Concerning evil and weak God

The problem of the existence of God or any god-like-being is one of the oldest in philosophy. But for many ages nothing new was said in this discussion. And I will not say anything new in that paper as well– I will only show that the very popular argument against the existence of the omnipotent and omnibenevolent being is not valid.

Epicureans (3 c. BC) created the following argument: if there is evil in the world, then God, who created the world cannot be good (because he allowed such a world to exist) and omnipotent in the same time(because he could not have created the better one). Evil exists, therefore God, if there is any, is evil or weak. What is interesting – this argument is still revoked in the contemporary philosophy.

I do not want prove that God is this or that, but rather I want to show that there is something wrong with the Epicureans’ argument. To emphasise; I will not prove the existence of God, because this is a matter of faith, not a discussion.

Leibniz found very simple argument: our world is not evil, but it is the best of the possible worlds. Whereas evil that we meet is the possibly smallest evil, which is a consequence of the human acts. Such a justification is the simplest one and well-known to most religious persons: God created a man in his own image, so he gave him a freedom – possibility of choosing good or evil, and because a man does not choose good, evil exists. Thus the existence of evil does not prove anything about evil or weakness of God.

The answer seems to be logically coherent; however we can still raise the question. If God is omnipotent, couldn’t he create a good world where man still can choose freely? The question is reasonable: whether God obey to the laws that he created?

To some extent yes. And no. If God not only created the world according to some general laws, but he himself is these laws (he is LOGOS), then the answer to this question is puzzling. Thus God is not limited to some laws, but these limits express his nature. Can God write the finite sequence of the infinite digits or can he force himself to stop existing? No, he cannot.

However the word “cannot” has a significant meaning here. It can be used in the sentence “I cannot have a diner tonight with my friends” – and here it expresses an accidental inability to do something. However, it has also antoher meaning; when we say “God cannot draw squared circle or he cannot kill himself” we do not prove his inability, but rather we say what is the essence of being God.

What did I showed? The Epicureans’ argument is not valid; it can be refuted that the existence of evil precludes the existence of omnipotent and omnibenevolent God.

The question whether God exists and is omnipotent; whether he cares about humankind, I will leave without the proof, because it is not a matter of proving. It is rather thing to believe or to trust in (that is the original meaning of the world ‘Christian faith’ – emunah).

J.

2 komentarze


  1. ·

    1. Of course, faith is a matter of the reason. So if we want people to believe, we must prove.
    2. As You said, the argument is false, but the problem is You did not demonstrate it sufficiently. So I have to do that instead. Namely, God is not responsible for everything. The world is separate from him. Particularly, he does not intervene in laws created by himself. Otherwise he would just be an imperfect watchmaker.

    Odpowiedz
  2. Jakub Pruś
    ·

    Dear Milosz,
    I am not sure that I understood you correctly; you mean that faith is rational or it is rational to believe?
    I guess that you want to say that faith is logically coherent. But it still does not seem to be a sufficient reason for believing. Maybe faith consists also of trust that is not always justified and rational – otherwise what is the difference between philosophy and religous discourse?

    Odpowiedz

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