Implausibility of God and Evil
The Epicurean Paradox is grounded in the idea of a quid pro quo, suggesting that God is expected to operate like a vending machine. Essentially, the paradox argues that the simultaneous existence of God and Evil is inherently inconceivable. Epicurus systematically presents this argument by making a series of unverifiable assertions based on undefined terms. According to Epicurus, God faces three possible scenarios: He wants to eliminate evil. Still, he lacks the ability, or He has the ability but lacks the desire, or He lacks both the will and the ability. Epicurus concludes that God cannot possess the will and the ability to counteract evil in a universe of evil.
Epicurus assumes a singular reality where God and evil coexist, but the paradox reveals the implausibility of such coexistence. Instead of addressing the fundamental issue of the incompatibility of evil with good, Epicurus builds his argument on assumptions he acknowledges as impossible. He then outlines the consequences of accepting these assumptions. However, examining the logical coherence of the paradox’s propositions is important.
The Epicurean Paradox seems logically sound when presented systematically, but its coherence relies heavily on adopting a naturalist perspective. This presupposition may seem peculiar, especially in discussions about God’s existence. Essentially, the proposition suggests that if God and Evil are fundamentally incompatible, and if God possesses all the attributed qualities, the coexistence of God and Evil becomes untenable. This proposition is based on a condition that does not exist; God and evil are mutually exclusive entities, and God, in His transcendence, exists beyond the influence of the malevolent paradigm.
The potential for confusion arises from differing interpretations of transcendence, leading to a point of contention that allows atheists to criticize the significance of Jesus’ death. They question why a divine entity would orchestrate a scenario where He sacrifices Himself to forgive humanity for a predicament He initiated. However, it is essential to recognize that assuming conditions incongruent with a proposition and refuting them does not invalidate the proposition itself. Instead, it exposes the inherent flaw in the premises forming the argument’s basis.
The argument regarding the assumption of Satan’s existence needs to be revised when examined from an atheistic perspective. It is crucial to understand that the notion of evil and its personification did not originate from God’s divine creation. Evil is not a created entity; everything brought into existence by God is inherently good. Therefore, acknowledging God as the creator implies that everything within existence inherently possesses goodness.
The misunderstanding arises from the erroneous assumption that scriptural discussions exclusively pertain to physical reality. In reality, when scripture mentions the flesh, it addresses ungodly aspects rather than commenting about the tangible world. The core issue lies in the failure to distinguish between good and evil, a divergence crucial in atheist reasoning.
Good and Evil
Atheists often trap themselves within a naturalistic perspective, mistakenly treating good and evil as equal and opposing forces. If this perspective were accurate, it would imply that God and Satan are equivalent yet opposing entities. However, informed individuals need to recognize that such a deduction cannot be derived from the essence of God.
Good and evil are philosophical opposites, representing abstract notions rather than tangible entities of equal significance. Evil, at its core, lacks genuine significance and intrinsic power. Unlike order, chaos does not inherently possess identical influential capabilities. The power attributed to evil is derived or stolen, contrasting sharply with the inherent immanence characterizing God’s power. While traditional associations with power often involve attributes like physical strength, weaponry, and numerical superiority in military personnel, an often overlooked aspect is the role of manufacturing capacity and logistics. It is widely acknowledged that an army’s sustenance is vital for its operational prowess, emphasizing that even an individual must have the necessary physical means to endure combat challenges.
The Epicurean Paradox presents a philosophical dilemma arising from Christians’ attempts to negotiate with and, in some cases, attribute substantive reality to evil. This theological puzzle persists because of a failure to recognize that evil is a human construct, necessitating its eradication through an ontological defeat. The crucial aspect here is understanding the precise nature of evil. Without a clear identification of evil, the pursuit of combating it remains ambiguous. It is essential to unravel the intricacies of creation to begin. A thorough comprehension of the Bible depends on acknowledging evil as a direct assault against creation, making a profound understanding of creation’s essence indispensable.
Christians should reconsider their conceptualization of evil, avoiding perceiving it as a tangible entity with Satan as its embodiment. The theological perspective asserts that God cannot be held responsible for the existence of evil as the creator of all that is good, deeming it morally objectionable to blame God for the cessation of evil.
Upon meticulous examination of the Bible, one should discern that God does not eliminate evil like turning off a tap to stop water flow. Instead, God takes action by imprisoning the devil and his demons and annihilating the corrupted elements influenced by their malevolence. The ultimate eradication of evil signifies the culmination of the antiquated and corrupted universe.
In alignment with divine prerogative, God has the authority to bestow and withdraw, asserting ownership over all emanating from His creation. The divine plan includes dissolving the former heavens and earth and benevolently providing a new, imperishable body for humanity. Noteworthy is the transcendence of temporal and spatial dimensions in this redefined reality—a paradigm shift into a pristine Creation that transcends the vulnerabilities of corruption.
Satan and the earth did not come into existence as tangible entities; instead, they were brought into being through the divine utterance of the word. This creation method highlights these entities’ inherent goodness at their inception. In contrast, physical manifestations lack an intrinsic moral quality and cannot embody goodness.
A more accurate understanding of creation involves seeing it as a manifestation of divine ideas and information disseminated by God. However, it is crucial to recognize that the conveyance of information is susceptible to corruption. The devil, identified in the Bible as the Father of Lies, has the ability and inclination to deceive. This deceptive nature allows the devil to distort and undermine the truth of the information provided by God, as truth is inherently associated with goodness and reliable information.
