The Instigator
Truth_seeker
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points
The Contender
Surrealism
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

Problem of evil is a flawed argument

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Truth_seeker
Voting Style: Judge Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/26/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,131 times Debate No: 60838
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (11)
Votes (4)

 

Truth_seeker

Pro

This will take place within the confines of the Christian God. I argue that the problem of evil is a flawed argument to disprove God's existence and that he is an evil being. I will only use the Bible to logically deduce his nature not as bias.

First round acceptance
Surrealism

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Truth_seeker

Pro

The problem of evil is as follows:

"God exists.
God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent.
An omnibenevolent being would want to prevent all evils.
An omniscient being knows every way in which evils can come into existence, and knows every way in which those evils could be prevented.
An omnipotent being has the power to prevent that evil from coming into existence.
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 omnibenevolent God, then no evil exists.
Evil exists (logical contradiction)." (1)

First of all, i begin by defining "good" and defining "evil" because the problem of evil did not define it, but before i do that, i begin saying that in the Bible, there are two dual concepts: good and evil. You cannot know what evil is unless you know what good is. There are two kinds of good and evil:

1) Natural good - God's creation is described as "good" in Genesis 1.

2) Natural evil - God allows natural disasters to occur in the world

1) Moral good - Defined by God's decrees, commandments, and his character throughout the Bible (Ps. 119:68, ps. 145:9).

2) Moral evil - that which is contrary to God's characters and a rejection of his will. The intentional harm of the self and other humans violating the principles of God's love.

Now, the problem of evil really forces "black and white" thinking. It's not a rule that if God allows evil, he must also be evil. So when it is argued "an omnibenevolent being would want to prevent all evils", what is really being said is "an omnibenevolent being should prevent all evils." The concept that God would want to prevent all evil from the beginning does not exist in the Christian world and i will explain.

Gen. 3:1 the fact that the serpent who is identified as Satan himself proves that moral evil already existed. The fact that the woman could disobey (v. 6) further proves that moral evil was a problem since the beginning. There's no such concept as a "sinless" and "perfect" world. Adam and Eve were innocent, but not sinless as Christ is. Physical calamities then followed (v. 19).

In Revelation, it promises a future world where everything is perfect through Jesus Christ, but it never promises a world free of evil. Throughout the Bible however, it does give us principles to follow in order to overcome evil.

2) It commits the fallacy of a false dilemma - it only allows for two conditions

a. God is stops all evil and is therefore good
b. God allows evil and it therefore makes him evil

It never stops to consider why God allows evil to happen which also affects his omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence which leads me to my 3rd point

3) humans can only be benevolent and have finite knowledge of things. Therefore, we can never fully understand omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence in order to discern what is good and what is evil relating to God.

4) The greater good - For this debate, i will focus on explaining the problem of human suffering through the philosophical perspective given in the book of Job. Job is a man who is morally upright and blameless in Job 1. However, in v. 6, Satan appears before God to test Job's integrity. God responds with in v. 8 "8 Then the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?" He acknowledges Job's integrity and Satan responds in v. 9-11

"...Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!"

God is actively working in the world (he is in control of the universe) and says in v. 12 "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person."

God is basically saying "very well, you claim that Job maintains his integrity because i gave him all of these blessings, so take them away, but lets see if he will still remain faithful to me."

Job is struck with all sorts of natural calamities directly caused by Satan, however permissively caused by God. In response, Job says in v. 21-22 "21 And he said:

"Naked I came from my mother"s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord."
22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong."

Satan failed his test. Job had still maintained his integrity despite good being taken away. Throughout the story, we see that Job wrestles with God allowing his suffering and at the end, God asks him a series of questions regarding God's mind beginning in chapter 40. At the end, Job recognizes that God is all-knowing and he can do what he wants and in chapter 42, Job is blessed with much more than he had before.

What was the purpose of evil? In this case, it was to show that despite it happening, it was for the greater good (maintaining Job's integrity). There is indeed a purpose for suffering. When a person (namely Job's family and flocks) die off, it does not imply that that they had no purpose, but that they fulfilled their purpose. It's not always a rule that God causes good to the righteous and calamity to the wicked, but that the righteous suffer not because of wickedness, but because God wants to improve their character.

To make observations on natural evil, scientifically, nothing is ever wasted and does have benefits to this world contrary to popular belief. Corpses decomposing help the soil which then helps the environment. The death of dinosaurs enables humans and animals to evolve. Other organisms can then benefit from the minerals inside our bodies. Even natural disasters benefit the environment. For example, hurricanes help the earth distribute heat (2). Fires also benefit the ecosystem and plants depend on them for enrichment (3). It's clearly false to say that absolutely no good comes from natural evil.

