Good morning Professor and Class!
The riddle posits that God is malevolent if he can stop evil but does not. Equally, if he is incapable of solving evil though willing to do so, then he is not omnipotent. Finally, if he can but does not stop evil, he is wicked. In the end, God appears as the source of evil particularly since religiously, he is omniscient, all-knowing; omnipotent, all-powerful; and omnipresent, all present (Cheetham 12). The paper offers counterarguments for the existence of God and justifies why evil and suffering exist in the world. God allows evil in the world because he gave people the will to choose their actions as well as preparing them for his kingdom.
Plantinga’s Free Will
Plantinga asserts that God allows evil to occur to preserve the free will of people. In this case, when God created people, he accorded them the freedom to make choices, and ultimately face the consequences. Eventually, if God limited one’s decision to only good practices or directed their thoughts entirely, it would not constitute freedom of choice for people. In effect, even the relationship between man and God would not be voluntary as the latter has no options (Beilby 45). Put differently; if God is to eliminate malevolent actions, then he would have to remove free will in people as well. Since it did not happen, then individuals can do wrong and rights. For instance, a person ponders about robbing a bank and does it; God should not be blamed for not preventing the heist because he accorded beings the right to choose what they want to do. It is likely that he (God) knew about it but because he allowed people to make their own decisions, decides not to act. To that end, it would be illogical to blame God for this and other iniquities perpetrated by people. According to Beilby, Plantinga asks four possibilities pertaining the legibility of free will and God’s actions (47). He concluded that it would not be logical for God to create people with free will, have little control over their decisions and then expect there to be no evil in the world.
Soul Factory by John Hick
According to John Hicks, evil was created by God to prepare the faithful souls to join him in eternal life. Hicks describes deviating from Godly acts as evil, which inasmuch as God cannot condone, he cannot do away with entirely (Cheetham 31). Again, God did not intend on creating a perfect universe in which people would do good at all times. Hicks reckons that a faultless world would not make an appropriate place for people to cleanse and prepare their souls for God’s second coming. He uses the terms ‘soul factory’ to describe one’s growth and formation of outstanding character. If God made perfect beings that would not commit atrocities, there would not exist real Christians who would inherit his kingdom since everyone would be an automated person towards doing good. Further, he points out that natural disasters, such as floods, fires, and earthquakes, deemed evil, are critical for people to demonstrate their goodwill, heroism, and sacrifice, which are the hallmarks of dedication towards God (Cheetham 33). Hence, evil actions are vehicles that bring people closer to God. As such, God permits and venue engineers some of these calamities to test how righteous people are. Again, evil is a tool that enhances character growth. By comparing the actions of others and oneself, it is possible to determine whether one is closer or further from God (Cheetham 39). Without it, individuals would never aspire to work on their nature and instead become spoiled. Notably, Hicks does not claim that evil is a good thing. Instead, he motions that it is critical in shaping human beings and reaffirming their beliefs that God exists.
God allows evil in the world because he gave people the will to choose their actions as well as preparing them for his kingdom. Plantinga asserts that it would be unreasonable to accord beings the right to choose and expect them not to do wrong. Correspondingly, John Hicks purports that the existence of evil is to prepare souls and shape the character of individuals in readiness for God. Both these explanations validate God for allowing suffering on earth and rebuttal Epicurus’ understanding of God.
Beilby, James. Epistemology as theology: an evaluation of Alvin Plantinga’s religious epistemology. Routledge, 2017.
Cheetham, David. John Hick: a critical introduction and reflection. Routledge, 2017.