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Theodicy

Philosophy DictionaryTheological and Philosophical Dictionary
Epicurus said, either God would remove evil out of this world, and cannot; or He can, and will not; or He has not the power nor will; or He has both the power and will. If He has the will and not the power, this shows weakness which is contrary to the nature of God. If He has the power but not the will, this is malignity and thus contrary to His nature. If He is neither willing nor able, He is both impotent and malignant and thus cannot be God. If He is both willing and able (which is consistent with the nature of God), where does evil come from and why doesn't He prevent it? Possible answers: Evil is the result of man's wickedness (but what about non-human evils: plagues, floods; or suffering innocent children?). Good can come of evil (but doesn't evil breed more evil?). Evil brings good in the long run (but men must live in the short run). Evil is a moral exercise (but why do innocent people need the exercise). Evil is undesirable but an unavoidable aspect of the best of possible worlds (but isn't God the one responsible for the design of the world?). What we call evil is not really evil but good (but if everything is good and we think it is evil, isn't that error an evil in itself?) Evil is necessary to highlight the good (but isn't good able to recommend itself?).

 

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