There is a thought or rather question that runs through the minds of many who ponder about God and the existence of evil. This thought is the Problem Of Evil. It is somewhat a natural Philosophy but nevertheless its first endeavour at the question is cited to Epicurus in the Epicurean Paradox. There are many versions and interpretations of the Problem Of Evil but I’m going to present it in its basic form as the question is more a natural thought than it is created theory.
The argument is a form of Modus Tollens, which means the way that denies by denying. Modus Tollens are valid arguments, although they may not necessarily be true but the set up of the argument makes it valid.
- If you own a car, then you are a man.
- You don’t own a car.
- Therefore you are not a man.
- God exists.
- God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent which means he’s all powerful, all knowing and all good – this combination makes him perfectly good.
- An omnibenevolent all good God would want to prevent evil.
- An omniscient all knowing God would know of the existence of evil.
- An omnipotent all powerful God would be able to prevent evil.
- A being with these traits knows when and how evil comes into existence, would be able to prevent it and is actively opposed to it hence evil wouldn’t exist.
- If an omnibenevolent, omniscient, omnipotent God exists then evil wouldn’t exist.
- Evil exists.
There are views of this which assumes God must not have one of these traits. If God was just omniscient and omnipotent, he wouldn’t act because he isn’t all good – however he knows and has the power to do so. This doesn’t necessarily make God evil, but not good, or God is of neutral alignment. If God was omnipotent and omnibenevolent, maybe he could prevent evil but doesn’t have the knowledge to do so. If God is omniscient and omnibenevolent, then he would know of the existence of evil and be against it but doesn’t have the power to prevent it.
When presented in a form of Modus Tollens, this argument is quite hard to refute. I never believed in an acting God so this argument convinces me further that either God doesn’t exist or God is not omnibenevolent. It could be argued that life is used to measure your faith, goodness and the true benevolence of God will be shown on judgement day. However that still doesn’t support the point that in life God has not shown this benevolence so how good can he be if he wants us to die first before scolding us for doing evil or reward us for doing good?
What do you think of this argument?
Is it convincing?
Does it make you question your faith?
What are your refutations of this argument?