Friday, 8 August 2008

Epicurus


Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?
- Epicurus

14 comments:

David said...

As a Christian, the audio link below provides one of the best explanations I've heard for the question you & Epicurus raise regarding the problem of evil.

(It follows about two minutes of scripture reading at the beginning of this audio.)

http://download.redeemer.com/sermons/Suffering_If_God_is_good_why.mp3

The broader set of Keller's answers to other common objections to Christianity are found at:

http://www.thereasonforgod.com/media.php

David said...

Here's another link that addresses the exact question you raised here (more brief than the others):

http://www.ligonier.org/media_player.php?tabID=2&id=002

I'm hoping to check in later & read your response, in case you decide to take the time for it.

GCT said...

I'll have to listen to it tomorrow.

GCT said...

David,
I just listened to the first link and I have to say that I'm astonished that you think that this in any way challenges the problem posed by Epicurus. He stated the problem and then went on to proselytize and never actually answer the objection raised!

GCT said...

David,
I'm listening to the second audio now.

I like the beginning, because he adequately points out the problems, yet he is not doing a good job. He sounds as if he is a Calvinist, and unapologetically states that some people were created in order to go to hell so that god could glorify himself. This is not moral. It is not moral for god to create creatures in order to torture them so that he can somehow glorify himself by showing how mighty he is. To go on - as he does - about how loving, gracious, and holy this god is that would willingly create evil and suffering in order to show off is...well, if I didn't hear the guy say it for myself, I'd be hard pressed to believe that someone could utter such words.

god does NOT have the right to do whatever he wants to do. When god created us, he brought upon himself a moral obligation to us.

The answer to evil, it seems, for this person is to unapologetically state that god does what he wants and evil exists because god put it there for his own glory. Thus, he rejects the notion that god is all good, regardless of the fact that he contradictorily claims that god is still all good. That his argument is an obvious contradiction seems to escape his notice and the notice of those in the crowd who applauded him. This is actually rather scary that people can admit that god is willingly torturing people in hell, that god is doing immoral, evil things, and they can still assert that god is good? I'm sorry, but this is not an adequate defense of the problem of evil. He has admitted that he can't overcome it and then simply declared that he did.

GCT said...

So, David, it's been a while here and I listened to your linked arguments and made comments. Were you kidding when you said you wanted to check in to see my responses or did you not think it worth responding back? Or, was this a drive-by proselytizing exercise?

Anonymous said...

God gave us free will, out of love. He made man sinless, but because they were free, and able to sin, they fell. Through this fall evil entered the world. If God were to completely forgive and erase this sin, preserving mans purity of sin, then his punishment would be unjust, his command unfulfilled. If he destroyed mankind as retribution, then his command would be too harsh for the lesser beings (humans). Although it is impossible for us to completely understand the justice of God, we can realize that his decision to allow evil in humanity to exist was a very Aristotelean mean. It was a mean between inflated mercy and violent punishment. Evil is the test of mans free will, and allows man to serve and glorify God. Evil serves as a mean, that has a good end, our unification with God. Evil becomes a necessary test of our love for God, and our ability to utilize the free will he lovingly gave us towards the right end: God. Thank you. God bless

GCT said...

IOW,
he is able, but not willing and therefore he is malevolent.

Tyler said...

Anon: God gave us free will, out of love.

Yes, yes indeed. God gave the rapist free will out of love for the rape victim. Who could possibly question that logic?

Anon: God bless

Fuck you too. :)

Anonymous said...

"he is able, but not willing and therefore he is malevolent."
Use your reason GTC, its not that simple. He is able, and allows us to choose for ourselves, without this choice there is no love. Aristotle requires "conscious choice" in any virtue, and love is included. There must be a choice, and he lovingly gave us this. Evil is a results of humans that God allowed. And you may quote the bible stating that God created evil... but realize that the Bible is not to be taken literally. Evil was allowed by God, and when we triumph over evil, our worship of God is even more beautiful. From all evil comes good, all from God. Look on the bright side :) These are very complex issues we are dealing with. I am definitely not the most studied theologian but I will do my best. Thank you and God Bless

Tyler said...

Anon: Use your reason... its not that simple. He is able, and allows us to choose for ourselves, without this choice there is no love.

By your reasoning, if you allow a rapist to rape your daughter, you're doing so out of love for your daughter.

Anon: God bless

Fuck you too. :)

Anonymous said...

what sound logic. :) God Bless.

Tyler said...

Anon: what sound logic. :)

What a predictable evasion.

Anon: God Bless.

Godless... :)

GCT said...

"Use your reason GTC, its not that simple."

Actually, it kinda is that simple. god allows evil in the world, including evil that has nothing to do with man's free will (which can't exist with an omni-max god anyway). god has the power to stop it or lessen it. He does neither. god is malevolent.

"He is able, and allows us to choose for ourselves, without this choice there is no love."

And, he allows our personal choices to negatively affect others.

"There must be a choice, and he lovingly gave us this."

How loving is it if the end result is torture, death, suffering, etc. and then ends (for most people) with eternal suffering in hell?

"And you may quote the bible stating that God created evil... but realize that the Bible is not to be taken literally."

Good, then we may safely toss it on the rubbish bin. If the Bible can't be taken literally, then we can pretty much make up our own laws and morality and meaning.