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Old 05-07-2010, 10:12 AM
 
352 posts, read 476,412 times
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Regardless of whether you are an ETer or URer, it is generally agreed upon by both sides that God is holy, loving, and benevolent in their purest form. However, in philosophical circles, the argument from evil is perhaps one of the most difficult arguments theists have to address in order to show that God exists, that He loves us, and that He wants what is best for us, despite the fact that evil exists all around us and God doesn't seem to do anything to prevent it. The argument is generally summed up as this:

Argument from Evil

1) If God is all-powerful, He can eliminate all evils.
2) If God is all-good, He will eliminate all evils.
3) If an all-powerful and all-good God exists, there will be no evils.
4) Some evils exist.
5) Therefore, an all-powerful and all-good God does not exist.

Superficially, all of these premises seem to create a clear-cut argument against God. Furthermore, even if the argument for God's existence was irrefutable, theists still have the issue of addressing whether or not God is good.

Job 1:9-12: "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."
The Lord said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Judging from this passage, God didn't bring out wrath and pain on Job for any fault he(Job) committed but simply out of some sort of bet between Him and the devil. Why? What's the point? Furthermore, how do we as Christians reconcile the existence of a loving, benevolent God to a world plagued by evil, and even when our Scriptures we use to show His love also show that there is some underlying characteristics that speak to the contrary? Your thoughts?
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:23 AM
 
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Two counter-points:


1. The "argument from evil" only works if you assume God has no purpose other than to stop evil. God does have another purpose for this universe other than to simply stop evil. God is creating beings (us) in His image. Since God is all-powerful, God can use evil to generate a greater good for all. God could purpose that evil exist temporarily so that a greater good be realized than otherwise would be if evil did not exist.

In fact this is what is happening, because without a knowledge of evil, we would not learn how to love. In order to love, we must learn to be patient, kind, protecting, enduring. Love does not delight in evil. So how could we learn to love if there was nothing to endure? If there was nothing to protect people from? How can we learn to NOT delight in evil if we don't even know what evil is? How can we learn mercy if there is no evil? So by God allowing and purposing evil for a temporary time, a greater good is realized: all of humanity will learn how to love.


2. If you assume there is such a thing as "evil" and such as thing "good", then there must be a way to differentiate between good and evil: a moral law. So if there is a moral law, it must have come from somewhere -> there must have been a moral law giver. Who is the moral law giver? God. What were you trying to disprove again?




Regarding Job/God - it was not a "bet"... the story of Job is an example of what everyone experiences in this world. We are all experiencing evil so we will learn what mercy is, and learn how to be patient, how to endure, how to be selfless, how to love.

JMHO.
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
7,912 posts, read 8,485,373 times
Reputation: 11601
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nero777 View Post
Regardless of whether you are an ETer or URer, it is generally agreed upon by both sides that God is holy, loving, and benevolent in their purest form. However, in philosophical circles, the argument from evil is perhaps one of the most difficult arguments theists have to address in order to show that God exists, that He loves us, and that He wants what is best for us, despite the fact that evil exists all around us and God doesn't seem to do anything to prevent it. The argument is generally summed up as this:

Argument from Evil

1) If God is all-powerful, He can eliminate all evils.
2) If God is all-good, He will eliminate all evils.
3) If an all-powerful and all-good God exists, there will be no evils.
4) Some evils exist.
5) Therefore, an all-powerful and all-good God does not exist.

Superficially, all of these premises seem to create a clear-cut argument against God. Furthermore, even if the argument for God's existence was irrefutable, theists still have the issue of addressing whether or not God is good.

Job 1:9-12: "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."
The Lord said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Judging from this passage, God didn't bring out wrath and pain on Job for any fault he(Job) committed but simply out of some sort of bet between Him and the devil. Why? What's the point? Furthermore, how do we as Christians reconcile the existence of a loving, benevolent God to a world plagued by evil, and even when our Scriptures we use to show His love also show that there is some underlying characteristics that speak to the contrary? Your thoughts?
Disagreeable behavior has nothing to do with whether God exists.

Weak argument.
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:50 AM
 
352 posts, read 476,412 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legoman View Post
Two counter-points:


1. The "argument from evil" only works if you assume God has no purpose other than to stop evil. God does have another purpose for this universe other than to simply stop evil. God is creating beings (us) in His image. Since God is all-powerful, God can use evil to generate a greater good for all. God could purpose that evil exist temporarily so that a greater good be realized than otherwise would be if evil did not exist.

