Problem Of Evil Essay

1963 words - 8 pages

One well known philosophical dilemma, that causes much of humanity significant grief and frustration towards religious beliefs, is the problem of evil. John Hick explains in his essay, “The Problem of Evil”, that this ‘crisis’ so to speak is based on three characteristics that Christians claim God has. Christians believe that God has infinite knowledge, power and love. The question that is then raised is: Why is life on earth filled with vast amounts of suffering, pain and evil if God has never-ending abilities to embrace those three characteristics?
John Hick provides two answers to this question. He believes that evil is essential to soul making. Hick explains that evil ...view middle of the document...

However, Hick’s claim is much more accurate. There is only one type of evil. It is irrelevant whether or not evil is accidental, intentional, committed by humans, or by nature. Christians believe that God is always looking over earth to protect humanity. This belief suggests that God monitors the evil that exists on earth. The creation story states that God created the entire universe. This includes every feeling, every object, every disease, and every skill. Ultimately, humanity is the victim of God’s creation. Humanity is not responsible for any evil, for every source of such evil is traced back to God and what he creates.

Observations of evil deeds along with historical information from the Holy Bible provide evidence against Hick’s ideas that evil is important to soul making and humans’ free will. Epistemology is a branch of philosophy which focuses on how knowledge relates to truth, faith and beliefs. This branch of philosophy gives birth to empiricism. From an empirical perspective, there are crucial grounds that can be used to abolish Hick’s seemingly intellectual solutions to the problem of evil.

There are four aspects of Christianity that go against Hick’s proposal. These aspects consist of the existence of hell, the central idea of Christianity that life is a sacred gift from God, the rules and regulations of the Christian faith including the Ten Commandments, and the cases where evil, pain or suffering prohibit soul making and growth indefinitely. Because of this empirical evidence, Hick’s solutions are unable to solve the problem of evil in life on earth as well as a unique situation in the short story, “The Star”, by Arthur C. Clarke. Examples from the world Christians live in as well as the advanced world that Clarke creates provides enough evidence to conclude that the problem of evil is not solved by soul making and free will. The negative consequences of evil outnumber the positive outcomes.

Christianity labels hell as the ultimate consequence and punishment for unremorseful sinners. Hell is depicted in the bible as an eternal place of suffering, pain and evil. In the gospel of Matthew, he writes, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Away from me, you that are under God’s curse! Away to the eternal fire which has been prepared for the Devil and his angels! ...These, then, will be sent off to eternal punishment, but the righteous will go to eternal life” (25:41, 46). These words come from the account of judgement day in which the Lord returns to separate the righteous from the others. Souls that are unworthy of eternal life in heaven and unworthy of being God’s children are descended into hell to experience infinite suffering.

The degree of evil in hell is ultimately equivalent to the evil experienced in life on earth. The bible describes hell as being a place of torment, pain, suffering and unhappiness, but life on earth is also filled with the same four aspects that...

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