If you deny the concept of a greater good then you may as well shut down all hospitals and stop the progress of science, destroy all weaponry because these things cause harm to others. A surgeon cutting open a human to remove a tumor is causing harm, but it is for the "Greater good."

5) Free-will - We must also remember that humans are responsible for their actions and as a cause do contribute to the suffering in the world. To outright put the blame on God for all the evil in the world is to avoid complete responsibility for our actions as people with free-will.

In conclusion, the problem of evil is a flawed argument to use against the God of the Bible because it does not apply to Christianity and misunderstands the beliefs and views in the Bible.

Sources:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...

2. http://content.time.com...

3. http://www.pbs.org...
Surrealism

Con

Firstly, let me say that any argument which attributes the evil in the world to something other than God is flawed for two reasons.

1) Ultimately, God created all things (allegedly) so if something is causing evil it's ultimately God's fault for creating an evil thing, or even a thing capable of evil. If God were truly omnipotent and omnibenevolent, He would not have allowed for even the possibility of evil.

2) Even if God isn't linked to the cause of the evil, that doesn't mean that he is exempt from responsibility for evils caused. With great power comes great responsibility. With infinite power comes INFINITE responsibility. This means that any evil, caused by God or not, is under his responsibility to prevent from existing.

Additionally, any argument that says that evil is necessary to facilitate a greater good is flawed because being omnipotent, God could simply have instated that greater good from the very beginning.

With that said, let's get to my opponent's arguments.

Right off the bat, I notice flaws in your definitions of morality.

If God's creation is "natural good", and natural disasters are part of his creation, but are also "natural evil", then it is possible for something to be "natural good" and "natural evil". This is a contradiction. You cannot say that natural disasters are not part of his creation, because ultimately everything is part of his creation (allegedly).

Additionally, your definitions of "moral good" and "moral evil" are contradictory as well. Suppose I lie to prevent someone from being severely injured. This violates the commandments, but does not cause harm to anyone. Is it "moral evil" or "moral good"?

Your first example falls under my first refutation. If God was omniscient, he knew that Eve and Satan would be evil. So why would he ever create them? Why would he create them with the potential to carry out evil? He has the obligation not to, as it is the moral thing to do and he has the capability of doing it.

Also, if there were an omnipotent God, a sinless and perfect world could exist because God is omnipotent. He has the power to create a sinless and perfect world. He allegedly has the power to do anything. Again, with infinite power comes infinite responsibility.

How exactly can anything be perfect yet still have evil? By definition, a perfect world would have no evil. Additionally, if a perfect world is possible, it is by definition better than the current world. So why did God not simply instate that world right from the start? He is omnipotent, he can do that. This falls under my third refutation.

It really isn't a false dichotomy. When you give the choice-maker infinite power, there is absolutely no reason to allow evil to exist unless they themselves have evil intentions. See my third refutation.

If we can't discern good and evil, then how can you define them (in retrospect you couldn't properly but we're ignoring that for the moment)? Additionally, finite knowledge doesn't mean that omnipotence, omnibenevolence, and omniscience cannot be understood. It just means that not EVERYTHING is understood. Good and evil is a question still under debate to philosophers, but that doesn't stop us from saying that certain things are good and evil most of the time. If we didn't agree on that, we'd have no basis for any structure of morality.

Right off the bat your last point's tagline suggests that it will fall under my third refutation.

Ah yes, the story of Job, where God ruined a man's life just for a bet with the Devil. If Job's ultimate reward for being unnecessarily punished is that God needed to know whether or not he would keep his faith if his fortune was taken away, why would God ever need to do that? God is omniscient, remember? He already knows whether or not Job would stay faithful. It the purpose of putting him through all that is just to show the Devil, it's still useless because he can just make the Devil know as well. He is omnipotent. And even if he is rewarded with more than he had before, God could have just let him have all of that before. Again, omnipotence. Again, with infinite power comes infinite responsibility.

Yes, it is true that events which can have disastrous consequences can also have some good ones. Is it also true that with God's alleged omnipotence he could have allowed for a world with none of the bad side effects and all of the good ones? Yes. The answer to that question is yes.

Don't even try to compare human development for the greater good to God causing harm for the greater good. Humans are not omnipotent. Humans have no other way of obtaining a greater good, so we do what we can. If we had the capability to make surgery painless, we would. If we had the capability to get rid of war, we would. You know who does allegedly have that capability? God.

See my first refutation for this last point. If free will is a source of evil, why would God create it? Additionally, there is no reason to believe that free will even exists. Empirical evidence is needed to validate ideas, and free will is dependent upon multiple possible realities existing. We can only observe one reality, so free will is unprovable, and therefore unsupported. In all likelihood, we have no free will.

"Free will is an illusion. Humans are pink robots."
-Scott Adams

Lastly, I will ask a question.

