An Answer to the Problem of Evil

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Truth, and Ethics' started by DeusExMachina, Oct 23, 2016.

  1. DeusExMachina

    DeusExMachina Member

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    he problem of evil is something I have struggled with for a very long time, as you may know. In fact, I might even go as far as to admit that it has served as a kind of road block to my growing in faith. Wherefore, I'm quite pleased that I seem to have found an answer. I remember reading a quote from some long-gone pope that although shedding one drop of Christ's would have been sufficient to save the human race, he suffered pain and death on the cross to demonstrate his love for us. I believe the same is true about evil; God could perfect and purify the whole world from sin in an instant if he wished to do so, but he chooses not to, in order to show his love for us in spite of our sinful nature.
    I would be delighted to hear what you all think of my revelation.
     
  2. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The problem of evil is something akin to the problem of freedom. As a youngster I had no idea why we needed to have a winter. Sometime in my late teens I was living on the North Coast of Papua New Guinea and what one might call an endless summer. Soon enough I, and many around me realised the need for variety, and every now and again we would fly to the mountains for a few days of winter (well autumn maybe). Life needs texture.

    As a parent I discovered that children need to be loved, without needing to love everything they do. As a parent, it is important that I don't allow my need to be loved to overcome my need to love them, which means sometimes they don't like things I do or say. They have no need to love me, no requirement, and any love I receive from them is a blessing and it is freely given and received.

    God loves us. His need to love us is so great that it overcomes his need to be loved by us. The love we give in return to God is freely given. If it was not freely given then it could not be love in a meaningful sense, because freedom is part of the nature of love.

    Evil is the roadblock, the bondage that holds us back from doing what we truly desire to do.

    I think this is the matter that Paul talks about in Romans 7.19

    For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.
    I guess that means that you and I are not alone in the struggle, but in company with greatness.
     
  3. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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  4. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    God is omnipotent therefore does not need to love us, He does not need anything. The fact that He does love us is an act of His will which we receive as grace from heaven
     
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  5. Thomas Didymus

    Thomas Didymus Member

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    Just as Jesus had two natures; one natural, the other divine, there are also distinctions of how evil is viewed--moral evil and natural evil.

    Moral evil (sin) is anything contrary to God (internal virtues; faith, love, humility = good).

    Natural evil (suffering) is not opposed to what is good, but what is simply contrary to nature (external virtues; honesty, justice, generosity, civic public duty = natural human qualities).

    Good which happens in our world without moral choice playing a factor is a natural good. It is simply the outcome where conditions come about naturally on their own.

    Note: moral excellence includes both external and internal virtues, without exclusion or exception in which one is favored over the other.
     
  6. Cornelius

    Cornelius New Member

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    I think that's a very astute conclusion. This is also why Jesus was baptized: for the symbol, and to set an example. It's connected even though it doesn't completely answer the original question: why do innocent people suffer. The way I see it is that the reality we see is only a small glimpse of everyone's true self: you can't pretend anyone is innocent just because they pay their taxes and smile. What would they do if there was a little pressure? Or if they had a little power?

    These might sound like negative witchhunts, but think about it: what would you do with unlimited power under the wrong circumstances (someone ticked you off and you grew up in an uncivilized state of mind, etc). If you start with the presupposition that we're all sinners and God knows everything, you would quickly conclude that given various sets of circumstances, all of us - elect and unelect alike - would probably commit way worse sins than the ones in this life. Since God is omnipotent, He knows counterfactuals like these (e.g. what would someone do IF something happens another way), so the fact that we don't endure worse is mercy. But ultimately that's irrelevant, which is why Jesus says in Luke 13:1-5 not to think the workers who died were worse sinners but to make sure not to lose focus on the importance of salvation.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2021