In fact this is what is happening, because without a knowledge of evil, we would not learn how to love. In order to love, we must learn to be patient, kind, protecting, enduring. Love does not delight in evil. So how could we learn to love if there was nothing to endure? If there was nothing to protect people from? How can we learn to NOT delight in evil if we don't even know what evil is? How can we learn mercy if there is no evil? So by God allowing and purposing evil for a temporary time, a greater good is realized: all of humanity will learn how to love.
Though I agree with you under all these conditions, there are still issues that remain to be addressed, especially when dealing with nontheists. First off, why not create His beings to be like the angels of heaven? Are His angels incapable of loving Him and doing His bidding? If not, then why not repeat the process? Why must evil and suffering be used to achieve an end that He has already achieved with His initial created beings? I see you also draw from the moral argument (a very solid theistic argument). However, the naturalist would argue that morality is subject to the views and beliefs of the individual and that no uniform, absolute standard exists. To an extent, such a notion is plausible. Regardless of what issue is at hand, there always seems to be some technicalities or specifics that send an issue from the black and white into the areas shaded gray. Furthermore, how do we not know that are understanding of morality is some socially developed construct brought on by years of trial and error as society took more and more steps towards social evolution?

Finally, as some universalists have noted, the devil himself is an evil angel deliberately created by God, thus making God the true author of evil. If that is the case, then how does the title of benevolent still apply if the supposedly good God is the source of all evil as well?


Quote:
Originally Posted by legoman View Post
2. If you assume there is such a thing as "evil" and such as thing "good", then there must be a way to differentiate between good and evil: a moral law. So if there is a moral law, it must have come from somewhere -> there must have been a moral law giver. Who is the moral law giver? God. What were you trying to disprove again?.


Again, the reality of life is that most issues are not clear cut right or wrong, thus the plausibility of subjective morality can be understood as a likely realistic concept. I may be merely defining evil as in what I feel is wrong, but not necessarily what others may see as wrong. Each person on this forum could see and understand "evil" in a different light. Furthermore, is our understanding of evil stemming from an absolute moral standard or social construct? Which is it and how do we know?




Quote:
Originally Posted by legoman View Post
Regarding Job/God - it was not a "bet"... the story of Job is an example of what everyone experiences in this world. We are all experiencing evil so we will learn what mercy is, and learn how to be patient, how to endure, how to be selfless, how to love.

JMHO.
But none of this seems evident within the story. Even at the end, God offers no explanation as to why evil was brought upon Job. He merely questions Job on whether or not Job had any right to question God for what happened to him. The whole issue is totally ignored. Why? How can you gather from this book alone that God was trying to endow Job with thoughts and feelings of noble quality? Secondly, judging from how God describes Job in the beginning, it doesn't seem Job was lacking anything in terms of faith or character.
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:52 AM
 
352 posts, read 476,412 times
Reputation: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
Disagreeable behavior has nothing to do with whether God exists.

Weak argument.
That wasn't the only part of the argument. The argument was could a all-loving God exists when His creation is in a constant state of suffering and pain, sometimes to an extent that would seem gratuitous?

Secondly, even if God does exist, how do we know that He is benevolent? If He wroughts evil on creation, then wouldn't that make Him evil?
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Seattle, Washington
8,435 posts, read 8,389,248 times
Reputation: 1690
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nero777 View Post
Regardless of whether you are an ETer or URer, it is generally agreed upon by both sides that God is holy, loving, and benevolent in their purest form. However, in philosophical circles, the argument from evil is perhaps one of the most difficult arguments theists have to address in order to show that God exists, that He loves us, and that He wants what is best for us, despite the fact that evil exists all around us and God doesn't seem to do anything to prevent it. The argument is generally summed up as this:

Argument from Evil

1) If God is all-powerful, He can eliminate all evils.
2) If God is all-good, He will eliminate all evils.
3) If an all-powerful and all-good God exists, there will be no evils.
4) Some evils exist.
5) Therefore, an all-powerful and all-good God does not exist.

Superficially, all of these premises seem to create a clear-cut argument against God. Furthermore, even if the argument for God's existence was irrefutable, theists still have the issue of addressing whether or not God is good.

Job 1:9-12: "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."
The Lord said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Judging from this passage, God didn't bring out wrath and pain on Job for any fault he(Job) committed but simply out of some sort of bet between Him and the devil. Why? What's the point? Furthermore, how do we as Christians reconcile the existence of a loving, benevolent God to a world plagued by evil, and even when our Scriptures we use to show His love also show that there is some underlying characteristics that speak to the contrary? Your thoughts?
Well.. first I would say that in order to evaluate the bible's philosophical points (such as satan and god), we have to keep in mind that those who wrote it had a limited view of the world. Now, with scientific studies, we have a broader view of the world. When it would not rain they sacrificed to God for rain. Knowing what we do about climate and weather we realize that really isn't necessary, there is a system at work.

