and again, because they have an anthropocentric view of the universe that presupposes God’s purposes. So, those who impugn God over evil by asking questions have already, without any evidence, answered their own questions. Essentially, their presupposition is that God is evil by default.
I believe the following is of much use to Christians who are bothered by the “problem.” It is important to remember that the Scriptures do not reveal to us anything that would substantiate such a dilemma. Because of this, we may have humble faith and confidence in our God.
The “problem of evil” is not a problem, it is a false construct. No one says the nature of the creator is reflection by its creation. Case in point, an architect is not anymore of a house than God is evil because what he created has evil in it.
The problem of evil is that an all-loving and all-powerful God would not allow evil to exist. Because evil exists, God is either, not all-loving, not all-powerful, not both, or not real. The person who believes in an all-loving and all-powerful God must either reconcile this differences by explaining something not considered or reject the notion of an all-powerful and all-loving God.
Thanks for quoting Epicurus, but his premises are wrong. I reiterate, find a created thing where I can accurately construct the nature of its creator from it, and then I will lend any credibility at all to the conclusion that the existence of evil impugns the Creator.
Further, if I make a cake (i.e. creation) and one of its ingredients are gross such as baking soda (i.e. evil) and a bunch of other ingredients are mixed in and thrown in an oven at 350 degrees (life’s trials), what is the finished result? A properly baked cake. What does it reflect about the baker? Not that the creator is baking soda, but the baker wanted to please someone with the cake or some other motivation.
Materialists are presupposing that the existence of evil as an ingredient in creation has any tie whatsoever to the nature of the Creator, which is completely irrational and demands a God’s-eye view where we don’t know what purposes much of this evil ultimately serves.
If an architect built a house that he knew would lead to the untimely death of children even though the architect could have easily made the house safe for children, is that architect a moral person?
There is a bad premise in this argument. You made the mistake of impugning the motives of the architect, which already presupposes the answer of the question.
More accurately, the question should be asked this way: an architect designs a house and the house collapses and kills a family, was the architect moral?
Maybe he was and it was the family demanded a cutting-edge design that was not properly tested. Or, maybe the family and architect were innocent, and the building contractors cheaped out on something. Maybe, a mistake was made in manufacturing that made a defective beam and it collapsed.
Wow, all of the sudden that cut and dry example became a lot more complicated.
So again, the burden of proof is on those that would say something created reflects upon its creator. Until this can be demonstrated at all, your whole point is useless.The fact you have to resort to “there was an evil architect, he purposely made a real crappy house, the house killed people, was the architect good?” shows that you don’t even understand this point and that you already formed your conclusion before you asked the question.
It’s not that evil makes God evil. It’s that a being who supposedly loves us and can do anything allows evil to exist when it serves no purpose that an all-powerful being could not do itself.
Knowing whether it fulfills a purpose or not requires knowledge of the future, which is ridiculous.
Even then, let’s assume that there is a level of necessary evil that is needed to teach us things. That still would not explain gratuitous evil. If a fire happens in the middle of the forest and a faun burns to death in agony without any human being aware of its demise, what purpose does it serve?
Again, you would require perfect knowledge of the future, which you do not have, so you cannot substantiate any claim that evil is without purpose.
So, I cannot answer your question, but I can say with some confidence that without all those dinosaurs dying out, which was not exactly great for them, it worked out for the better.
Lastly, even if you can demonstrate that a certain event made life for humankind worse in some way, the fallacy in your reasoning would be that this even matters. If man is the reason all of existence exists, then it would matter, but if the universe isn’t anthropocentric then I don’t see how human evil impugns the Creator. The universe is so large, it appears fairly obvious we are not the center of it.
On an aside, two of your claims cannot be held mutually exclusive: that God is anthrocentric towards humans and killed off the dinosaurs, and that God is not anthrocentric towards humans and does not care about us in the vast reaches of the universe.
Likewise, the second claim does not hold for an all-loving God, who loves everything equally.
On both counts your paradigm is inapplicable. First, you presume that something in the creation is part of the creator’s ultimate purpose. If I bake a cake to feed someone, my purpose is to feed the person. I wouldn’t be able to extrapolate such a purpose by looking at the ingredients in the recipe. So, if creation has all of this stuff, I cannot make presumptions about the nature and purposes of the Creator based upon components in existence itself. It’s illogical.
Further, Christians believe God made creation to glorify His name and to express His love. On both counts, He is the decision maker of how He goes about glorifying Himself and showing a love that is His, and not ours.
However, I don’t even need to defend that point, because you still have not demonstrated how the creation reflects the nature of the Creator.
The problem exists because God is supposedly all knowing and all powerful, whereas an architect is not … So if God is willing to prevent evil but unable, then he is not all powerful. If he’s able but not willing, then he is malevolent. If he’s able and willing, then why do we still have evil (the “problem”)? If he’s neither able nor willing them why call him God? This dates back to Epicurous.
Again, with the quoting of Epicurus.
First, it needs to be demonstrated if there is an example of anything created that, in of itself, accurately reflects upon the nature and motives of its creator. I am still waiting on this. Without this, Epicurus’ whole assertion rests on an incorrect premise, which is why to me, his dilemma is a non-dilemma. It’s conjured up in his imagination.
Further, to address God’s omniscience and omnipotence, you are correct. God is different than the architect that unlike an architect, God perfectly knows the future. So, unlike the architect, God would know the good and bad parts of His creation that will happen in the future.
Herein lies your problem. You need to demonstrate that the bad things that occur don’t serve a purpose. Because no one has perfect knowledge of the future, so you nor anyone else can ever demonstrate this. So, you assert on a basis of your own unproved faith that there is not a purpose that God seeks to establish through it, which in His higher knowledge is greater with the existence of evil than without.
The burden of proof is on you, and not on me, on this one. I am not arguing philosophically God is good, because then I would need to demonstrate it logically. However, you are arguing that God is bad, but your arguments are illogical and lie upon faulty premises. For you to prove anything, you need to confront my objections put forward here.
If the architect could have made the house so that it wouldn’t collapse, the architect would be immoral.
True, if the greatest possible purpose achieved is for the house not to collapse. So, what you need to demonstrate, which you cannot, is the existence of needless suffering. Mankind really does not have humility, because if we did, we wouldn’t even be posing Epicurus’ questions for the last 2,000 years. To know if suffering is indeed needless, that requires 1. perfect knowledge of the future and 2. perfect knowledge of what the best possible purpose would be to begin with.
The problem of evil presumes an anthropocentric view of the universe (i.e. if something is bad for people, then it means God in His weakness, ignorance, or malevolence failed to meet the purposes behind existence.) This is a terribly false premise, and if one is really an atheist, would reject it outright.