If everything evil in the world has a purpose, what is the purpose of a starving child?

Over to you.
Debate Round No. 2
Truth_seeker

Pro

Like I stated, it's not a rule that God should eliminate all evil. You are making hidden assumptions of what an omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent God is. How do you know that such a God would automatically prevent evil? Unless you want to define him that way then you can no longer use the argument against Christianity because that concept of God iswh at you created.

1) God created all things in the sense that he made all things good (Gen. 1) and creation. Good itself also creates evil (Romans 7 : 8).

2) I addressed that 1st paragraph

Con claims that God could have instated the greater good from the beginning which is not true. The very specific type of knowledge gained from Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden was knowledge gained by experience which is caused by human free-will (Gen. 2-3). The type of knowledge gained by Job on the nature of God is based on experience through suffering. God desires that we know him personally through experience which can only be instated by human choice, not merely intellectual knowledge that God places inside the human mind.

"If God's creation is "natural good", and natural disasters are part of his creation, but are also "natural evil", then it is possible for something to be "natural good" and "natural evil". This is a contradiction. You cannot say that natural disasters are not part of his creation, because ultimately everything is part of his creation (allegedly)."

I think you misunderstand what i said, but allow me to clarify.

1) Natural good is when the natural realm benefits the human race physically survive.

2) Natural evil is when natural disasters occur to inflict suffering on humanity

While yes, God essentially created them both, natural disasters were seen as divine punishment for moral evil in the ancient world (1).

"Additionally, your definitions of "moral good" and "moral evil" are contradictory as well. Suppose I lie to prevent someone from being severely injured. This violates the commandments, but does not cause harm to anyone. Is it "moral evil" or "moral good"?"

I would say that it's neither good or bad, but necessary to preserve life. Abraham lied ( Gen. 12:13-19), Rahab lied (Josh 2:3-7 ), Issac lied ( Gen.26:7-9), so on. Notice that God did not approve of them breaking the commandment, but neither did he punish them for saving human life.

"Your first example falls under my first refutation. If God was omniscient, he knew that Eve and Satan would be evil. So why would he ever create them? Why would he create them with the potential to carry out evil? He has the obligation not to, as it is the moral thing to do and he has the capability of doing it."

Why did he do it? We don't really know. All we know is that they have the potential to also carry out good despite evil. Genesis 3:15 is taken to be a prophetic reference to the coming of the Messiah

"15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel."

It is not as important to learn that humans are evil as it is to know that there is potential in them to do good.

"How exactly can anything be perfect yet still have evil? By definition, a perfect world would have no evil. Additionally, if a perfect world is possible, it is by definition better than the current world. So why did God not simply instate that world right from the start? He is omnipotent, he can do that. This falls under my third refutation."

It goes back to my earlier refutation. Faith persevering through evil and suffering builds the world of perfection (Rev.).

"When you give the choice-maker infinite power, there is absolutely no reason to allow evil to exist unless they themselves have evil intentions"

Like i said, your making hidden assumptions. Your assuming that because an omnipotent and omnibenevolent being does not function and instate the world that you want, that makes him evil. You did not show that the Christian God has to work that way.

On top of that, infinite power must also co-exist with omnibenevolence and omniscience. If allowing suffering increases our understanding of who God is and makes us wiser and more experienced then it is for the greater good, hence omnibenevolent. This also is in harmony with omnipotence: the infinite power to bring good out of evil.

"If we can't discern good and evil, then how can you define them?"

We were never meant to discern between good and evil, we simply follow God's commandments and trust that he knows what is good and evil for us.

"finite knowledge doesn't mean that omnipotence, omnibenevolence, and omniscience cannot be understood. It just means that not EVERYTHING is understood"

That's the problem: we are humans with finite knowledge and lack the ability to understand everything. Only an infinite omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient being has complete knowledge of himself and all things.

" Good and evil is a question still under debate to philosophers, but that doesn't stop us from saying that certain things are good and evil most of the time. If we didn't agree on that, we'd have no basis for any structure of morality."

My argument is that because we do not fully understand good and evil, we cannot make an argument against the morality of a being who has absolute knowledge of good and evil.

"Ah yes, the story of Job, where God ruined a man's life just for a bet with the Devil. If Job's ultimate reward for being unnecessarily punished is that God needed to know whether or not he would keep his faith if his fortune was taken away, why would God ever need to do that? God is omniscient, remember? He already knows whether or not Job would stay faithful. It the purpose of putting him through all that is just to show the Devil, it's still useless because he can just make the Devil know as well. He is omnipotent. And even if he is rewarded with more than he had before, God could have just let him have all of that before"

God knows all things, but we as humans do not. Job needed to experience suffering and from that, gain knowledge of God's great goodness. The Devil was simply an instrument to test Job, God simply wanted to disprove his claims that Job would lose faith.

