Many philosophers and atheists believe that a loving God should not let His children suffer. Explaining the logical problem of evil, Horner states that evil and good cannot coexist. For that reason, if God exists, then, there is no evil. Likewise, if evil exists, then, God is a fairytale.
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Existence of evil is, therefore, the main opposition to God’s existence (Horner). Theologians, on the other hand, maintain that God allows evil as a way of strengthening people’s faith in Him. However, the same people uphold that God is a loving father. As a result, God protects His people from evil and suffering. Therefore, theological doctrines are sometimes inconsistent with each other. This essay tries to find out whether there is a logical contradiction between the existence of God and evil.
There is a contradiction between the existence of an all-powerful God and the existence of evil (Mackie). God is supposed to be omnipotent or unstoppable. Therefore, what God can do has no limits. In addition, people should not suffer from all manners of evil in the presence of an all-powerful God. Some logical rules connect evil and omnipotence (Mackie). Horney adds that good cannot exist in the presence of evil.
Therefore, a loving God must completely eliminate evil. For that reason, the notion that evil and an omnipotent God coexist is debatable. A logical explanation to the coexistence of good and evil can only be given if God’s power has a limit. As a result, some scholars have opted to restrict the meaning of omnipotence when referring to God. Amazingly, these scholars are known to record a list of some of the things an omnipotent God cannot do (Mackie). Furthermore, the problem of evil can either be emotional or intellectual (Horner).
The intellectual problem explains the relations between Evil and an omnipotent God based on the reasons. This problem is further divided into logical and probabilistic problems (Horner). The logical problem maintains that evil and God cannot coexist. According to the emotional problem, people question God’s existence when faced with hardships. These people fail to understand why a loving and an all-powerful God can allow such evils to befall them. Therefore, in some cases, the objection to God’s existence is merely emotional.
However, it is not necessary for God to eliminate all evils (Horner). In some cases, doing away with an evil may bring about a greater evil or get rid of a good that outweighs it (Horner). For instance, God cannot sterilize females to eliminate pain experienced during the birth of children. If God was to control the actions of all people, then, no one would be free. Likewise, all people would behave and act in the same manner.
God created free people with a mind that is able to differentiate between good and evil. It is, therefore, widely expected that people will commit evil because God has given them an independent mind. People commit evil out of their own freewill. This evil is what philosophers call moral evil (Guthrie). Additionally, God uses natural evil to increase the amount of good on the Earth (Guthrie). For instance, earthquakes have killed many people.
Amazingly, the same earthquakes prevent continents from eroding into oceans since they are necessary in plate tectonics (Guthrie). In addition, death is a natural way of controlling global population. Without death, resources on the Earth surface will not be enough to sustain its population (Guthrie). Religious leaders also argue that suffering, which is a form of evil, is one of the ways through which God manifests Himself to his people. Through suffering, God’s children are able to strengthen their faith in him.
However, some scholars maintain that evil is an illusion (Mackie). For that reason, what we refer to as evil is a state of mind. Citing one of the Popes, Mackie states that universal good is one of the end products of partial evil. Therefore, evil complements good. Social harmony is, thus, brought about by disorder in the society. Accordingly, disorder is harmony that people are yet to understand (Mackie).
Existence of evil has elicited the discussion as to whether God really exists. It is fallacious to say that good cannot exist without evil (Mackie). Such statements limit the powers of an omnipotent God. In addition, these statements imply that God cannot create good without creating evil. An omnipotent God can do anything. However, misfortunes such as sickness and death cast doubts on the existence of God. There is no logical explanation on why an omnipotent God can allow evil to dominate the Earth.
Theologians argue that God has enough reasons for permitting evil. However, atheists and some philosophers argue that theologians believe what they can barely prove. For that reason, what theologians propose cannot be solved scientifically. This means that their reasoning cannot be supported by further experiments, decisions or actions (Mackie). Since all sides maintain their stand, the debate on the contradiction between the existence of God and evil is far from over.
Guthrie, Shandon. Assessing the Problem of Evil and the Existence of God. n. d. Web..
Horner, Michael. Do Evil and Suffering Disprove the Existence of God? n. d. Web. <https://thelife.com/disprove-the-existence-of-god>.
Mackie, John Leslie. “Evil and Omnipotence.” Mind, New Series. 64. 254 (1955): 200-212. Web..