If god is so powerful and controls everything then why is there pain, deaths, natural disasters and so much sadness all over the world? That’s something an atheist would say but what if god lets these events happen for a specific reason. for example, David had a bad car accident, he is at the hospital in critical conditions. He comes from a family that believes in god, right before he passes away David tells his mom not to worry that god has called upon him and he is going to a better place. As a Christian looking at it this way it shows god working towards a greater good, in this situation death is not evil and in David’s case not feared. If god exist then the devil is also real, from my point of view as a Christian the good that happens in this world is credited to god and the evil that happens is credited to the devil. Point of view, beliefs and experience play a big role on how someone interprets a bad situation (evil) and a good situation. Philosophers like William Rowe’s have arguments that support one and not the other, then you have philosophers like Anselm of Canterbury that would argue the opposite of William Rowe’s point of view. Using philosopher’s arguments, you will see how different the perspectives on evil and god is. Ethics also plays a role when these evil events happen around the world that makes people question god and how pure an real he really is. Does god influence someone’s behavior? Why are there so many conflicting religions? Why did you make us such sinful creatures? From a Christian point of view, I will give examples on how god’s existence in this world, makes a difference in ethics, on how people act, and right and wrong behavior shaped through god. I will use philosophers that question god and don’t believe in him or in all his power. Using philosophers believes and point of view, I will disagree with examples of my own and back them up with some of the philosophers that do believe god is real and is somehow good.
The way I want to start and evaluate such an argument is by arguing evil vs god’s existence.
Let’s start with something simple as Naturalism and theism. Naturalism believes that “nature” is all that exist, everything that is supernatural does not exist and will never exist. A spirit is not real because it is not physical, Physicalism will agree with that statement. There’s many types of naturalism, However, I will be staying on the focus of naturalism which is, “nature” is real and everything else is false beliefs. Theism is the opposite of naturalism. The belief that a god is real and its existence is aware of. Let’s take a look at David Hume thought on god and religion. Hume will not agree with “Religion holds that the world operates on cause and effect and that there must therefore be a First Cause, namely God.” He will argue that this is all unknowable, he beliefs there is no place for a god. “According to Hume, God is a complex idea which we cobble together in our minds. Whilst he accepted that the degree of order evidenced by the universe suggests some kind of designing intelligence, he rejected the notion that this was proof of the existence God on the grounds that human reason was insufficient to provide such evidence.” Hume believes that in and event of something unnatural happening it will be much easier to pair it with a natural cause than a miracle or “gods work”. Hume refers to miracles as a
“violation of the usual course of nature”. If I could simplify Hume’s whole theory/beliefs is that, Hume felt that god can’t be touched or seeing so therefore, god is just an idea. Now that we have a point of view of a non-believer, lets take a look at St. Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas was a Christian theologian, believed that “truth becomes known through both natural revelation and supernatural revelation”. Aquinas believes that god reveals himself through nature, which means that study of nature equals the study of god. Aquinas in “summa Theologica” gives five rational proofs that shows that god exist. The argument of the unmoved mover, The argument of the first cause, The argument from contingency, The argument from degree, and the teleological argument. Aquinas concluded that Jesus Christ is truly divine with a human soul. Here we have two philosophers with two different point of views on god’s existence, I agree with Aquinas, Hume’s theory and belief are self-center. Is god real? In my opinion, he is, God created this world and split it in two, gave us the sky and the ocean. Sky provides air and brings light. The ocean for water and water being the giver of life. I’m a firm believer that god plays a role in the world through natural processes, and that there is order in chaos. Now when philosophers say, why is there so much evil in this world if god exist? Some will argue that it is possible that god has a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil, god creates humans with free will so if some decides to act evil with it, then god allows a small evil action for a greater good of an outcome. Some would argue that it’s impossible for god and evil to co-exist. Let’s set out and example to prove “small evil act for a greater outcome”. Mike one day gets out of a bar drunk and decides to walk home. On the way home some guy bumps him, mike gets pissed off and starts pounding the guy and ended up killing him. Fast forward 20 years later mike gets out of jail as a Christian and firm believer of god and quits drinking and lives a happy, non-violent life for the rest of his life. Now, is this an example of an evil act turning to a greater good.
Let’s use the ontological, teleogical, and cosmological argument, this will show us how god exist, but every argument has its own believe on how god was created or came about.
The ontological argument proves that god exist from the idea of god alone. (UWSP). It is easy to that god, is infinitely the greatest. The teleogical argument cites the remarkable order exhibited by the universe, and especially by living things, as evidence for the existence of god. (UWSP) the thought behind this argument is that it takes a “purposer” to have a purpose. Finally, the cosmological argument. “attempts to prove that god exist from the fact that anything exists at all.” (UWSP).
The universe was created by something (god) so therefore god is must exist. It’s better to believe that the universe was created by god, then to believe that it just happens to be here. These arguments were supported by philosophers that believe there is a god. Now, ask a non-believer how the universe was created, they will say the big bang.
Suffering comes with the option to choose; pain and evil happen so humans could be aware of sinning. However, this doesn’t apply to natural evil like, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and hurricanes. In the case on natural evil there’s no one to blame, it is not considered a sin, so how are these acts of natural evil for the greater good? Natural evil cause deaths all around the world but we can’t point the finger at someone and say it’s your fault, it just happens.” For Aquinas, God’s goodness is beyond all definitions of the good, and we cannot hold God to account by our moral standards. Of course, the world could be other than it is, but that would be a different world, and this is the world God created.” (the guardian). This a good way to counter those that say, “if god exist then why he created natural evil?”. We can’t hold god countable to all the evil in the world, there’s going to be tragic natural events that happen and there’s no right answer for why it happens. Those that believe in god also believe there’s a devil, so what if god is at constant battle with this demonic powerful creature that’s causing havoc in the world, but those who are atheist/ non-believers aren’t aware of the devil and his wrongdoing.
Is death an evil, and should it be feared? Let’s use Socrates point of view on death. “To fear death … is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for man, yet men fear it as if they knew that it is the greatest of evils” (29a)
Socrates believe that we should fear what we know for certain, what if dying becomes someone greatest blessing? I agree with Socrates, I don’t know what comes after death so therefore, I shouldn’t fear it. However, it is very easy to disagree with Socrates as well. What if after death, the men goes through the most painful and terrifying experience someone could ever experience? Since we are not certain on what comes next after death? So, the fear of death comes down to the person personal assessment on death its self. Death is the only thing that’s 100% certain to happen in this universe, now, is death evil or good? No one will have an answer for that. However, the way you live before dying could be evil or good, which can lead to the statement of “he died as a good man” or “he died an evil man”.
In conclusion, all the evil in the world that happens, does not mean there is no god. some of the evil that happens in our world, are for a greater purpose. However, there will be natural disasters that will occur and there’s no answer to why it happened. As a Christian, I believe there is a god that created us, this universe, and is all good and loving. On the other hand, there is the devil which is responsible for all the evil and sadness that takes place in this universe. Death should not be feared because we are not certain on what happens after death. Also, death its self can’t be label as evil or good, only the actions and the way someone live their life then in result is the label.