"Yes, it is true that events which can have disastrous consequences can also have some good ones. Is it also true that with God's alleged omnipotence he could have allowed for a world with none of the bad side effects and all of the good ones? Yes. The answer to that question is yes."

You agree that disastrous consequences can be for the greater good, but then seem to imply that God could have completely erased all that and thus removing the greater good which contradicts your statements.

"Don't even try to compare human development for the greater good to God causing harm for the greater good. Humans are not omnipotent. Humans have no other way of obtaining a greater good, so we do what we can. If we had the capability to make surgery painless, we would. If we had the capability to get rid of war, we would. You know who does allegedly have that capability? God."

If you agree that we cause pain for the greater good then you must admit that it is "a necessary evil."

"See my first refutation for this last point. If free will is a source of evil, why would God create it? Additionally, there is no reason to believe that free will even exists. Empirical evidence is needed to validate ideas, and free will is dependent upon multiple possible realities existing. We can only observe one reality, so free will is unprovable, and therefore unsupported. In all likelihood, we have no free will."

Free-will is a source for both good and evil. This debate is not focused on the existence of free-will, but on the problem of evil. If you remove the ability to do good, you force only evil upon a person and that act is selfish, violating God's love. If you remove the ability to do evil, you force a person to only do good and that also displays selfishness. Our inclination to evil is simply how things are and our actions can never be blamed on God.

To answer your last question:

"If everything evil in the world has a purpose, what is the purpose of a starving child?"

I don't know, it's not in my place to say. I can only say that the starving child has an effect on those who see him/her, creating the possibility for good.

Sources:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Surrealism

Con

I am making no hidden assumptions. Omnibenevolence means that God will always choose the action that causes the greatest good. Having no evil is the greatest good. God knows of this, and is capable of carrying it out. Therefore, if God existed, He would have an obligation to remove all evil.

1) If God's creation was completely good, it would not have the potential to produce evil. That is the definition of perfect good.

2) So did I.

"Con claims that God could have instated the greater good from the beginning which is not true."

It is true. If it weren't true, then God wouldn't be omnipotent, which He allegedly is. Omnipotence means the capability to do anything. With infinite power comes infinite responsibility.

Free will does not exist, as I stated before.

"God desires that we know him personally through experience which can only be instated by human choice, not merely intellectual knowledge that God places inside the human mind."

Then God should make it that way without having anyone actually having to suffer. Before you rant on about that being impossible, I will remind you: omnipotence.

You defined God's creation as natural good previously. Now you are defining it as nature benefiting humanity. Please choose one.

Why would God need to punish? Why not simply change them to not be evil? Why not create them without being evil in the first place?

If saving life is ultimately what God cares about, what purpose do the commandments serve, especially if you can violate them for some greater purpose. That undermines the idea of defining morality by the commandments.

My question was rhetorical. I was stating that no rational motive would exist or an omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent being to create evil beings or beings capable of evil. I wasn't actually inquiring as to what that nonexistent motive would be.

God would not need to build a world of perfection. If he were perfectly good, he would simply instate a perfect world right from the start. And before you rant on about how we need perseverence and suffering for a perfect world, I will remind you: omnipotence.

I did show that he has to work that way. Removing evil is good and God is capable of doing that. Thus, if God truly were omnibenevolent and omnipotent, evil would not exist.

If God were truly omnibenevolent and omnipotent, he would not need us to experience suffering to understand Him. He could simply have instated us with that knowledge. And before you rant on about how we need to experience suffering to understand Him, I will remind you: omnipotence.

"We were never meant to discern good and evil"

Except for when God told us what they were, allegedly.

"we simply follow God's commandments"

Except when that would conflict with saving life, of course.

Yes, only an omniscient being understands everything. But you do not need to understand everything to understand certain key concepts such as omnipotence, omnibenevolence, and omniscience.

We can agree on certain things being good and evil most of the time is what I was saying. While the exact umbrella of morality is still yet to be pigeonholed, we can concur on basic things, such as how kidnapping a child and torturing them is generally immoral.

Job did not need to experience suffering to learn of God's great goodness because again...omnipotence.

You misunderstand my argument about the greater good. For humans who are not omnipotent, some evils are necessary to obtain greater goods because we have no other way. An omnipotent being does have another way to the greater good, a way to instate the greater good right from the start. That is the definition of omnipotence.

The debate may not be strictly focused on free will, but it is related and therefore I find it necessary to show that we have no reason to believe that free will exists.

How does forcing good display selfishness? If people could only perform good acts, then everyone would benefit. That is the opposite of selfishness.

The possibility of good in the future is inferior to the certainty of good for all time. Which God allegedly can create, being omnipotent, and should create, being omnibenevolent.

