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Good and Evil

Good and Evil

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Good and Evil

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  1. Good and Evil

  2. A. If God is totally good and all-powerful, how can there be evil? Either he is not all-powerful, or he is not truly good. (Or he is not there!)

  3. Alternatively… • God exists • God is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good • A perfectly good being would want to prevent all evils • An omniscient being knows every way in which evils can come into existence • An omnipotent being, who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, has the power to prevent that evil from coming into existence

  4. A being who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, who is able to prevent that evil from coming into existence, and who wants to do so, would prevent the existence of that evil • If there exists an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being, then no evil exists • Evil exists (logical contradiction) Wikipedia

  5. B. Genesis - Creation: “Very Good” • Tree of the knowledge of good and evil ? • Eat it, and die ?

  6. What is Evil? • Pain and suffering? • Pain = defence from damage (leprosy?) • “No pain, no gain” • Athletes and “pain barrier” • Cut someone open with a knife? • Both my children born that way • Massive earthquake and tsunami? • What if it happens on Jupiter?

  7. “You know how confusing the whole good-evil concept is for me.”— Jim Butcher, Proven Guilty • "The man who is to be great is the one who can be the most solitary, the most hidden, the most deviant, the man beyond good and evil, lord of his virtues, a man lavishly endowed with will - this is precisely what greatness is to be called: it is able to be as much a totality as something multi-faceted, as wide as it is full."— Friedrich Nietzsche

  8. Assume: No God • Universe created itself from nothing • Material universe is all their is • Life : a purposeless momentary blink • NO “good”, No “evil” • What is is.

  9. “There is no good and evil, there is only power and those too weak to seek it.”― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer's Stone • “Those who forget good and evil and seek only to know the facts are more likely to achieve good than those who view the world through the distorting medium of their own desires.” ― Bertrand Russell • “Good and evil do not exist for me any more. The fear of evil is merely a mass projection here and on Earth.”―Hans Bender

  10. Still No God – Alternatively: • “Good” and “Evil” do have meaning • Good = what 'I' like; Evil = what 'I' dislike • Totally relative – personal opinion • No permanent 'real' value

  11. “Moral authority has been laid to rest, world opinion is no more than a game show and the difference between good and evil is about as relevant as changing channels.”– Ralph Steadman • “Mankind is not likely to salvage civilization unless he can evolve a system of good and evil which is independent of heaven and hell.”– George Orwell • “Defining Good and Evil is not a simple task, and getting it wrong means either punishing the good or rewarding the evil, both furthering evil. As humanity is only effective as a group, the judgement of good or evil must be the recognition of what is good and what is bad for the group.”– Philip Atkinson

  12. God IS • Supreme being • All loving, knowing, powerful • Creator of all • Not part of & therefore 'outside' of universe • Therefore definer of everything

  13. Thus: • “GOOD” – in conformity to God; as designed • “EVIL” – out of conformity with God; being/doing contrary to design • God is good – always in conformity with himself, totally self-consistent; ultimate example of goodness

  14. Pure Good • Good exists in its own right – so long as God exists • Pure and total good is a valid concept

  15. Pure Evil • Evil does not/cannot exist in its own right • It is in total dependence on good for its existence • “Pure evil” is an impossibility, an oxymoron • Eg. Death depends on life • Evil, generally, is deprivation or negation or corruption of good • We don’t choose evil because it is evil, but because we believe it will produce ‘good’

  16. “Well, obviously I take the classic view that evil does not exist ontologically. And that's why it's so powerful - because it's so parasitic on our deepest desires - and why so oftentimes the most profound evils that are perpetrated are done in the name of the good.” ―Stanley Hauerwas • “And this is the forbidden truth, the unspeakable taboo - that evil is not always repellent but frequently attractive; that it has the power to make of us not simply victims, as nature and accident do, but active accomplices.” ― Joyce Carol Oates • “All the things of the wild have their proper uses. Only misuse makes them evil.”― Ellis Peters, One Corpse Too Many

  17. Good is Better than Evil • Good is always better than evil, more beautiful than evil; it is truer, righter, more attractive • That is why evil has to clothe itself in apparent goodness (if I cheat I will get a better result, more money, glory, etc.) • But if/when we see them truly only GOOD is good, right, true, beautiful, alive, lasting...

  18. “Vicious actions are not hurtful because they are forbidden, but forbidden because they are hurtful.” ― Benjamin Franklin

  19. Consider a Car • Carefully designed & built; new – 'perfect' • Instruction manual • Drive/maintain according to manual – best results all round • “Good” is to do so • “Evil” - wrong oil; kerosene in tank; leave handbrake on; lights failed; window broken; ...

  20. A Capricious God? • Something good today may be evil tomorrow •  internally inconsistent •  could never be 'God'; could never create a functioning universe • Could not be love or author of love •  good, evil, love, justice, etc. have no basis of being • No, we do not have this option

  21. What if I Don’t Like God? • He doesn't do what I want, or think he should • He is a killjoy • He has done/commanded ‘evil’ (eg. see OT) • He let my sister die

  22. “Good” is defined by God, not by our feelings • As creatures, our understanding of good & evil can only be as defined by God •  if anything about Good appears other than pure & total good, then: • Incomplete knowledge/understanding/perspective • Wrong perception of God • Wrong or distorted perception of the situation • I have been deceived by a third party

  23. Tree – Knowledge of Good & Evil • Greatest possible good requires the choice of embracing God’s image • Love is not love if there is no choice • For God to create greatest possible good – and how could such a God do otherwise – had to create opportunity to choose, and  option to choose differently

  24. Tree – Knowledge of Good & Evil Since God is epitome/definition of “Good”, then to be distinct from God  other than good  to be & to know ‘evil’ From that point evil has grown

  25. “God did not create evil. Just as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of God.”― Albert Einstein • “People couldn't become truly holy, he said, unless they also had the opportunity to be definitely wicked.”― Terry Pratchett, Good Omens

  26. Did God Create Evil? One can only create from what is in them Everything that IS came from God (John 1:3) Is God responsible for evil? Is evil part of who God is? (yin and yang?)  doctrine of “trinity” (another story!) Since the greatest good involves the choice, it must inherently contain the concept (possibility) of choosing otherwise. SO: No! No darkness, evil, wrong, etc. in God. And yet in creating the greatest good, evil (= other than God) had to be possible.

  27. Conclusion • Without God, “good” & “evil” do not exist, merely reality • Thus also the “problem of evil” does not exist unless God exists • “Good” means being fully congruent with God. “Evil” means deviating from that. “God is Good = tautology – no other option • To accuse God of evil can only be from ignorance or actual evil in myself

  28. So – What is “evil”? Following the argument through we end up with “If there DOES NOT exist an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being then evil does not exist.” Thus to claim that evil exists is to acknowledge that God exists! Thus the problem of evil is only a problem to the theist – ie. to those who believe in both God and in the existence of evil. Yes we struggle with it. Yes it is hard (sometimes impossible) to understand. But because we believe in God – as defined earlier – we believe that there IS an answer.

  29. ? Questions / Comments