• Isabel Hu
    5
    Recently, I have learned about Plantinga’s free-will defense which targets to show that the logical problem of evil was invalid. His main idea is that despite God is omnipotent, omniscient and has the desire to eliminate evil, he could not create beings with free will that would never choose evil; in other words, God cannot create square circles or take self-contradictory actions. Thus, it possibly means that free will is a kind of offset which can be a credible reason for God permitting the existence of evil. There is objection to his argument, saying that it is possible for an omnipotent God to create a world, which contains free creatures who will always do the right thing. Replying to this objection, Plantinga claims that there are worlds that even an omnipotent God cannot create, such as the one described in the objection. This possibly means that God cannot intentionally change part of Adam’s and Eve’s souls in order to make them drop the apple, since that may be counted as an action which violates his original intention of creating free will. Based on his reply, it seems like that whether evil exists or not cannot be decided by God, since evil is likely to be a by-product of free will and it is self-contradictory for God to interfere in the soul-making process of every being. What also can be implied here is that whether evil exists or not depends on whether human is inherently good or evil. If human is inherently good, then the possible world which free creatures will always do the right thing will exist, vice versa. Given the condition that God creates humans of free will and he cannot interfere in their free will, the argument can be laid out as follows:
    1. If human is inherently good, then evil won’t exist.
    2. Evil does exist.
    3. Therefore, it is not the case that human is inherently good. (1, 2 MT)
    To elaborate more on my argument, I would like to show it in the example of Adam and Eve. If Adam and Eve are inherently good, then given that they have free will and God won’t interfere in their free will, Adam and Eve will not choose to eat the apple. However, it is true that Adam and Eve did choose to eat the apple instead of dropping it, so it seems that Adam and Eve are not inherently good. Furthermore, if human is inherently good, then it is possible for God to create a world which all free creatures will always choose to do the right thing. Generally speaking, this is just an argument that I come up with, but I personally keep skeptical about the question whether human is inherently good or evil.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.6k

    What is the definition of good and evil here?
  • david plumb
    36
    Isabel Hu :
    St.Augustine suggested that evil is the absence of good and that once good returns the evil disappears. It doesn't go elsewhere, it just stops being. Just like a cure for a disease transforms unhealthy to healthy and the bad just disappears.
    Adam and Eve was a great story that highlighted the problem of allowing good to disappear thus allowing bad to appear. This then shows us that good is better than bad. If you believe in Darwin's theory of evolution then that throws a darkness over whether the Adam and Eve story really happened.
  • TheMadFool
    7.5k
    My issue is with inherency for it implies the existence of proclivities, tendencies, inclinations and the like, things that, well, determine our actions. In effect, if we are inherently anything, we're, for certain, not free.

    The only way for god to grant us free will, given the dualistic nature of reality, the interplay of opposites, is to make us both as likely to be bad as good. The attraction felt toward all opposing pairs of the dualistic paradigm must be equal. Randomness? Reminds me of Buridan's ass.
  • Hippyhead
    474
    God cannot create square circles or take self-contradictory actionsIsabel Hu

    God is bound by logic rules invented by human beings? If there is a God, he created a vast universe out of nothing or something very close to it.

    Trying to apply logic calculations to issues the scale of gods seems rather a bit of folly to me honestly.
  • KerimF
    99
    His main idea is that despite God is omnipotent, omniscient and has the desire to eliminate evil, he could not create beings with free will that would never choose evil; in other words, God cannot create square circles or take self-contradictory actions.Isabel Hu

    In reality, the absolute evil doesn't exist in the first place to be eliminated. Evil is just one of the many notions created by man; as the notion of 'brainwashing' for example.

    Yes, I didn't meet, during my rather long life, even one person who sees himself brainwashed (but what I will say will be totally wrong if you tell me here that you see yourself brainwashed :) ). At the same time, I met many people, from all around the world, who believe, for certain, in the existence of brainwashed people.