In summation:

Excuses for needing suffering to build experience fall flat because God could simply instate the experience gained knowledge in our brains without having to actually have anyone suffer. God can do this because God is omnipotent and can do anything.

Comparisons to humans making sacrifices to the greater good fall flat because humans are not omnipotent.

Using free will as a justification does not work for two reasons. Firstly, if free will can be a source of evil, there is not reason to create it. Secondly, free will does not exist.

Over to you, Pro.
Debate Round No. 3
Truth_seeker

Pro

"I am making no hidden assumptions. Omnibenevolence means that God will always choose the action that causes the greatest good. Having no evil is the greatest good. God knows of this, and is capable of carrying it out. Therefore, if God existed, He would have an obligation to remove all evil."

How do you know that omnibenevolence will always cause the greatest good and remove all suffering? The problem of evil never explicitly explains that.

I will now argue for why good and evil are interdependent and must co-exist. By looking at the original Hebrew, we will understand the concept of "evil" better and thus understand their relationship.

The Hebrew word "rasha" means "the one who departed from the right path" (1)

Tov is a word used (in Gen. 1) to describe his work as being functional, thus ra is dysfunctional (2).

Hebrew chattaah comes from a root meaning "to miss the mark." (3)

The tree of knowledge of good and evil is a merism which is a figure of speech describing something by enumerating it's different parts (4).

As you can see, evil is dependent on good. Death is simply the absence of life. Evil is simply a violation of good. Suffering is merely the lack, a disorder of physical and emotional health. You can only know evil if you know what is good. To eliminate absolutely all evil would also eliminate the greatest good. However to overcome evil is to simply display the greatest good.

"Then God should make it that way without having anyone actually having to suffer. Before you rant on about that being impossible, I will remind you: omnipotence."

You just admitted that the problem of evil isn't really a problem because even you agree that he should make the world in such a way that conforms to your desires rather than logically contradicting his very nature. You brought up omnipotence, but you also brought up omniscience, and omnibenevolence. They all must co-exist, thus you cannot simply focus on one attribute and ignore the rest. God can stop evil, but that doesn't mean that it's the morally best thing to do at the given moment.

I simply elaborated on my definitions, not change them.

God did not create them evil, their desires rose from knowing that which is good. Romans 7:7-8

"7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet." 8 "But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. "

It goes back to the argument of free-will, if God created man wholly good then that would be selfish.

"If saving life is ultimately what God cares about, what purpose do the commandments serve, especially if you can violate them for some greater purpose. That undermines the idea of defining morality by the commandments."

Not always, we are to obey the commandments to live in holiness from wickedness.

"God would not need to build a world of perfection. If he were perfectly good, he would simply instate a perfect world right from the start"

Like i said, that's an assumption of what a perfect being would do. A perfect God can create any world that he wishes according to his attributes.

"Removing evil is good and God is capable of doing that."

No where in the Bible is there such a concept of "removing evil." There is only choosing to do good despite temptations to do evil or retribution for evil deeds done in violation of good.

"If God were truly omnibenevolent and omnipotent, he would not need us to experience suffering to understand Him. He could simply have instated us with that knowledge"

If you eliminate the experience to suffer, you also eliminate the experience to be saved from physical and spiritual troubles which is contradicting omniscience and omnibenevolence.

I'm arguing that we do not possess the capacity to judge a God's actions as evil when we do not know all the facts of how the world works.

Free-will exists because you have already inclined yourself to obey certain principles, morals, ideas, etc.

"How does forcing good display selfishness? If people could only perform good acts, then everyone would benefit. That is the opposite of selfishness."

That's the problem: not everyone wants to do good. Some want to do evil (Hitler, criminals, etc.) To remove their choice to do so would be violating love.

"The possibility of good in the future is inferior to the certainty of good for all time. Which God allegedly can create, being omnipotent, and should create, being omnibenevolent."

Not sure what you mean here.

Conclusion:

The problem of evil is in no way a logical argument which we can deduce that God is an evil being. It's more of a personal problem, a disagreement with the way things are in the world. The problem of evil is technically saying "This is not how things should be, it should be like this!"

Sources:

1. http://jbutzu.wordpress.com...

2. http://www.ancient-hebrew.org...

3. http://biblehub.com...

4. http://www.wisegeek.com...
Surrealism

Con

Omnibenevolence will always cause the greatest good possible because that is the definition of omnibenevolence. Infinitely good, i.e, always taking the action that causes the most good.

Firstly, let me say that omnipotence means that God can do anything. So, no matter what objection you have to a perfect world, an omnipotent being can overcome that hurdle.

For example:

"To eliminate absolutely all evil would also eliminate the greatest good."

