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The Argument From Evil

The Argument From Evil - The Argument From Evil The...

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The Argument From Evil The Argument From Evil is the principle argument against the existence of God. It begins with observation that there is evil [In this context an evil is simply a bad thing]. On one way of putting it, it goes like this. God is omniscient [He knows everything that is true], omnipotent [ He can make anything true]. Finally, God is omnibenevolent [faced with two alternatives, He always chooses the best]. If there is evil, either God does not know about it, he cannot prevent it, or he does not choose to prevent it. If God does not know about evil, He is not omniscient. If He cannot prevent it, He is not omnipotent. If He does not choose to prevent it, He is not choosing the best alternative, and, so, is not omnibenevolent. But, if God exists, He is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent. So, if God exists, there is no evil. There is evil. So, God does not exist. So goes the Argument From Evil. One natural reply to it goes like this. We need to distinguish between necessary evils, and those that are not. A necessary evil that is required to exist in order to accomplish a greater good. I take my daughter, when she is a small child, to the dentist. For her, the visit to the dentist is definitely an evil. She cannot see it, but the visit to the dentist is required in order to avoid a greater evil [that is, accomplish a greater good]. So, the dental visit is a necessary evil. According to the reply we are considering God allows evils to exist because they are necessary evils. But, there is a problem with this reply. Consider, my taking my daughter to the dentist. Suppose, you discover that I could cure my daughter’s problem with her teeth without taking her to the dentist. In that case taking her to the dentist would not be a necessary evil, and I would be making the worse choice in taking her there. I can only be excused for taking my daughter to the dentist because I cannot cure her problem without doing so.
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