    This also applies on 'evil'.
    In movies and series only (not in the real world), I heard some actors confessing they are real evil persons (after all, they had to follow their script :) )
    But again, and sorry to say it, if you see yourself (please note we talk philosophy) an evil person really then I apologize for being totally wrong because in this case, evil (a live example, you :( ) is real and not just a notion which is used to describe some others only.
  • Joaquin
    6


    Hey :) just a thought: I used to think we discovered logic, not that we invented it. Perhaps we came out with the name "logic" but logic itself was there even before we found out about it. Same with math right? Like, even when our species didn't exist, there were still a certain number of cows wondering around in the field. Again, we appeared, counted the cows, and called the subject counting, then math, etc. But mathematics were already there. Let me know what you think!

    In the same way, I believe Isabel is not claiming God is constrained by the laws of logic but rather that He operates within the laws of logic. To be honest, He still might be constrained by them as well. I don't suppose God could make 2+2=5 right? However, I do not know whether this necessarily means He is constrained by this law. What if He made it so that that is the only way that equation could go? Personally, I find it hard to believe that 2+2=anything other than 4. In other words, could it not be that logic laws, physics laws, etc. are laws by which God operates in our world? As if they were part of His nature in a way? Let me know what you think! :)

    Moreover, I am not sure applying these questions about whether logic rules apply to God are folly. Because just as we wonder whether God could create a square-circle, we can wonder whether He can create a rock so heave even He could not lift. And I believe these questions are not folly since they lead to question God's omnipotence for example.
  • freewhirl
    6
    My issue is with inherency for it implies the existence of proclivities, tendencies, inclinations and the like, things that, well, determine our actions. In effect, if we are inherently anything, we're, for certain, not free.TheMadFool

    Can you unpack how humans are inherently “not free?”

    I don’t think God has anything to do with the creation or the inclusion of evil in the world today. God created good and through it, allows free will to be available for all humans. Any practice of evil is an individual’s response against what is good. It is their right, as a person of free will, to be able to rebel against goodness and create evil.
    Although there are certainly issues in the world that truly evil and above our understanding, I believe blaming God for all evil is wrong.
    It is through free will that an individual can choose to perform evil. For an example, if a person get into a car wreck and ends up using the car as tool for killing another person, the blame of evil should not be placed on the creator of the car. Manufacturing the car itself is not evil, but the individual who chose to perform an evil deed is responsible for the blame. The purpose of the car was subverted into a tool for evil; so evil is twisting the use of a good thing into something harmful. Evil then, should not be placed on a divine being even though it is though a god that man was created. Instead it is the use of the man’s free will to manifest evil.
    I feel as if this subject is very complicated but a start to understanding evil lies in selfishness. When looking at more difficult subjects such as poverty, it’s not simply because of the evil in the world that people in poverty suffer; maybe it’s because other individuals who have the means to help less fortunate communities chose to use their money on themselves.
    Just because we have a lack of understanding the root of subjects such as murder and other acts of evil does not mean we can simply place the blame on God. God did not create evil, but it is through the ignorance of man and selfishness of their own lives that enable individuals to rebel against God by committing these sins.
  • Hippyhead
    474
    In other words, could it not be that logic laws, physics laws, etc. are laws by which God operates in our world?Joaquin

    It could be of course. Not being God myself I don't claim to know. This might interest you...

    About a month ago I heard a story on NPR where they interviewed an astrophysicist who said that quantum mechanics suggests that the laws of physics can change. According to her, a random quantum event in one part of the universe could create a bubble within which different laws would exist. According to the theory, the bubble would expand at the speed of light, destroying everything it swallowed. I'm surely not qualified to comment on this, but it was interesting to hear a scientist claim that the laws of physics are not fixed, but could be fluid like pretty much everything else.

    And here's a thought experiment...

    When will science end? When will the scientists hold a press conference to announce they've learned everything and thus are closing up shop? If you answer, a very long time or never, it logically follows that we currently know very very little in comparison to what can be known.