God can eliminate all evil without eliminating the greatest good because he can do anything. He's omnipotent.

"God can stop evil, but that doesn't mean that it's the morally best thing to do at the given moment."

By definition, stopping evil is good. God can do this with no negative side effects because he is omnipotent. God also being omniscient and omnibenevolent just means that he has no excuse to not eliminate evil.

"God did not create them evil, their desires rose from knowing that which is good."

If there truly was an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient God, He would not have made that possible. He could have made them with knowledge good and without the capability of evil. He can do anything. He is omnipotent.

"It goes back to the argument of free-will, if God created man wholly good then that would be selfish."

One: Free will does not exist.

Two: How is it selfish?

"Not always, we are to obey the commandments to live in holiness from wickedness."

You gave two examples in which the better thing to do was to violate the commandments. Thus, we are not to obey them.

"Like i said, that's an assumption of what a perfect being would do. A perfect God can create any world that he wishes according to his attributes."

He can, but if he were truly omnibenevolent he would create a world with no evil and only the greatest good. He can do that. He can do anything. He is omnipotent.

"No where in the Bible is there such a concept of "removing evil.""

Something does not need to be in the Bible to exist. Internet piracy is not in the Bible, but it certainly exists.

"If you eliminate the experience to suffer, you also eliminate the experience to be saved from physical and spiritual troubles which is contradicting omniscience and omnibenevolence."

God can simply create people with the experience to be saved and not the experience of suffering. He can do that. He is omnipotent.

"I'm arguing that we do not possess the capacity to judge a God's actions as evil when we do not know all the facts of how the world works."

That doesn't make sense. Not knowing all the facts doesn't mean we don't know any of them. We may not know everything, but we do know how omnipotence, omnibenevolence, and omniscience work.

"Free-will exists because you have already inclined yourself to obey certain principles, morals, ideas, etc."

If you are already inclined that means you don't have free will.

"To remove their choice to do so would be violating love."

How?

In summation, God can create a perfect world with the greatest good and no evil because he is omnipotent.

Over to you Pro.
Debate Round No. 4
Truth_seeker

Pro

"Omnibenevolence will always cause the greatest good possible because that is the definition of omnibenevolence. Infinitely good, i.e, always taking the action that causes the most good.

Firstly, let me say that omnipotence means that God can do anything. So, no matter what objection you have to a perfect world, an omnipotent being can overcome that hurdle."

"By definition, stopping evil is good. God can do this with no negative side effects because he is omnipotent. God also being omniscient and omnibenevolent just means that he has no excuse to not eliminate evil."

"If there truly was an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient God, He would not have made that possible. He could have made them with knowledge good and without the capability of evil. He can do anything. He is omnipotent."

"God can eliminate all evil without eliminating the greatest good because he can do anything. He's omnipotent."

"He can, but if he were truly omnibenevolent he would create a world with no evil and only the greatest good. He can do that. He can do anything. He is omnipotent."

"God can simply create people with the experience to be saved and not the experience of suffering. He can do that. He is omnipotent."

I believe that most have a misconception of the attributes of omnibenevolence, omniscience, and omnipotence. God cannot do certain things not because he's not able, it's because he cannot contradict his own nature. In truth, he must act according to his nature in order to display omnibenevolence, omniscience, and omnipotence.

Heb.6:18 says God cannot lie. He also cannot deny himself (2 Tim. 2:13) or be tempted with evil (James 1:13). If he violates himself then he's not God.

"How is it selfish?"

Your imposing your will on someone who cannot decide for themselves.

"Something does not need to be in the Bible to exist."

Because we are speaking of the Christian God, we must derive our beliefs from Scriptures. The Bible doesn't say that God removes evil from the will of the person, but he helps them overcome it.

"we do know how omnipotence, omnibenevolence, and omniscience work"

We cannot totally grasp these concepts on the nature of the Christian God. Any attempt to logically construct an argument on the mechanisms of omnipotence, omnibenevolence, and omniscience is not only speculation, but it's creating your own God. Any knowledge that we have of God is obviously only revealed in Scripture. Anything else is completely unknown and only accessible to God.

"If you are already inclined that means you don't have free will."

That is if you incline yourself from the start, but it's also possible to alter your choices.

"How?"

Your forcing your will on others.

Conclusion:

The best world that God can create is a world needing to be refined by his power, love, and goodness. By allowing suffering, God is also allowing good to come through experience. Suffering allows human beings to express compassion and sympathy towards one another and can be transformed as a force of good in the world to help mankind. It enables us to grow and become better individuals just as science progresses in it's studies of the fatal flaws of the human body and the like. Suffering and evil allows for us to fully practice God's goodness and problem-solving, not merely avoiding it all together.
Surrealism

Con

"God cannot do certain things not because he's not able, it's because he cannot contradict his own nature."

