Friday, October 05, 2012

Response to "The Quick and Easy Guide to God"

The "quick and easy guide to God," is an image that has been circulating on the Internet in the form of a flow-chart.  The flow chart begins with the premise "evil exists."

I suppose that one easy way to address this chart is to point out that "evil" doesn't exist.  "Evil" is an abstract idea.  Moreover, "evil" is defined negatively by reference to "good."  Asking if concrete examples of "evil" exist is like asking if shadows exist.  Well, there are shadows, and we can talk about them, but they are really an absence of light.  In much the same way, physical evils are really absences of physical perfections and moral evils are any absence of conformity unto or transgression of the law of God.

But let's say that for the sake of argument, we grant that there is some sense in which "evil exists."

The next step of the chart asks, "Can God prevent Evil?"  The answer to that question, of course, is only "yes."  As the chart indicates, if you can  God cannot prevent evil, then you have denied that God is omnipotent (all-powerful).

The next step of the chart asks, "Does God know about all the Evil?"  The answer to that question, as well, as a firm "yes," because (as the chart indicates) if the answer were "no," it would imply that God is not omniscient (all-knowing).

The next step of the chart asks, "Does God want to prevent Evil?" The answer that question is, "no."  If the answer were "yes," the options one would be left with would be that either God is internally conflicted (he wants to prevent it, but he also doesn't want to prevent it), which would be denial of God's simplicity.

The chart objects to the answer, "no," alleging that "Then God is not good/ God is not loving."  But this does not follow.  It is not necessary that a good or loving God would want to prevent every Evil.

A good and loving God can have a good and loving reason for allowing evil.  Allowing evil to exist for a greater purpose is a rather obvious and example of how this may be the case.

We can stop the analysis right there, as we have found an important flaw in the flowchart.


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