Monday, March 8, 2010

A Philosophical Question: How Can God Allow Evil to Exist?

So, for a class paper in my Philosophy 1000 class, we had the choice to write about one of four things. I chose to write about solving the problem of evil through theodicy. My essay is as follows:


Does God Consider Our Souls with the Existence of Evil?

Does He Even Exist?

Does the existence of Evil (suffering) in the world give us good reason to think that God does not exist? Any answer you give to this question must consider both Soul Making and Free Will theodicies.

Many make take the position that God does not exist because of one thing, the existence of Evil (suffering). Many wonder how an all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good being could allow the humans to experience such pain and sorrow due to Evil being present in their lives, when He has the capability to prevent Evil from being present, or at least decrease the amount of Evil one must experience through their life. This is a justifiably understandable viewpoint and if it weren’t for the certain Christian religious beliefs, this viewpoint would not even be questioned and it would be deemed true – God cannot exist because of the existence of Evil. Religious beliefs aside however, it is a point to be proven through the theodicies of Soul Making and Free Will, that God does exist. The first theodicy to be addressed in regards to proving God’s existence is Soul Making.

What is the theodicy of Soul Making? The idea of Soul Making as a theodicy is the thought that the reason why humans must endure the pains and sorrows of Evil is because such a trial builds us up, makes us stronger, better people characteristically, spiritually, mentally and sometimes physically as well. So it could be said that without the existence of Evil, our persona, our soul, our entire being, wouldn’t be as strong as it could be without the trials and hardships that Evil presents us with. The idea of Soul Making proving that God exists is similar (on a smaller scale) to that of good parenting.

Sober notes that any good parent allows their child to experience some hard times because it allows them to build their character and to learn a lesson which may not be fully understood if the parent shielded their child from every adverse thing they may encounter. This is analogical to prove that God exists. God allows Evil to exist, he allows us to endure painful trials so that we can develop more fully than if everything we ever needed was essentially “handed to us on a platter.” God, like a good parent, wants to see his creations, his children, grow and develop in more than just physically but a morally, and characteristically as well. Soul Making is just a part of proving why God exists and allows Evil to exist. The second and greater part of this proof is the theodicy of Free Will.

The theodicy of Free Will is basically the idea that Evil exists because God allows his children to make the choice to do good or to do evil. Relating back to Christian religious beliefs, most believe that humans are created in God’s image, therefore, we, like God have the ability to choose what we do in life. It so happens however, that everything that God did was good. The problem with Evil occurs when more humans choose to do Evil than good and it is supposedly from a majority of people choosing to do Evil. What needs to be changed is the realization that choosing to do good does not inhibit what one is able to do, it allows one to be happy and it allows more good to exist in the world than Evil. Another thing about God allowing his children to make the choice between good and evil allows us to understand what “good” and “evil” really is, because really, we wouldn’t know what good is without knowing evil; we wouldn’t know what evil is without knowing good.

In review, it is arguable in spite of the existence of Evil that God does exist because of the thodicies of Soul Making and Free Will. Soul Building as the idea of building one’s character through the trials and tribulations of the evils we encounter, and Free Will as the idea of being able to choose good from evil and more people seem to choose evil over good. These are the theodicies as to why Evil exists and as to why God exists still as an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good being.


So, that's all I have for you, it's my view without really incorporating my religious beliefs. It was difficult to write without the bias of my belief. But, I think that the firmness of my belief and because of my testimony, this was easier to write with a persuasive, authoritative sense.


Anonymous said...

Yay! You fixed it! Congrats on a good paper, and i know it will get a good grade :) Love you :)

Chelsea Midzinksi said...

Niecly done. I think you wrote as well as you could have without being biased due to your own beliefs. I also agree that your own knowledge helped your writing whereas an atheist may have a harder time with a lack of knowledge why people do believe.