The functional difference between the two being nonexistent of course. Additionally, the notion of God not being able to do anything for any reason is contrary to his characteristic of being omnipotent.

"Your imposing your will on someone who cannot decide for themselves."

That is not how selfishness is defined. Selfishness is determined by whoever receives the greatest gain from an action. If you take actions with the aim being gain for yourself, you are selfish. If the aim is gain for everyone or for as many as possible, then you are being selfless. Since free will is a source of evil, not creating free will is selfless, not selfish. Additionally, free will does not exist.

"Because we are speaking of the Christian God, we must derive our beliefs from Scriptures. The Bible doesn't say that God removes evil from the will of the person, but he helps them overcome it."

Irrelevant. Even if we accept the Bible as true (which even in the context of this debate we only have to do that for the definition of God) then that doesn't mean that things outside of the Bible do not exist. The Bible does not mention God's approval or disapproval of internet piracy. Does that mean we must assume God has a neutral stance on this issue?

"We cannot totally grasp these concepts on the nature of the Christian God. Any attempt to logically construct an argument on the mechanisms of omnipotence, omnibenevolence, and omniscience is not only speculation, but it's creating your own God. Any knowledge that we have of God is obviously only revealed in Scripture. Anything else is completely unknown and only accessible to God."

But these traits are given in scripture.

God has omniscience Psalm 147;4-5
God has omnipotence Matthew 19:26
God has omnibenevolence Corinthians 1 Corinthians 13 [1]

Thus I have not described a separate God but in fact the God of Christianity.

"That is if you incline yourself from the start, but it's also possible to alter your choices."

It's only possible to alter your choices if free will exists, which it does not.

"Your forcing your will on others."

If you will is perfectly good (which God's allegedly is) then that supports love, rather than violating it.

"The best world that God can create is a world needing to be refined by his power, love, and goodness. By allowing suffering, God is also allowing good to come through experience. Suffering allows human beings to express compassion and sympathy towards one another and can be transformed as a force of good in the world to help mankind. It enables us to grow and become better individuals just as science progresses in it's studies of the fatal flaws of the human body and the like. Suffering and evil allows for us to fully practice God's goodness and problem-solving, not merely avoiding it all together."

Suffering is not needed. If God existed, we could have all the perfect traits of a perfect world without any of the suffering because God is omnipotent. Essentially, this is what it comes down to.

God is omnipotent.

Omnipotence means infinite power.

With infinite power comes infinite responsibility.

With responsibility comes blame for suboptimal outcomes.

With infinite responsibility comes blame for all suboptimal outcomes.

Thusly, with God would lie the blame for all suboptimal outcomes, if He existed.

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 5
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by UchihaMadara 2 years ago
UchihaMadara
Surrealism won this hands down.

@misshap @Shadow
you have got to be kidding me.

Only Pfalcon and Jellon's votes should have been counted.
Posted by Pfalcon1318 2 years ago
Pfalcon1318
For this debate, full Burden of Proof is on PRO.

Truth_seeker has failed to uphold his Burden of Proof. There are two forms of the problem of evil (PoE). One is related to Moral Evil and the other is related to Natural Evil.

PRO does not effectively address either version of the PoE. His discussion of free will has no relevance here. Perhaps if PRO had addressed free will as relates to the PoE, the discussion of free will would have some weight. As it is now, this is simply a red herring.

Furthermore, PRO fails to actually address the Problem of Evil in such a way that it's shown to be inherently flawed. At best, perhaps it is shown to be less plausible should you accept the assumptions made by Christianity. PRO brings up the concept of greater good, but I fail to see how this relates to the flaws within the Problem of Evil.

PRO's arguments are highly unconvincing, when taken by themselves. However, CON offers a number of objections to PRO's points that further erode their power.

