How to Explain the Existence of Evil Research Paper

  • Length: 5 pages
  • Sources: 4
  • Subject: Religion
  • Type: Research Paper
  • Paper: #65550068

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Apologetics: Evil, Suffering and Hell

1. What are some of the facts of history and experience that give rise to the problem this course calls the problem of evil?

The facts of history and experience that give rise to the problem of evil are primarily war, pain, death—i.e., suffering. This is what Lewis describes as the problem of pain: Why would a good God create a world wherein people suffer and are doomed to die? Why does it seem, moreover, that innocent people suffer? These are the questions that Lewis asks, noting in particularly that “all civilisations pass away and, even while they remain, inflict peculiar sufferings of their own probably sufficient to outweigh what alleviations they may have brought to the normal pains of man.”[footnoteRef:2] [2: C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (Samizdat University Press, 2016), 2.]

2. To what extent would you defend the following claim: the time for one to reflect rationally on God and evil is when things are going relatively well for one, not relatively poorly for one.

I would not defend that claim as it is not the way most people actually operate. People tend to reflect on the problem of good and evil, on God and the devil, after they have personally experienced the reality of this conflict—most often in their own heart. People who have been tempted, or who have fallen, or who have experienced persecution—they are the ones who are most likely to have the incentive to give reflection to this mystery. That is why I would not expect to find one whose life is pleasant and satisfactory to reflect on the more challenging aspects of faith and religion. However, that does not mean one shouldn’t reflect on them if one’s life is relatively calm, simple and easy going. One should have a spiritual life and an interior life wherein one can even offer up one’s own tiny, little struggles and make tiny, little sacrifices to assist others struggling more mightily within the great mystical body.[footnoteRef:3] [3: Marilyn McCord Adams and Robert Merrihew Adams, The Problem of Evil (Oxford UP, 1990), 36.]

3. Respond critically (either in agreement or disagreement, but justify your answers) to this question: Sin, which is the basis for all forms of evil, is itself non-rational and therefore cannot be given a rational explanation. How can one give a rational defense (or theodicy, e.g.) when sin and evil are irrational?

Augustine defined sin rather rationally when he called it misplaced love or misplaced affection. Instead of putting all one’s love in God and expressing it towards God, people with their fallen sinful nature will tend to place their love in creatures or in pleasures. They develop…

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…the real world that we experience as a result of original sin and the possible world that had been planned for us by God and that we would have experienced in paradise had we obeyed and not sinned, as our first parents did.

9. Why doesn’t Aquinas simply define omnipotence as the power to do anything, period? What problems is Aquinas aware of and trying to avoid by defining omnipotence as he does?

God can do anything—i.e., He is omnipotent—in so far as what He does is good. For instance, God cannot do evil because He is all-good, and to do evil would be to go against His own nature; therefore, He cannot do anything in terms of doing good or evil. God permits evil to exist, as He does not destroy His creation simply because it refuses to reflect His goodness. He gives us a free will—but because we are not all-powerful and all-good, we do not have a nature that must do good. For God, it is impossible to contradict his nature. For us, our nature is composed of rational mind and free will: we must choose to love God to be with Him. For God, this choice is not an aspect of His nature. For Christ, it is another aspect of the question, as Christ had two natures—a human and divine—which is a mystery…

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