According to the theists the problem of evil refers to the difficulty in linking notion of evil to the notion of God and God’s existence. Theists believe in the existence of God, who is the creator of the entire universe and the source of all good. The problem of evil, however, constantly arises due to evil’s unexplained nature and the fact that evil strongly acts in the modern world. The problem mentioned above concentrates mostly on the following questions: Is God the source of evil or is it Man and Satan who are responsible for all the negative actions in the today’s world? In the defense of God, Augustine, who is one of the most prominent theologians, argues that God was deprived of his goodness through Man’s and Satan’s free will. The purpose of this paper is to critically examine the problem of evil and demonstrate that the defense by Augustine is insufficient in resolving this problem essays-service.com/.
The Problem of Evil
The problem of evil is a hypothesis created to denounce the idea of the existence of God. It also seeks to explore the imperfections of the world by assessing the existence of evil in the world. Moreover, the justification for the existence of evil in the world serves also as a foundation for the atheists’ arguments about the inexistence of God. It should also be mentioned that theists believe in the existence of God who is Omnipresent, Omniscient and Omnipotent; literally, He is the foundation of all the good things in the world as He is good Himself. From the above insight, therefore, one more idea develops – the existence of God and evil in the world are complete contradictions. The last statement, in its turn, casts doubts on the existence of God.
Famous philosopher John Wittgensteinian, however, argues that God Himself detests evil and is eager to punish those who engage in evil in His own created world. For the reason of punishment, God has His Judgement Day where all the evil doers will be judged with regard to their actual deeds, and according to the theists, God will rebuke all evil doers with a complete and thorough Judgement.
An outstanding Greek philosopher Epicurus logically exposed the problem of evil. His argument relies on the fact that if Omnipresent, Omnibenevolent and Omnipotent God actually exists, then it follows that evil does not exist in the world. He, however, demonstrates that there is much evil on the earth. Basing on the premise mentioned above, therefore, Omnibenevolent, Omnipresent and Omnipresent God does not exist. One more conclusion that might be drawn from the two premises above is that Epicurus believes that God truly exists and this God is Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omnibenevolent. Above two propositions being suggested, therefore, it follows that the Omnibenevolent God would fight to prevent as much as possible of evil in the world. Likewise, if God was Omniscient, then he would easily realize all the forms and manners in which evil manifests itself and would have an understanding of how to prevent the evil. Furthermore, God would have the authority to prevent all the evil in the world also because of His Omnipotent nature. God, therefore, is a being who knows how evil comes by; He knows the ways to prevent it and has the actual power to do it. One more logical conclusion, hence, can be made that since the existence of evil in the world defeats all the above premises, then Omnipresent, Omnibenevolent and Omnipotent God does not exist. As a consequence, it gives rise to the problem of evil. The theists, however, respond to the above argument by stating that God does exist and He only allows evil to prevail because of his common good. One of the ways in which evil exists for the common good is through the free will of Man as will be discussed later in the defense of Free Will concept created by Augustine.
In addition, some philosophers who are convinced theists attempt to solve the above problem of evil by denoting that it appears likely for God and evil to exist at the same time. American analytic philosopher Alvin Plantinga, for example, solves the above problem of evil by stating that there exists a powerful non-human being who is responsible for all the evil in the world. The being is what is referred to as Satan. Plantinga also concedes the fact that as God is Omnipotent he has the power to prevent all the evil.
The Bible was written to create morality in the society by teaching people about the Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omnibenevolent God. In Genesis, however, in the story of the creation of Adam and Eve, the Bible mentions God invoking the growth of the tree of life – the tree of good food and the tree that at the same time exposes the Knowledge of what is good and evil. From the above Bible’s verses, it follows that God is an evil God. Some philosophers, therefore, conclude that God is not Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omnibenevolent: if He was truly loving, He would not permit to grow the evil tree in the Garden of Eden. God is regarded as being less powerful because He failed to prevent the growth of an evil tree in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis’ chapter six, God also exposes his anger and violence against the people by saying that he was going to destroy all human beings on the entire earth. He finally destroyed everyone through killing except Noah and his family. The fact of God being enraged and the act of killing, therefore, cannot prove that God is Omnibenevolent and loving. Hence, according to Biblical exposition itself, God exists, but He is not Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omnibenevolent.