That said, what other excuse or explanation did that limited view of the world warrant? I am not arguing against the existence of God (because maybe that is what they got right LOL) but at the same time if God is wholly different from this physical universe (as I theorize) then he should be a neutral being. In being neutral he must equally favor both sides like a referee. I imagine (and admit I imagine because who really KNOWS) that God is like the neutron in an atom. It is neither positive nor negative.

And if we could see inside that neutron we would find equal amounts of positive and negative. Therefore, to make the world go round in it's chaotic perfection there must be evil and good. In order to learn what is good we must contrast it with evil. We learn this at an early age. Soft vs hard, smooth vs. rough, good vs. bad...

So I think the more important thing to understand is that we should love each other and stop worrying about what the other person believes.

We don't question bad weather so why should we question the "evil" in the world?
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:09 AM
 
6,221 posts, read 6,406,571 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nero777 View Post

Again, the reality of life is that most issues are not clear cut right or wrong, thus the plausibility of subjective morality can be understood as a likely realistic concept. I may be merely defining evil as in what I feel is wrong, but not necessarily what others may see as wrong. Each person on this forum could see and understand "evil" in a different light. Furthermore, is our understanding of evil stemming from an absolute moral standard or social construct? Which is it and how do we know?
You can make that argument all you want, but no one can deny that some actions are just plain and clear cut evil. What Hitler did was evil. You would have a hard time convincing me and the rest of this forum that there is a moral standard that would not say those actions were evil. It doesn't matter if you come back and say Hitler was mentally deranged, or he had a bad childhood, or he didn't know what he was doing, or he thought he was doing it for some good reason, or he was some how pressured to do what he did - those actions were still evil.

Other cases may not be so clear cut as that, but if we were able to see the whole picture, we would be able to determine if it is evil or not. Only God is able to do that since He sees everything.
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
7,912 posts, read 8,485,373 times
Reputation: 11601
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nero777 View Post
That wasn't the only part of the argument. The argument was could a all-loving God exists when His creation is in a constant state of suffering and pain, sometimes to an extent that would seem gratuitous?
You don't seem to understand. Disagreeable behavior does not disprove that God exists.

Besides where does it say God is all loving? That is not in the Bible. I think you are creating a staw man by assigning the lable of all loving.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nero777 View Post
Secondly, even if God does exist, how do we know that He is benevolent? If He wroughts evil on creation, then wouldn't that make Him evil?
Gads! If I had a dollar everytime I heard an atheist say the following I could retire:

1. There is no God
2. If there is a God he is evil
3. I want no part of this evil God

Cops *wrought* evil on people all the time. Those people are usually lawbreakers. Does that make the cop evil? The US Army *wroghts* plenty of evil. Does that make the US Army evil?
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:20 AM
 
17,968 posts, read 12,434,483 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nero777 View Post
Furthermore, how do we as Christians reconcile the existence of a loving, benevolent God to a world plagued by evil, and even when our Scriptures we use to show His love also show that there is some underlying characteristics that speak to the contrary? Your thoughts?
That's easy to answer: "God is working all together for good."

And as you remember, the tree in the garden was not just to learn good but it was the tree to learn good and evil. Adam did not know either good nor evil. He and his posterity had to learn both in order to be able to learn from both.

One day evil will be in the past and all humanity will have learned the lessons they were supposed to and it will all be for good.
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Old 05-07-2010, 02:28 PM
 
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The phrase "ALL POWERFUL GOD" is not usually discussed in a scriptural context, but in the context of the phrase itself.

Someone says "God is all powerful" and someone responds. "Can God create a rock so big that he cannot lift it" The answer is NO. People are often hesitant to give that answer because then the critic will say "Well then God is not all powerful".

If one thinks it is a weakness of God that he cannot make a rock so big he cannot lift it, then what about lying. God cannot lie. It is actually a strength that God cannot lie, yet, within the argumentative context it can be said God is not ALL powerful since there is something he cannot do.

Scripture says

1C 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.


This is a profound verse and when EVIL is seen in a scriptural context it no longer is a moral problem concerning God.

There are things that God cannot do, God cannot remove the contrast that imperfect beings will experience and produce because that is how things are. That is the manifestation of creation to completion. It is the NATURE of things in that regaurd.

Our path to perfection MUST contain those things the same way a butterfly must struggle to break free of the cocoon in order to live strong.
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