The Logical Problem Of Evil: A New Approach -- By: Scott Coley

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 24:2 (Spring 2007)
Article: The Logical Problem Of Evil: A New Approach
Author: Scott Coley


The Logical Problem Of Evil: A New Approach

Scott Coley

Ph.D. Student in Philosophy
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana

Introduction

Ιn the following pages, I hope to lay the groundwork for a new approach to the problem of evil. In so doing, I will explore the implications of a world with free will and argue that the Greater Good theodicy is unnecessary, resting upon a theological framework that is extraneous to the main problems. I will suggest an alternative to the Greater Good theodicy which attacks heretofore unchallenged premises of both the logical and evidential formulations of the problem. Further, I will put forward a new argument for the inevitability of natural evil’s possibility in a world with freewill.

The problem of evil is one of the oldest problems in the history of philosophy. Having been examined by many great philosophers of antiquity and onward, it has as rich a wealth of literature as any problem to date; so it may seem as though it is unnecessary to look at the problem in a new way. But in the following framework, I hope to present a solution to the problem of evil based upon objections to heretofore unchallenged premises of the problem.1 1 will present a well-used argument that God must allow moral evil in a world with moral free will. I will then argue that God is morally justified in allowing occurrences of evil not because they lead to a greater good or prevent some worse evil but because it is necessary, in order for the existence of moral free will, that God allow for the possibility of moral evil.2 In order for God legitimately to allow the possibility of moral evil, he must allow moral evil to be actualized. Moreover, I will put forward a new argument that the physical possibility of natural evil is necessary in a world with moral free will. Therefore, as we shall see, it is necessary for God to allow both moral and natural evil in a world with free will.

Part 1

Let us turn now to the main problems, building our argument from there. Epicurus articulates the logical problem of evil as follows:

God either wishes to take away evils and is unable; or he is able, and is unwilling; or he is neither willing nor able; or he is both willing and able. If he is willing and unable, he is feeble, which does not agree with the character of God; if he is able and unwilling, he is malicious, which is equally at odds with God; if he is neither willing nor able, he is both malicious and feeble and therefore not God; if he is both willing and able, which is alone suitable to God, from what source then come e...

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