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You Are Here: Home > Essay Topics > Religion Essays and Research Papers > Theology Research Paper Topics  > Essay on God and The Existence of Evil

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Essay on God and The Existence of Evil

Even if the existence of God be premised, it is not apparently to be taken for granted that He is good; or rather, if there is a good God, there is also, many hold, an evil one. This is the teaching of Zoroastrianism, which postulates the presence in the universe from the first of an evil antagonist to the omniscient and apparently omnipotent God of the other religions, an antagonist who becomes prominent in the later books of the Old Testament. Or take the immortality of the soul, which one would have thought to be inseparably bound up with a religious attitude to the universe. Buddhism denies it and denies, it partly because it denies the reality of individuality, the ego being for Buddhism, in the words of the Editor, only "a degrading composite of temporary obstructive delusions."

Other examples of radical disagreement in regard to fundamentals could be cited. They are numerous enough to suggest that the fundamental truths of religion are not, to say the least, self-evident.

First, there was the difficulty presented by the facts of pain and evil. These, it is obvious, exist; it is obvious, that is to say, to me that I suffer pain and that people do me evil.

Assuming that this world is the creation of an omnipotent and benevolent God, either (1) He created them, or (2) He did not.

(1). That God Created Them. Let us suppose that He created them. Then, assuming that before the world was created there was only God, assuming, therefore, that initially there existed only what was good, He deliberately introduced pain and evil into a perfect universe, when He need not have done so. Such action certainly does not betoken a good God; indeed, if a human being were to do such a thing, we should regard him as the greatest criminal who had ever existed. If, therefore, God, being omnipotent, deliberately created pain and evil, He cannot be benevolent. Now it is unpleasant to think that the creation of life on this planet is the handiwork of a malignant deity; scarcely less so, to regard it as the work of a humorist who staged us on the boards of the universe for the pleasure of watching the farce from the wings. The joke, if joke it is, is in the worst possible taste. Sooner than this, one would prefer that the universe was an accident, or was exclusively composed of matter.

(2) That God did not Create Them. Let us suppose that God did not create pain and evil; then either (a) they exist in His despite, or (b) He permits them to exist for some purpose of His own when He could, if He wanted to, eliminate them.

(a) If God did not create pain and evil and they exist in his despite,. we can only conclude that He would remove them, if He could, but cannot. In this case He may be benevolent, but He is not omnipotent. This seems a plausible view; at least two religions, Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism, have in different forms maintained it. Zoroastrianism conceives of the universe as a field of struggle between two spirits, a good and a bad. Their conflict sways this way and that, and first one and then the other gains the advantage, but neither can attain a complete and permanent victory. The universe, then, is a fundamental dualism. God has His co-equal antagonist and there is no assurance that good will triumph. . .

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