Is Evil a Problem Only for Christianity?
by Josh Welsh
One of the arguments atheists most frequently raise against the existence of God is the problem of evil. What they don’t realize is that evil is a bigger problem for atheism than for theism.
Simply stated, the problem of evil is as follows:
- If God exists, then he is all-powerful and perfectly good
- A perfectly good God would want to put an end to evil
- An all-powerful God could put an end to evil
- Evil exists
- Therefore, a God who is both all-powerful and perfectly good does not exist
The argument hinges upon showing a logical contradiction between God’s character and the existence of evil. However, the two do not necessarily contradict. One plausible way of reconciling the two relates to the idea of free will.
God wanted to create creatures that would freely choose to love him and each other, but he could not create creatures which were truly free without creating the possibility of evil. When some of the creatures chose to commit evil acts, God allowed evil to exist because he valued the freedom of the creatures.
The argument from evil carries a great deal of emotional and rhetorical force because of the numerous clear examples of evil in the world; everyone understands evil and feels its cold touch. But few people realize the implications of the simple observation that evil exists. In fact, this observation presents a significant problem for atheism. On an atheistic view of the world, where did the concept of evil come from in the first place?In a universe without God, there is no evil—only molecules in motion…
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