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How can a good God allow evil?

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How can a good God allow evil?

  • To begin with I feel it must be said that such an argument cannot stand as lack of action does not equate to participation as the argument suggests.
    • As humans, we are drawn to that which is good, this is an argument used by many fathers. We seek to have, experience, taste, feel and see that which is pleasing and appreciable. The argument posed in the title is not so much a rejection of God, rather an attack against the goodness of God through the existence of evil.
  • Apophatic Theology
    • God is not ‘good’ but can’t be evil
    • Creation by existence cannot be created evil
      • If God is without evil, then His actions cannot reflect evil. Anything He does can only be opposite of evil lacking it entirely
  • What is evil
    • Evil is the absence of good
      • Injustice, LicentiousnessPromiscuity, Foolishness, Cowardice, Envy, Murder, PoisoningCorruption, Laziness, Etc.
    • Evil is not simply that which is undesirable, painful, and toilsome
      • Pain, cuttings, disfigurement, and maiming of the body many would regard as “evil” however these are not absent of good as they are tools of the surgeon to bring healing to his patient
  • Evil was not created
    • St Basil argues against a created evil in a beautiful analogy
      • “The eye was created, but blindness comes into being following the destruction of the eyes. Therefore, if the eye did not have a perishable nature, blindness would not have a means of entry. Thus also evil is not in itself an existence but arises following the maiming of the soul.”
  • Where does evil come from
    • If Evil is not created, then how does it exist? The existence is the result of mans disobedience and subsequent corruption.
      • “Just as God made the faculties of the body according to their nature” Saint Basil argues, “ is made ill through a perversion according to its nature…”
  • Free Will and Obedience
    • God doesn't want slaves but servants…
      • “It is not when your slaves are in bonds that you consider them well disposed, but when you see them willingly fulfill your wishes…”
  • Why would God create a person who will do evil
    • Knowing then that God is incapable of evil, and having omniscience God cannot cease from creating a person based on their actions according to His goodness. As the EO John of Damascus states in his ‘Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith’
      • “God in His goodness brought what exists into being out of nothing, and has foreknowledge of what will exist in the future. If, therefore, they were not to exist in the future, they would neither be evil in the future nor would they be foreknown. For knowledge is of what exists and foreknowledge is of what will surely exist in the future. For simple being comes first and then good or evil being. But if the very existence of those, who through the goodness of God are in the future to exist, were to be prevented by the fact that they were to become evil of their own choice, evil would have prevailed over the goodness of God. ”

Basil Quotes are from ‘That God is not the cause of evil’ found in the book “On the Human Condition” published by St. Vladimir’s

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