    If true, we can reason further that even if it is so that there is a God who follows the laws of nature, we have only the slightest compression of those laws, thus all the fancy logic dancing being done based on such ignorance is most likely folly. Entertaining perhaps, but not to be taken seriously.
  • Hippyhead
    474
    If you believe in Darwin's theory of evolution then that throws a darkness over whether the Adam and Eve story really happened.david plumb

    Imho, it happened, but not literally. That is, in my view, the story represents in fable form the emergence of thought (ie. knowledge) in human beings. It's reasonable for we moderns to reject the fable form of communication, but the message of the Adam and Eve story is worth considering.

    Adam and Eve ate the apple of knowledge and were thus evicted from the Garden of Eden.

    We modern humans have embraced the knowledge explosion in a largely blind child like manner, and the products of that knowledge explosion appear poised to evict us from the Garden of Eden of modern civilization, perhaps from the Earth itself.

    Thousands of massive hydrogen bombs stand by on hair trigger alert ready to destroy many or most major population centers all over the world in just minutes. What is not destroyed by the bombs will likely be destroyed by the resulting mass starvation, social and political chaos etc. Climate change may be the trigger that destabilizes the global order and set things off.

    Point being, yes, the Adam and Eve tale reads like a children's fable, but the connection between knowledge and eviction from the "Garden of Eden" is very real.

    The original author of the story knew nothing of the industrial revolution, nuclear weapons, climate change etc of course. But my guess is that the original author had a deep understanding of the human condition, and based on that understanding could credibly predict where our journey was headed.
  • david plumb
    36
    Hippyhead:The original author of the story knew nothing of the industrial revolution, nuclear weapons, climate change etc of course. But my guess is that the original author had a deep understanding of the human condition, and based on that understanding could credibly predict where our journey was headed.

    We speak about existentialism as though it were a modern conception but the bible seems to focus quite a bit on how existential life is and Jesus is respected by non believers for his radical approach to everything , his understanding of existentialism. I like the point you make about "the story represents in fable form the emergence of thought (ie. knowledge) in human beings".
  • TheMadFool
    7.5k
    Can you unpack how humans are inherently “not free?”freewhirl

    Simply put, inherency of qualities such as good and bad imply that these qualities are hardwired, so to speak, into us - they become the so-called preference list we had no hand in adopting as ours that determine our actions. Inherency of qualities, because we didn't, don't, choose them entail determinism.
  • Gus Lamarch
    490
    whether human is inherently good or evil.Isabel Hu

    Good and Egoism. - If you accept that humans are not "bad" but in fact "egoistic", you may realize that, in fact, "good" is just a reflection of someone's egoistic nature. So, in conclusion, good is unnecessary, but to exist as an option in life, egoism is bound to exist.
  • 180 Proof
    2k
    ... skeptical about the question whether human is inherently good or evil.Isabel Hu
    No doubt we humans are a congenitally selfish (i.e. phobic) and weak (i.e. akratic) species.
  • Banno
    9.5k
    I'm not convinced. I'm not buying into that neoliberal description - nor should you. It's that lie that has brought us to these "interesting times..."
  • 180 Proof
    2k
    Name another ideology that as insideously and efficiently exploits 'selfishness & weakness' as Neoliberalism has - and globally - the last half century. They are congenital defects (i.e. descriptive), not an "inherent" telos (i.e. prescriptive).
  • KerimF
    99


    Actually, life is not about good and evil which are man-made notions.
    The main difference among humans is that:
    Humans may have a living flesh only to take care of.
    Or they are given a living soul too. But if one doesn't know how to feed his soul properly, it just dies and lets him join the former ones.
    While any flesh (human or not) will end up returning to the state of void (state before its birth), a soul can survive for eternity (not in hell or paradise as in the fairy tales made for adults). How? Those who perceive in them a living soul and discover how to feed it properly (though feeding it is not easy at all)... know the answer.
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