The Phenomenon of God and Evil

The problem of evil is an argument by the atheist believers; based on the claim that the presence of evil that brings about suffering and pain can not exist hand in hand with the God explained in the bible. This is the case because; he is portrayed as a God who is powerful and capable of controlling everything that begets the human race, which he is portrayed to care for and love in the theist beliefs. The problem of evil is uttered like a dilemma by the Atheists, based on the following arguments that seek to establish and prove that God and evil cannot co-exist. The common argument, in this case, is that their motives and interests towards the human race are against each other. The atheists base their ‘problem of evil’ argument on that; If God is a faultlessly loving God, then he would opt to eliminate everything evil; and that if he is fully and non-compromisingly powerful; then he would possess the power and will to eliminate evil.

Based on the fact that God claimed in the Bible seems not to wish that evil ceases to be, and has not managed to abolish evil, leads to the truth that evil exists and based on the fact that evil befalls the human race is proof that a loving and perfectly powerful God does not exist. The Atheists also base their ideas on that; since God proclaimed is the proponent of everything, then he is still the designer of evil. This leads to the conclusive claim that; God is the same entity who fashioned evil, meaning that he is not the God that he is portrayed to be if at all he does exist. The third formulation as to why there is no God in the presence of evil is; that God made everything perfect, which leads to the conclusion that imperfection is not supposed to form a part of his creation and establishment. This is the case because it is beyond doubt that imperfection cannot come from perfection. This raises the claim that perfectly and ideally fashioned beings; cannot form the source of the imperfection contained in evil leading to the only conclusion that the proponent of evil is God; who designed the imperfect beings and imperfection that leads to the development of evil.

The three formulations regarding the origin and existence of evil, then drive to the attack on the existence of God that is based on the persistence of evil that raises the following claims: That if God is perfectly and ideally good, he would have opted to abolish evil once and for all; that if he is perfectly powerful, then he would possess the ability and willpower to destroy evil; and that since evil has not been destroyed, it is clear that such a God does not exist.

This work is in support of the Atheist contention that; the God claimed in the Bible who is all good and perfectly powerful does not exist, as he has not abolished the evil that befalls the humans. This view is based on the fact that; the God portrayed in the theist beliefs is all-loving, perfectly caring, all-powerful, the proponent of perfection, lover of good, and one who would not allow evil to threaten the welfare of the creatures he is affiliated to.

To prove that God would not exist in a world where evil exists; a distinction between moral and natural evils is to be established. Moral evils are those that are caused by free human acts and therefore are the sole responsibility of human beings to do or not to. Natural evils, on the other hand, are those that result from or take place as part of nature. Examples of natural evils include death and the carnivorousness of animals towards other animals and human beings. Taking into consideration that these natural evils and their consequences are beyond the conceptualization and control of the human race; the atheist contention that a loving all-powerful God does not exist is proved right as if he did; he would not allow that the lives of his creatures that he is shown to love be threatened by these evils that can not be explained in human terms.

The free will defense can largely be looked at as an attempt to show that some specific aspects of good; can not be brought into being by the perfectly powerful and ideally good God, without permitting for some degree and allowance for evil to take place. This contention is based on the fact that creatures that are free to a significant extent can not be dictated towards doing only what is considered right. It also argues that the creatures who were brought into existence; have some extent of freedom and therefore the freedom to choose between doing good or evil. The defense argues that the creatures endowed with freedom are capable of committing moral evils, and thus this explains the reason why there is the question of moral evils. It also argues that the provision for free grounds to commit evil or do moral good; is better than a world in which creatures were not allowed the chance to choose. This is because; the moral choices made by different people define the relations and development of networks like the family among other types of relationships, which are significant towards realizing the welfare of individuals. An example of this is the choice made by one friend to help another when in a problem; while another friend of the same person does not help. The reality here is that the choice to help or not to, in this case, is the moral factor that helps define the relationship and future encounters between these different individuals.

However the defense raised the argument that; the evils that befall humans are not caused by the humans themselves or God, but by some other forces that may be evil or fallen angels that are unexplainable to human understanding. According to Mackie; despite the direct involvement in some wrong acts due to the choices we take; the understanding of different phenomena and choices is greatly dictated by the homogeneity of choices and relations with other individuals. This is because the human race has no entanglement with the activities of angels fallen or not. The dialectic thinking here is; whether human choices are determined by the interaction and entanglement of individuals or by some other unexplainable forces and factors.

