Why does the existence of evil necessarily mean God does or may not exist?


This is an interesting question I saw on quora.

The existence of evil is fatal to a specific type of god, the all loving, all knowing all powerful kind. But for those who believe in a god that suffers with us, or a god that is not all loving nor powerful nor knowing is not affected by the presence of any amount of evil.

There are theodicies that try to explain the compatibility of God and evil as we experience in the universe.

There are for example the argument that this is the best of all possible worlds, or that freewill can explain the evil( though this doesn’t explain natural evil), or that this is a place for preparation or learning or that we don’t have the understanding necessary to know why evil exists.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

63 thoughts on “Why does the existence of evil necessarily mean God does or may not exist?

  1. john zande says:

    Well, if I may, the existence of freely evolving, forever compounding evil does indeed point to a little chap we may call TOOAIN.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. basenjibrian says:

    I know that you meant your books as an amusing thought exercise, John. But dammit, I am totally a convert to your rather…Lovecraftian…view of things!

    Could TOOAIN simply be another name for Cthulhu? Or better yet, Azaroth:

    [O]utside the ordered universe [is] that amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity—the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time and space amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Regarding the ultimate expressions of Good and Evil, one cannot exist without the other. And, if there is no evidence of either, then the entire dichotomy must be seen as logically fallacious.

    Liked by 3 people

    • basenjibrian says:

      Trying to assign human value categories to the mechanistic doings of a cold and uncaring universe (i.e. nature) seems to be a fallacious endeavor? As human beings existing in human societies, we do of course assign “values” to human actions. But that evolves over time as well. I would agree with the theists that the definition of universal morality is really difficult if you try to base it on secular logic. But they, of course, ignore that their own unchanging, God-given moral codes also evolve and are completely socially derived and defined.

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      • Yes, the dichotomy is fallacious because it relies upon the absolute concepts of Good and Evil which evidentially exist nowhere other than within the human mind. Here’s a thought experiment:

        Imagine a hypothetical Earth exactly as it is today except that Homo sapiens never evolved. Would Good and Evil, or even gods and religion for that matter, exist at all?

        However, do people and all creatures exhibit a complex mix of constructive and destructive behaviors? Yes, of course they do. But, are individuals exclusively one or the other? No, of course they aren’t.

        Liked by 1 person

      • makagutu says:

        What other values would we assign if not human concepts. Do we have an alternative way of understanding the world? Because language is a human construction and without which we are unable to make sense of the world.

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    • makagutu says:

      It is argued that were there a god responsible for the universe, she could organise things such that our choices were limited to degrees of good.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. GOD created evil when he gave us choise

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    • basenjibrian says:

      But since God supposedly exists outside of time and knew at the beginning what each one of would “choose”, free will is a meaningless and contradictory concept. How can the omniscient creator of all give his creation anything like “free choice”. Logical fail.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is like the question “Can GOD make a rock so big that he cannot lift it?” The correct answer is ,”If he says he can, then he can.” A logical fail only exists on levels below the Devine. He (I am not comfortable with GOD having a gender) makes the rules as is not required to always obey them.

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        • basenjibrian says:

          I think this is more cleverness than illumination, Pat. Sorry. It illustrates the inherent contradictions in the nature of your god as well. Is god “omniscient”? Then that means he knows what will happen. He knows at the beginning what our choice will be. Saying “he makes the rules so if he says we have free will, we have free will” is not very useful unless one is falling back on Divine Command theology. The Calvinists understood this (predestination)…and I have never been very convinced by other Christian attempts to handwave and sidestep the issue. There are a few who sidestep the issue by claiming god willingly chooses blindness w/r/t human free will. But then that does not answer how much we know about how human will and decisions are influenced by culture, by family, by history, by circumstances. So free will is, again, a very weak sauce to base an eternity of punishment on.

