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Um, Our Heads Are Hurting ... But Thanks?

BY RELEVANT CURRENT / GLOBAL December 26, 2012

Imgur, that ubiquitous entity that shows up in your Facebook feed but you don’t really know what it is, but hey, the images are usually pretty dang funny … well, they’ve got a great one circling today, meant just for you armchair theologians who need a simpler, more visual, more cut-and-dried way to discuss the problem of evil. Good luck …

One thought on “Um, Our Heads Are Hurting … But Thanks?

  1. First of all… that’s a great illustration! Funny.

    Here’s some philosophy, for those of you who enjoy it (someone correct me if I get something wrong):

    The problem of evil boils down to the issue illustrated by the “paradox of the stone”: can God create a stone that is too heavy to be lifted? If God is all-powerful, perfectly good, and all knowing, is it possible for evil to exist?

    Back to the Stone: Can God create a stone that is too heavy to be lifted? If no, then there is something He can’t do. If yes, then there is something He can’t do (… lift the heavy stone that He created). Either way, there’s something He can’t do. … It’s a paradox.

    The paradox of the stone, rephrased, really asks the question: can God create a scenario in which God ceases to be God (He ceases to be all-powerful, in the case of the stone)? Since God is “necessary,” which means He has to exist (simply put, because He caused/created us), it really asks: can God do something that is a logical impossibility? Saying that God can’t do the logically impossible isn’t supposed to take away from God’s power. (Some have a problem with this restriction of logic, but I personally don’t. God is a logical God. Why would He violate the basic rules by which we understand ourselves and Him? I’m not saying God doesn’t sometimes confuse us… What I’m saying is that if we can’t trust logic and things like it, how can we pretend to actually know anything at all?)

    Another way to approach the paradox of the stone is to ask the question, “Does God have to be all-powerful to be God?” The answer to that question is, “Yes,” if you read the Bible.

    However, asking, “Could God have created a universe with free will, but without evil?” is not like asking the paradox of the stone. There is an acceptable answer. If the answer is “no,” then there is something that God can’t logically do (like the paradox of the stone). If the answer is “yes,” however, then we can solve this whole thing with a good reason why He didn’t.

    That satisfactory reason is free will. A person doesn’t have a totally free will until they have the ability to will and act contrary to God’s will (willing and acting contrary to God’s will makes you evil). If God truly values freedom (if freedom is a “perfection,” in philosophy lingo), it seems as if our free will is necessary in existence.

    This answer does two things: it a.) lets God off the logical hook, and b.) makes evil our fault. It isn’t that God created evil. Rather, it’s that we chose evil, and things have spiraled out of control ever since.

    Unless you’re a Calvinist. That’s a whole other story.

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