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Is it impossible to defend God when it comes to Moral Evil?Is it impossible to defend...

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bryan999 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 7, 2012 at 10:37 PM via web

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Is it impossible to defend God when it comes to Moral Evil?

Is it impossible to defend God when it comes to Moral Evil?

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qaysarthur | eNoter

Posted June 19, 2012 at 9:41 PM (Answer #2)

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This would depend on the theological framwork underconsideration. I will attemp a brief comment on this from a Muslim point of view.

In Muslim theology God is transcendent and utterly incomparable to created beings. The Quran, Islam's sacred text, contains many statements about the oneness of God and His disimilarity to creatures. Chapter 112 summaries the matter thus:

"Say: 'He is God, One, (1)
God, the Everlasting Refuge, (2)
who has not begotten, and has not been begotten, (3)
and equal to Him is not any one.' (4)" Quran Ch. 112 verses 1-4

Also orthodox theologians like Imams Tahawi, Nasafi, Ghazali and others have conveyed the centrality of the verse 11 from chapter 42 to Muslim belief in God. The verse reads in part:

"There is no such thing as a like unto Him. He is the all-attending, the all-beholding."

Authorities such as those mentioned also affirm that this transcendence means that God is simply above the ethical scrutiny of men who would have to make Him (in their minds) like them before they could presume to judge Him. And such likeness is negated by Muslim theology itself. So the Quran says about God:

"He shall not be questioned as to what He does, but they shall he questioned." Quran Ch. 21 verse 23.

Thus in Muslim theology it is impossible to charge God in the first place with "moral evil" and therefore absurd to entertain the notion of defending Him.
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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 23, 2012 at 8:50 PM (Answer #3)

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This is a good question. The above answer which is from a Muslim point of view is an important perspective. However, there are many different points. In light of this, let me offer a few ideas that might help.

First, rather than saying that it is absurd to defend God, it is possible to have a conversation about moral evil within a theological framework. One point that we can make is that there are mysteries in our world and therefore, it is possible to say that God is not the author of evil, but still sovereign in some sense. Just because we cannot understand something does not make it false.

Second, it is also helpful to look at alternatives. Evil is a problem for all people, theists and atheists. So, if there is no viable alternative, then a theistic position might be the best.

Third, from a Christian perspective, the person, death and resurrection of Jesus offers another important perspective on the problem of evil. God in Christ knows this evil, experiences it, and overcomes it. A theology of hope emerges.

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johngault | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted August 30, 2012 at 6:41 PM (Answer #4)

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The question presupposes omniscience: can the created question the creator -- the story of Job?  If a man were to question God with regard to what he himself has defined as a moral evil, he has made himself the judge of God.  How does one define Moral Evil?  Is it moral evil for God to ask Abraham to kill his son?  Is it moral evil for Elijah to kill the prophets of Baal?  Morality and evil are definitions of man, both of which originate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  The Tree of Life offers one necessary understanding of God: God is Good and that is all one needs to know. 

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted September 8, 2012 at 1:25 AM (Answer #5)

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There are so many different theological positions on this, even within particular religions.  However, if one's position is that an omniscient being has given us free will, surely free will is meaningless unless there are choices to be made between good and evil?  While I do not generally subscribe to any literal truth in the Old Testament, that seems to be the point of the "test" of Adam and Eve.  Perhaps this justifies the existence of evil in the universe. 

 

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iklan100 | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted September 8, 2012 at 3:55 AM (Answer #6)

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n ancient question/discussion-- agree with speamerfam! a 'test' is certainly implied of humans in all the major world religious traditions one way or the other, in moral terms. For a 'test' (and Free Will thus) to be propely operative, there must be something to ultimately test one's self against, no? I also find meaning/sense for Good and Evil in the universe in this context.

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mwalter822 | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted September 8, 2012 at 11:52 AM (Answer #7)

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The existence of evil in the world does not suggest or prove that there is no God or that God is unjust. It simply shows that God is allowing us to choose between good and evil. God wants us to come to him of our own free will and the only way to do that is to create an existence in  which we have an actual choice. Otherwise, without evil, we would be merely meaningless automatons.

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bryan999 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 8, 2012 at 2:09 PM (Answer #8)

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Although it's my own question- how can we even accept that there is a all loving, all powerful and all knowing (the idealisti image of god) when there is evil and suffering? Even if it was a test, who gets into the afterlife or who goes to hell (if there is one) why would God create it in the first place? Opinions? 

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iklan100 | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted September 8, 2012 at 2:38 PM (Answer #9)

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I am not entirely sure-- who of us are this side of the 'curtain'? But I am fairly certain that the 'moral connection' and Free will are elements that certainly are there and have a role in explaining the matter of testing and candidature for heaven and hell etc. I guess I need to think more about this aspect too....yet, no matter how hard you think, there is a point, isnt there, where our thoughtts stop; and come rebounding back unto us?

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bryan999 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 8, 2012 at 7:53 PM (Answer #10)

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It is an interesting point, I am still slightly on the side of the 'curtain' that agrees that there can't be a god due to the fact that he would have to be all powerful, all knowing etc. Difficult to really pinpoint a definite answer. 

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted September 11, 2012 at 10:00 AM (Answer #11)

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The existence of evil in the world does not suggest or prove that there is no God or that God is unjust. It simply shows that God is allowing us to choose between good and evil. God wants us to come to him of our own free will and the only way to do that is to create an existence in  which we have an actual choice. Otherwise, without evil, we would be merely meaningless automatons.

The existence of evil in the world does not suggest or prove that there is no God or that God is unjust. It simply shows that God is allowing us to choose between good and evil. - Posted by mwalter822

In what sense do the victims of floods, earthquakes, disease, famine, hurricanes and planet-wrecking meteor strikes choose? How are they responsible for these things? Very few people die due to concious human decisions. 

And even then, if God made us to be wreckless and harmful to one another, why does he throw his hands up in the air and throw a big tantrum when we act THE WAY HE KNEW WE WERE GOING TO ACT IN THE FIRST PLACE? 'Cos he's all-knowing, right?

Look, it doesn't make any sense to try to claim good is both attentive and good. There is much too much needless suffering in the world to claim that an all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful good is paying attention to us.

For example, how many infants have died while I've been typing this? And God just sat there and watched. That's NOT good.

 

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