The soul-making defense is the spiritual justification of the existence of evil proposed by Michael Murray. In this defense the proponent attributes evil to that, God in crafting the Earth and everything in it; he did not make a self-gratifying environment but rather a soul-making place as its major function. The defense further argues that God also gave the creatures he created the opportunity to use their rational free choice, to develop given important moral characters, to acknowledge and love him. In giving an environment that promotes the development of this, he gave humans the freedom to make mistakes that often amount to the evil that causes suffering. Additionally, this freedom also accounts for the existence of evil in the world especially the moral one, as the development of spiritual and moral behavior the need for struggles and obstructions to be overcome is created. The defense further asserts that a world without these obstacles and struggles that include natural disasters, suffering, and diseases would not promote the soul-making process. The major conclusion under this defense is that since the process of soul-making is valueless, then the phenomena of evil both natural and moral is justifiable as it provides for a meant to achieve it.

In this discussion; evil is understood to be or to directly lead to suffering which is the basis for the argument that God does not exist, as he is unwilling to end or prevent the abundant evil that leads to suffering in the world. However evil is important in that it allows for the development of sentient creatures, who are capable of making moral choices and that it also avoids individuals from hurting themselves. This is because; suffering that forms a part of evil is important in that if physical pain would not be experienced then individuals would subject themselves to hurting phenomena like fire to the point of death if they were not to experience pain. This is conclusive to show that despite the pain being the major result of evil; it is also important as it helps establish boundaries between what is to be done, what is good or bad, and in guiding the choices that individuals make. Evil as a source of suffering also plays the important role of ensuring that individuals develop perseverance, which is an important aspect in determining the completeness and maturity of individuals. An example in this part is the cruel training that individuals wishing to join the armed forces are subjected to; as a means to ensure that they can stand to defend their nations from the conditions to which they are trained and nurtured, like war and unrest.

The word evil is derived from “Yfel” contained in the old English and is used in describing the events and actions that bring about suffering. The basic idea here is that the evil deeds of individuals lead to the suffering of others who fall victim. The reasons that these people commit evil include the lack of empathy for others and the ignorant assumption that; the result is what justifies the means used to achieve it and not the means or victims affected. The evil that is evident in the world includes; natural disasters like earthquakes; illnesses some incurable like cancer and AIDS; terrorism like the attack on the world trade center; wars like the world wars one and two, that all resulted to; or are resulting to the suffering of innocent people including children, women, and men. In all the cases, the suffering experienced includes physical pain, psychological suffering of the affected or infected; a death that leads to the loss of a loved one, and the ultimate despair and hopelessness that results from all this suffering.

However, evil as the cause of suffering should not be viewed as a punishment or test by any authority or force; viewed as aspects that will be awarded or punished against in the future; or as having divine explanations underlying the pain that individuals undergo. However, the view and consideration that individuals have some degree of control and choice over their destiny and lives lie with them; as they have the responsibility to change some of the evils that bring about suffering and which are within their control. This is because some of the evils bringing about suffering are made worse by the greedy choices human beings make. Some of the evils that can be controlled by human behavioral choices include; poverty, war, and famine. This is the case because individuals can join to fight the suffering that is caused by poverty by creating jobs and planning for empowerment plans. They can also stop the war by creating and nurturing global peace that will stop the suffering from war; and carrying out practices that discourage the increase of famine while cutting down on activities that result in the same like the production of greenhouse gases.

However contrary to ordinary views; evil can be seen as good even though it often brings suffering. This is the case because for an individual to be free, then he has to have the opportunity to choose between good and evil. This is the case because; a free person should be exposed to the opportunity to choose between all possibilities both good and evil which bring pleasure or pain. An example here is that; even the freedom of nations that had been colonized had to be sought through armed struggle that led to the loss of lives, suffering from pain, loss of loved ones, and long-term effects like the effects of bomb attacks that show effects on individuals born in areas like Hiroshima. From this example, it is evident if any person were to dictate whether all this suffering that resulted from these struggles, then he would not opt that it happens unless he was controlled by ill motives. Conclusively evil can be explained as perfect egoism; as it forms the bigger part of the stories we want to hear including those of serial killers; that dominate the fictional world of movies and stories. It is also worth taking thought as to whether evil individuals ever decide on being evil, and whether that is what gives a place for the imagination of being a scary figure or a monster among individuals. Additionally, the phenomenon of evil is subjective as each society and age sees something evil about the other; raising the question as to whether evil does exist.

Work cited

Adams, Robert. & Adams, Marilyn. (Eds). “The Problem of Evil”. Oxford University Press. (1991) 160-174.

Peterson, Michael. “The Problem of Evil”. University of Notre Dame Press. (1992). 194-212

Swinburne, Richard. “Providence and the Problem of Evil”. Oxford University Press, USA. (1998): 234-245