          To me, even if we grant human beings this mythical, illogical free will, we then get into issues of the monstrosity of God allowing the birth of human beings, many of whom he knows (generally speaking) will face damnation. If the vast majority of us are to be damned by our creator, what does that say about a creator that allows our birth? You must once again fall back upon the Divine Command Theory, and my response will be YOUR god is a monstrous God. Even if in the face of such a deity I am but a microscopic molecule, I cannot accept that this is morality.

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      • makagutu says:

        How else would god justify sending you to hell if humans can’t be blamed for how things have turned out?

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    • makagutu says:

      So god is responsible for evil?

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    • Ron says:

      If God created that which God detests, then the blame ultimately lies with God — not with man.

      Liked by 1 person

      • makagutu says:

        Exactly.
        It is gods problem

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      • basenjibrian says:

        I have quoted this before, but one of my favorite black metal bands has interesting lyrics on this topic:

        A testimony
        from the dimension of regret.
        This voice comes
        from the second right after the disaster
        when all there is left to say
        in a distressed whisper is
        It is too late.
        The irreparable has been carved in stone
        and those made accountable for it are you.
        Standing, shivering in cold dim light
        waiting for the sentence of the Holy Dead
        like Adam and Eve at the end of time.

        One may argue that it was flawed
        since the beginning
        that the dice were loaded
        that God had it all within
        that He is the Source.
        O heavenly Father!
        pathogenic agent of contamination.
        harbringer of catastrophe,
        icon of the impending Fall:
        but what difference does it make?
        Altitudines Satana
        the vertigo of Liberty
        tipped the scales.
        A shadow of horror is risen.

        This will not be redeemed
        no matter how sincere the genuflection
        and ardent the confession.

        Liked by 1 person

    • well, Pat, this god didn’t give humans choice, but nice try. The bible has repeatedly where this god is controlling people.

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  5. renudepride says:

    Why is the deity always referred to as omnipotent yet he/she is powerless to eradicate evil? 🙂 Naked hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Eric Alagan says:

    If one accepts all the “omni” whatever of “god” – then, is he also evil?

    Like

  7. keithnoback says:

    The only thing that cleanly solves the problem is divine incomprehensibility. Most folks are not satisfied with that God however, and prefer a Guy who thinks about their business.
    The free will defense is pathetically weak, as are most of the other counterarguments in support of the Guy + evil. Boring.
    Most of the flying fur surrounds what constitutes evil. That is a harder and more interesting question, I think.

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    • makagutu says:

      Oh yes, what constitutes evil is a far more interesting question. Would say a fawn with a fracture caught up in a forest fire constitute an example of a natural evil?

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      • keithnoback says:

        I think someone could see their way to a ‘learning’-type argument tor our witness to the suffering of others. I have heard the kind of contingency argument that you mention – we must have these ills in the name of greater goods – applied.
        But there is a realm beyond where the fire touches the fawn and begins to consume it, which is hard to account for. Such things often go on to destroy the creature before the creature ceases to be.
        Other examples would be intractable and unbearable pain and inexorably deteriorating mental illness. There comes a point where the observers have said, “I get it.”, and the subject has long since become the pain or the madness, yet the process goes on. What do we make of that territory?
        That realm is where all rationalizing arguments fail.

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        • makagutu says:

          No greater good can possibly be served by the fawn burning. I am aware of those who have made the argument for greater good as being the reason for evil and so much suffering. I don’t buy it. I think anyone intelligent enough will not buy it either

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          • keithnoback says:

            C. S. Lewis begs that question in his book about pain. The problem isn’t that we can have pain, but that pain must have this peculiar ability to consume us completely in the right situation.
            There seems to be no functional answer, in psychology, physiology or philosophy. We are left with, “the Lord works in mysterious ways”. Once you admit that, of course, all bets are off.

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          • makagutu says:

            The god works in mysterious ways is a to put a stop to conversation.

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          • basenjibrian says:

            This is the argument of the comfortable and protected (a well-fed British academic and popular writer like Lewis) or arguably the psychopathic (Mother Teresa)

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          • makagutu says:

            You are probably right

            Like

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