Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Problem of Evil

1 . The Problem of Evil is a problem that relates to Theology, Cosmology, Anthropology,
Ethics & Politics, Soteriology, and Eschatology, chiefly; then, also to the other doctrines.
Therefore, its solution is pivotal.
2. Any theology that claims to be systematic, but fails to address the Problem of Evil
sufficiently is severely defective. It cannot be systematic; and if it is, its foundations are
weak.
3. Any Systematic Theology that relegates the Problem of Evil to the realm of mysteries is a
blank theology.
4. To unstrap the Problem of Evil is to touch the heart of reality; to feel the heartbeat of
God.

The brow of Prince Siddhartha wrinkled up in deep pondering. He thought hard, and forgot
the world around – all the whisperings of servants, chirpings of birds, and the presence of his
wife nearby. The four scenes that he had recently seen occupied his thoughts as the dusk
turned into the dark night. Sickness, decay, and death on one hand and the tranquility of the
ascetic on the other hand – these two contradictory sights that he had seen troubled him.
Finally, he donned the saffron robe and left his palace in search for Truth.

If a philosopher can denounce his philosophy over a toothache, his philosophy is worthless. It
is pain that makes one a philosopher; it is the philosophy that solves the problem of pain that
is worthy to be called philosophy in the end.

THE QUESTIONS:
Why is there evil in the world? Why is there a world? Is there a history-healing solution for
the problem of evil? because, if there is only a future solution, the past is left unameliorated.

FURTHER QUESTIONS:
The mother, with her four kids, looked at the SS man and asked, “See them, is it really
possible that you are going to have such lovely kids killed?” He didn’t answer. A few hours
after this, the kids were gassed in Hitler’s gas chambers.

If God governs the world, why does crime abound, why do accidents happen, and why is the
world bereft of peace? If God does not govern the world, then is it free of His jurisdiction? If
not, why doesn’t He govern?

PROBINGS:
Gautama: The root of evil is tanha, desire. One experiences evil as long as one experiences attachment. The solution is enlightenment.

In effect, the problem is subjective (epistemic and moral) and not objective. No God or
people are to blame for evil.

Upanisads: The root of evil is maya, the self-delusion of the Non-dual into differentiatedreality. In reality, there is no evil; because there is neither subject nor media nor object, neither the experiencer nor the medium of experience nor the experienced. The solution is enlightenment.

In effect, the problem is subjective (epistemic) and not objective. No God or people are to blame for evil.

Mahavira: The root of evil is karma, the physical aggregations of worldly indulgence. The more one indulges in the world, the more karma he accumulates leading to bondage to the world and consequent cycle of birth and rebirth, punarjanma. Evil is himsa, violence, that brings bondage. The solution is ahimsa and meritorious works, punya.

In effect, the problem is subjective (epistemic and moral) primarily. No God is to blame for evil. However, people do cause evil and suffer the consequences of it in the next birth. But,
one’s salvation from evil is one’s own responsibility. No one else is to blame, ultimately.

Augustine of Hippo: The cause of evil is two-fold: natural evil is caused by demons or fallen angels and moral evil is caused by sinful humans. The solution is eschatological: the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (grounded on the atoning work of Christ).

In effect, the problem is both subjective (moral) and objective (caused by others).

FURTHER PROBINGS:
The first three solutions apply to a universe where God does not exist, where that universe is
eternal. Non-dualism is also a kind of atheism, in which the existence of an objective God is
denied.

The fourth solution doesn’t answer the question why God allows evil, apart from the
proposition that God cannot obstruct free will. However, who is to blame if the policemen are
required to allow crimes to take place, while they are present, in order to uphold the right to
freedom (or free willing), in hope that justice will be meted out in the end?

SOLUTIONS:
The clue is from the Word. This is not philosophical theology.
1. This is not the best of all possible worlds.
2. If this is not the best of all possible worlds, this is not final.
3. If this is not final, this points to the final.
4. The final is the perfect.

1 . If freedom of will can exist without freedom to evil in the New Creation, then freedom of
will without freedom to evil is a possibility.
2. If freedom of will without freedom to evil doesn’t exist in this world, then this world is
evil.
3. If this world is evil, then it does not belong to God.
4. If this world belonged to God and now does not belong to God, then He has abandoned it
to destruction.
5. If this world is abandoned to destruction, then this world is cureless.
6. If this world is abandoned to destruction, then evil will escalate towards its end (by “evil”
both moral and physical are meant).
7. The world is evil escalating towards destruction.

1 . If evil escalates, then evil hasn’t reached finality.
2. If evil escalates, then evil is not infinite.
3. When evil reaches finality, it will destroy itself (A fully rotten apple is self-destroyed).

1 . If evil is discerned, then moral freedom exists. For, only sentient, moral beings can
discern the difference between good and evil (moral knowledge exists).
2. If moral freedom exists, then moral retribution exists.
3. If moral retribution exists, then the moral law exists.
4. If the moral law exists, then the moral law-giver exists.
5. If the moral law-giver exists, then He must be good and all-powerful. For, if not so His
law would be evil and He would be incapable of executing the Law.
6. The moral law-giver must be God.

1 . If God is good and all-powerful, then He would save the evil world.
2. If the world is evil, then it will die.
3. If the world is bound to die, then it can only be saved through resurrection.
4. If the world is to be saved through resurrection, then it must have the cause of
resurrection.
5. Only God can be the cause of resurrection.
6. Therefore, the salvation of the world consists in God becoming the cause of resurrection
within the world.
7. In the Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection of Christ, God became the cause of
resurrection within the world for those who accept the cause (Spirit of resurrection) while
alive on earth.
8. Thus, only those who accept the cause while living can experience the resurrection from
the dead and the justification of Jesus Christ.


Domenic Marbaniang, 2010

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