Arguments to CON. All other areas are tied.
Posted by wrichcirw 2 years ago
wrichcirw
I skimmed this debate, read both openings and CON's closing. Full agreement with CON. The logical deconstruction at the conclusion was/is my own perspective on this as well.
Posted by Secular_Mike 2 years ago
Secular_Mike
Wiley, I agree with most of what you say. Primitive civilizations perspectives on just about everything was vastly different than ours today. The problem is that this debate is on the premise of the Christian God. This would imply that the Bible is being looked at as the "Word of God", or that "16) All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17) that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."(2 Timothy 3:16-17). You say.. "But to say that God is exactly like people thought Him 4,000 years ago is rather ludicrous.",which implies that you believe man wrote the Bible based on their understanding, which would contradict the Christian views of the Bible being the word of God written through prophets. If this is your stance, then you cannot take the Bible as evidence for anything because it is written from the perspective of man.
Posted by WileyC1949 2 years ago
WileyC1949
Secular, you are assuming that an ancient primitive people had a perfect concept of God. The Bible is not the story of what or whom God is; it is the story of one people's GROWTH in faith and understanding of God. It begins with a very primitive understanding ... a harsh, powerful being who is the "most high God" of all the gods whom exist and demands to worshiped by his "chosen people". As time goes on their understanding changes from this harsh deity to that of a ONE loving being who is concerned for all mankind. Christ came right at that time and put a rocket pack on the concept. This growth can be seen more clearly if you read the books in the order which they were written rather than the order they are included in the Bible. But to say that God is exactly like people thought Him 4,000 years ago is rather ludicrous.
Posted by Secular_Mike 2 years ago
Secular_Mike
So you accept the genocide & Slavery comment? That should be enough to get my point across. BTW....Numbers 31:17-18
Posted by Truth_seeker 2 years ago
Truth_seeker
Where does it say that he condones rape?
Posted by Secular_Mike 2 years ago
Secular_Mike
If God is omnipotent and created everything, then nothing could exist without his creation by definition. Even though I did not see you state that God created all, you are using the Bible as your logic therefore you have to take that stance. The Bible clearly shows that God in the Old Testament was a tyrant who condoned genocide, rape, and slavery. This clearly contradicts your moral evil argument, and shoots down any possibility of him being omnibenevolent.
Posted by Truth_seeker 2 years ago
Truth_seeker
You bring up very good points that I should have mentioned, but I don't think God created evil. I think that evil is in a sense the absence of good and rises from knowing what good is. Satan himself is not the origin of evil because evil desires already existed in man. Evil doesn't seem to have a clear origin, but it doesh ave a definite solution.
Posted by WileyC1949 2 years ago
WileyC1949
Pro, I have two comments.
First you overlook the fact that the Bible states clearly that God created evil. Thus, you definition of "omnibenevolent" is incorrect. Omnibenevolence does not mean that God "would want to prevent all evils", but rather that wishes us to have that which is good. The greatest good is complete selfless love... the same love Christ showed on the cross. The fact that Christ accepted the evil that was done to Him shows the tremendous lesson which evil can in fact teach us. It is my firm conviction that our physical life exists for the sole purpose of learning that selfless love. Love cannot be forced; by its very nature it must be freely given. Therefore God could not create us already "loving" Him. That would be a contradiction. It is something which we had to learn on our own. In the physical realm we are given the complete free will to do any and all evil even though it leads away from God and from love because it is ONLY when we have the complete freedom to do evil that we also have the freedom to reject that evil and do the good that leads towards God and love. This also explains why direct knowledge of His existence is denied us in the physical world. Without the existence of evil we could never learn to love. So by His allowing us to do evil He is also allowing us to choose to become good, hence His omnibenevolence. The fact that everyone does not make that choice is not His fault, it is man's. I think you see this as it is what you are hinting at in your comments on Job.
Secondly, He did not leave us orphans to just figure it out for ourselves. The real meaning behind the Adam and Eve story is not the physical creation of man, but rather the fact that we became fully human when we developed a conscience ("ate from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.") This is true whether you accept evolution or a instantaneous creation.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by mishapqueen 2 years ago
mishapqueen
Truth_seekerSurrealismTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had good arguments, and although this was a close round, Con did not quite convince me of his arguments.
Vote Placed by Pfalcon1318 2 years ago
Pfalcon1318
Truth_seekerSurrealismTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by Jellon 2 years ago
Jellon
Truth_seekerSurrealismTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I feel that the BoP lies on Pro to show that the Problem of Evil is logically invalid. Pro was able to show that there is a logical response to the problem (we must know everything to know if evil is what is best), but was unable to convince me that the problem of evil is inherently flawed according to the topic of this debate. Both sides argued very well. It is clear to me that there is enough intellectual material for anyone to believe what they want to. Con insisted that free will does not exist, but he did not prove that an omnipotent deity would be unable to create beings with free will. He also failed to see the difference between ability and willingness. I am physically able to murder someone, but I would never chose to do so without brain damage. Does that mean I am unable to commit murder? Does omnipotence require the ability and willingness to change character?
Vote Placed by ShadowKingStudios 2 years ago
ShadowKingStudios
Truth_seekerSurrealismTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro wins by 600,000 miles. The English definition for evil is "morally reprehensible" or "profoundly immoral and malevolent". http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evil ... This definition doesn't square with the Hebrew word for evil; it is "ra" which simply means, "distress, misery, injury, calamity" http://biblehub.com/hebrew/7451b.htm The Bible shows God orchestrating the Hebrew definitions but never the English definitions. Thus Pro met his BoP: "2) Natural evil - God allows natural disasters to occur in the world" which is exactly the Hebrew definitions not the English's ones.