The Defense of Free Will by Augustine
Augustine presents an unyielding defense to the idea that God truly exists and that He is an Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omnibenevolent being. In this defense, Augustine argues that the presence of evil in the world is the result of Satan’s and Man’s actions and they actually deprived God of His goodness. According to the theologian, God is good, He gave Man a free will and decided to exercise Man’s will. Eventually, Man chose to deprive God of His goodness. Augustine’s arguments are premised on the Bible, namely Genesis chapter one to Genesis chapter three, which reveal the story of the creation. The chapters espouse that God is the creator of the Universe and created it in a perfect manner, free of any evil and suffering. Adam and Eve, however, decided to test their free will on the fruits from the forbidden tree and chose evil upon their lives. Thus, they lived a perfect life in the Garden of Eden until they brought a curse upon themselves by choosing evil over good. In the Old Testament, the Book of Genesis 1:31 states that after creation, “God looked at all that he had made and saw that it was very good.” According to Augustine, therefore, evil is referred to as the deprivation of the goodness of something. He compares it with blindness, which he defines as the taking away of sight. Augustine concludes that evil is not an entity by itself and so blindness is and, evil, consequently, is not a result of God’s creation but rather a man’s free will.
Augustine further explains that Satan was once God’s Angel but chose evil through trying to compete with God to deprive Him of his goodness. Just like human beings, the Angels also have their free will granted by God. It is the free will that the Angels and human beings have used to take the goodness from God and doomed themselves for worse conditions. In Genesis Chapter three, for example, the fall of man came as a result of the disobedience against God by choosing to commit sin against God. The pain and suffering sensed by man today, thus, are the consequences of man’s disobedience. The Garden of Eden from the beginning was a perfect place which man chose to ruin by himself. Man’s sin, therefore, ruined his perfect relationship with God.
In response to the existence of natural evil, Augustine argues that evil emerged as a result of the disorderliness created by man through sin. Everything was in a perfect order until man chose to go against the order by doing an unnatural act. Consequently, the natural evil is a result of God’s punishment of man who committed a sin. In response to the moral evil, on the other hand, Augustine argues that man had a free will and the mind to depict what was good and bad. Man, however, performed an act of disobedience by choosing to do the opposite of what his mind told him to be the truth. Hence, the moral sin is a result of man’s own free will. The theologian further argues that the whole humanity deserves the punishment of God as a result of Adam’s Act since we all seminally share in the Loins of Adam. In response to whether God is loving, Augustine argues that God is just God, and He has a right of whether intervening or not; in any case, the man deserves a penalty because the suffering is a result of his own choice. However, man can choose to evade punishment by deciding to choose salvation. In the next subheading, it will be proved that the defense by Augustine lacks of the convincing arguments while proving that man is responsible for evil in the world. Moreover, overprotection of God by Augustine will be completely exposed.
Impressiveness of Augustine’s Defense
Hick critiques the free will defense by stating that the magnitude of man’s suffering is undeserving of the people who were never part of the sin committed by Adam. God is punishing innocent people for the mistakes they never committed. This depicts God as lacking of a loving nature. Hick further argues that it is either human beings ask of an evil-free world from God or take the world the way it is. If God, however, gives human beings the free will and places evil in the world, then God is evil. If God intended the world to be perfect and free of evil, He would have to foresee that human beings would abuse the free will to engage in sinful acts. Thus, it results from God’s intention to create evil and because of that human beings should not be blamed for it as proposed by Augustine.
Secondly, from the very existence of human beings and the introduction of evil into the world, God had already determined the actions and the future of man. He knew that once in a lifetime, human beings will either choose to be evil or choose to be good. As such, God had already predetermined man’s destiny. Consequently, man cannot be said to have a free will to evil. Evil, therefore, cannot be brought to the world by human beings through their free will but that God introduced evil to the world from the very beginning.
In conclusion, the problem of evil presents a very critical argument and foundation for atheists’ idea of the inexistence of God. Since the theists base their arguments on the fact that God is Omnipresent, Omnibenevolent and Omnipotent, evil becomes a problem to such an idea as it completely defeats the fact that God is loving. God cannot be loving if he chose evil for the world from the beginning. Theologian Augustine presents a defense to the idea that God is Omnipresent, Omnibenevolent and Omnipotent by stating that evil arose as a result of man’s free will. The argument is, however, not convincing enough as from the very beginning God gave man evil and good and knew that at one point man will exercise his free will. Evil is, therefore, a result of God Himself.