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The problem of evil in the world


									Philosophy on a Napkin                                                                       

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         May 29, 2012 Articles 1 Comment

         The Problem of Evil

         Like any good blogger, I thought I’d start out with a mild topic. You know, kind of eeeaassee into things.

         Ok, not really. Let’s jump right in!

         So here’s to starting out with the age-old question, why is God all powerful, benevolent, and all-knowing, while at the same time allow evil to exist in
         the world?

         This question has left many broken people shaking their fists at God. Within this article, I hope to give you a simple tool you can share with others who
         use this problem as an excuse to keep God at a distance.

         In the world of philosophers and theologians, we like to abbreviate things… know, make simple concepts complex; confuse the listener to sound
         smart. We call this philosophical quandary the POE…….or better known as, the

         PROBLEM OF EVIL (insert sinister music)
         Why is this a problem? Philosophers back to Aristotle have failed to reconcile a good God with all the evil in the world.

         It is especially hard when we see so much of this:

         and this…..

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Philosophy on a Napkin                                                                    

         and this

         Fortunately, the philosophical problem was solved about 20 years ago…….so here it is so you can share it with others on a napkin.

         The crux of the problem is best summarized in this chart:

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Philosophy on a Napkin                                                    

         How can God be good and still allow such evil in the world?

         One could deduct the following:

         A perfectly powerful God could create any world he desires. After all, he’s all-powerful.

         A perfectly good God would WANT to create a world without evil. After all, he’s completely good!

3 of 8                                                                                                                     6/29/2012 3:07 PM
Philosophy on a Napkin                                                                     

         Evil still exists in our world. It’s obvious…… and everywhere.

           There must be no God, or
           He is not really that powerful, or
           He is not really that good.

         When evil is experienced at the core of the human soul, as in the death of a loved one, the assumption of the following are quickly assumed.

         There can’t be a God, or if there is one…
         He can’t be that powerful, or
         He can’t be all that good.

         Two assumptions subtly exist within this argument:

         - If God is all-powerful, then he could create any world that he desires. NOT TRUE!

         - If God is all-good, then he prefers a world without evil. ALSO NOT TRUE!

         Here’s why. Now follow me here…..I promise I’m not crazy.

         God is all-powerful, but he cannot create an illogical world. For example:

         - He cannot create a square circle

         He cannot create a ball that is both green and white all over.

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Philosophy on a Napkin                                                                         

         He cannot create a world where he gives humans freedom and they choose good ALL the time.

         Some of you may be asking at this point, “Well, why can’t God be illogical?” I will write an entire article on this topic at a later time, but the short and
         skinny is as follows:

         God can only do those things that are consistent with His nature. For example, He cannot lie because it is against His nature to do so. Not being able to
         lie does not mean He is not God or that He is not all-powerful. Also, He cannot cease to be God. Since He is in all places at all times, if He stopped
         existing then He wouldn’t be in all places at all times. Therefore, He cannot cease to exist without violating His own nature.

         Make sense?

         The second premise is not true either: If God is all good, then he prefers a world without evil.

         God actually prefers a world with freedom.

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Philosophy on a Napkin                                                                         

         He prefers a world with love.

         True love requires freedom.

         Freedom is the ability to chose right or wrong.

         God created a world where we could choose good or bad; right or wrong.

         God can still be good, and there can still be evil in the world. There is no logical inconsistency.

         To share this with someone on a napkin in a coffee shop, here’s the shortened version:

         1. God is all good.

         - God is love.

         2. God is all powerful.

         - However, God cannot create something illogical or violate his own nature.

         3. God can create any type of world that he wants.

         - God prefers a world of love, freedom, and choice.

         - With choice comes the existence of right and wrong; goodness and evil.

         4. Evil exists.

         Therefore God is good, and evil still exists.

         Probably not the illustration you want to share when someone is grieving in pain due to life’s tragedies, but it makes sense, doesn’t it? Void of emotion,
         this sounds simple. In the midst of pain, logic is difficult to grasp. Just because it makes sense doesn’t mean the pain that evil has caused goes away.

         Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem In Memoriam:27, 1850:

         I hold it true, whate’er befall;
         I feel it, when I sorrow most;
         ‘Tis better to have loved and lost
         Than never to have loved at all.

         I don’t know about you, but I prefer a God of love, even if it means experiencing some pain along the way.

         P.S. The philosopher Alvin Plantinga can be credited for solving the POE.

         Your thoughts?

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Philosophy on a Napkin                                                                      

         One Response to The Problem of Evil

            1.        Carol Lane (mom) says:
                 June 1, 2012 at 10:37 pm

                 This is the best and most simple explanation for something theologians and philosophers have spent years debating. It makes sense if we can step
                 outside ourselves and remember that God is God; though we’d like to, we can’t make Him fit into our image. Yes, it doesn’t remove our pain, but
                 it does help us live with apparent inconsistencies in our worldview. Thank you!!


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