I am not a Christian, nor am I Jewish or Islamic, or most anything else.
I am a skeptic. Most of the time, the problem of evil is associated with
Christianity, and most of the work about it has been done from a Christian
view point, and thus the one that I shall express here.
If God exists, why does he allow bad things to happen to good people?
This is the problem of evil, and has been tackled by many philosophers.
Bayle asked the same question in his article Rorarius, to which
Leibniz responded in the Theodicy:
... it must be confessed that there is evil in this world which God
has made, and that it was possible to make a world without evil ...
... the best plan is not always that which seeks to avoid evil, since it
may happen that the evil is accompanied by a greater good. ...
In this I have followed the opinion of St. Augustine, who has said a
hundred times, that God has permitted evil in order to bring about good,
that is, a greater good; and that of Thomas Aquinas, that the permitting
of evil tends to the good of the universe.
Is it necessary for God to create a world completely free of evil?
Evil is part of free will. If there is a God, and you and I have free
will, then it is necessary for us to be able to do evil. Picture a world
in which no one can choose to do an evil thing - however evil is defined.
This would be a very boring place to be. In part, it is evil that allows
for the varied creation that we do live in. Does anyone who has tasted
free will wish to live in a world of do-good robots?
Many people point to the fall of man as the start of all our problems.
That may be true, however, it is also the start of our salvation.
I have shown that the ancients called Adam's fall felix culpa,
a happy sin, because it had been retrieved with immense advantage by the
incarnation of the
Son of God, who has given to the universe something nobler than anything
that ever would have been among creatures except for it.
For the sake of a clearer understanding, I have added, following many good
authors, that it was in accordance with order and the
general good that God allowed to certain creatures the opportunity of
exercising their liberty, even when he foresaw that they
would turn to evil, but which he could so well rectify; because it was
not fitting that, in order to hinder sin, God should always
act in an extraordinary manner.
To overthrow this objection, therefore, it is sufficient to show that a
world with evil might be better than a world without evil; but I have
gone even farther, in the work, and have even proved that this universe
must be in reality better than every other possible universe.
What about free will. People keep pointing their fingers at it claiming
that it does or does not back up some argument. Let's try to settle this.
Free will is the ability for a being to choose otherwise. Do animals
have free will? Some of them very well may. Back to humans though.
We can choose. We cannot perceive any limitations on our choices, we
certainly don't have any limitations about our choices in our dreams.
You have the capability to make the choice to kill someone or not. That
is free will.
Does God watch a play that He wrote a script to? or play with dolls and
We are actors in a play. I would like you to picture a play, where there
is no conflict, there is nothing that is going wrong. All the actors do
is live in perfect bliss walking around nude in a garden. Would you go
and watch it? No, get your mind out of the gutter, its not a porno.
It would be rather uninteresting to watch. It would also be rather
uninteresting to act in. Who are we, as finite mortals to say what is
'best' in the eyes of God?
Let me quote, one more time Leibniz:
To overthrow this objection, therefore, it is sufficient to show that
a world with evil might be better than a world without evil; but I
have gone even farther, in the work, and have even proved that this
universe must be in reality better than every other possible universe.