The malevolent force, commonly known as the devil, primarily exerts its corruptive influence on information rather than physical structures. This entity does not negate the truth; instead, it engages in misrepresentation, enabling those inclined to find justification for temporarily disregarding the truth. Nevertheless, it is essential to acknowledge that the truth remains impervious to annihilation or eradication. Perpetually, the truth endures in an unblemished state, ready to be accessed by those actively seeking its revelation. This enduring accessibility underscores the everlasting nature of truth, ensuring its discovery by those earnestly seeking it.
Legalists are keenly aware that they may face the consequences of their decisions in due course. However, they are prone to taking calculated risks and choosing expedient routes to compensate for later adverse outcomes. Many individuals within this paradigm are willing to lead challenging lives and embrace the possibility of a premature demise, considering such circumstances as a calculated trade-off they are prepared to undertake.
The embodiment of the philosophy characterized by immediate consumption and deferred payment finds its quintessence in debt. Liberals, adhering to this approach, willingly burden their future by seeking immediate gratification. The temptation of instant pleasure, combined with the belief that delayed gratification incurs a tangible cost, significantly influences their decision-making. However, it is crucial to recognize that debt is not merely an immediate liability but also a cumulative one, reducing future spending power. This nuanced understanding emphasizes the consequences of the consume-now-and-pay-later ethos, underscoring its adverse impact on financial sustainability.
It can be asserted that the manifestation of evil does not originate from the divine creator in a manner analogous to the genesis of goodness. That which aligns with virtue is inherently true, while malevolence represents the distortion and degradation of truth. The genesis of malevolence is attributed to Satan, not as a substantive or tangible entity, but as a perverse alteration of the goodness initially fashioned by God. However, it remains essential to acknowledge that the creator introduced the potential for evil through the instantiation of truth, which Satan subsequently chose to adulterate.
The deception propagated by Satan takes the form of what information theorists classify as “noise,” constituting a deliberate distortion introduced into the transmission of truth. The deceitful constructs fashioned by Satan aim to undermine the fidelity of conveying truth, leading to a consequential degradation of the veracity inherent in divine creation.
The contemplation arises regarding God’s ability to prevent the emergence of evil. Satan strategically poses this inquiry, anticipating a binary affirmative or negative consequence response. As explained earlier, the chosen response to this question holds no substantive impact, akin to asking whether an individual continues to mistreat their canine companion.
The investigation into whether God can prevent evil lacks meaningful significance as it assumes a presumptive stance, presupposing that evil is an entity born through a natural process. The question itself implies a separation between evil and God’s Creation. Suppose evil is seen as a created entity. In that case, the Epicurean Paradox suggests that God could have refrained from creating it or eliminated it after its emergence, likening it to the birth of an abomination. A fundamental flaw in this perspective lies in the assumption that harm is equivalent to evil. However, the occurrence of an event does not automatically label it as evil solely based on its impact on an individual. For example, receiving a billion dollars for a minor scraped toe does not inherently make the event evil.
Perhaps the underlying implication of The Epicurean Paradox is that God could have prevented the corruption of His truth. It suggests that Satan cannot corrupt the truth, and any perceived corruption results from individuals succumbing to fear, justifying their apprehensions. Importantly, the actions of Satan or humanity do not alter the inherent truth. The encountered evil is positioned as a consequence of our actions and choices. In this perspective, the truth of God remains pure and untarnished, as inherently good as when originally formed.
Atheists as Arbiters
The assertion that God is omniscient forms the basis for the conclusion drawn by atheists, who claim that God possesses knowledge of evil. Nevertheless, atheists often conflate metaphors and form analogies lacking relevance. The inquiry into the nature of knowing a lie arises, particularly when considering that the absence of truth characterizes a lie. It is crucial to clarify that omniscience entails comprehensive knowledge of the entirety of truth without associating it with an exhaustive awareness of every conceivable falsehood.
In their perspective, atheists assume the role of arbiters in determining what constitutes good and evil. They tend to categorize anything they find objectionable as inherently evil. This predisposition is evident in their stance on historical injustices, such as slavery, where moral evaluation is contingent upon the ethnicity of the individuals affected. The argument suggests that if slavery impacted Black individuals, it is deemed inherently evil, while instances, where Blacks enslaved Whites, are considered inconsequential and unworthy of acknowledgment.
The central question is not whether God is aware of the existence of slavery. However, it explores what makes slavery evil from your perspective, beyond being categorized as wrong or bad. Labeling a particular behavior as evil is plausible, yet determining its nature is not dependent on the faculties or emotions inherent in human minds.
Consideration is extended to a hypothetical scenario: the choice between assuming the role of Daniel, entrusted with governing Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom or embracing the status of a free individual stranded in an uninhabited wilderness without the means to procure sustenance and shelter. Beyond American plantations where cotton is harvested, other forms of servitude exist. A more pertinent question arises: Does God understand the distortion of His truth? Undoubtedly, this awareness exists, but corrupting His truth is not inherently evil, as such corruption resides solely within the realm of human cognition.
This corruption is undertaken only by those inclined to adulterate the truth, holding no sway over God or the truth itself. Similarly, the propagation of a falsehood about the distance walked, though constituting a lie, does not inherently embody evil. Despite its capacity to distort the truth, its lack of harm to the speaker preserves its non-evil character. While such an utterance may be considered a sin, the present discourse avoids delving into considerations of sin. The choice of individuals to engage in falsehoods remains their prerogative, and the acceptance of such untruths by others falls within their purview. In the absence of harm befalling the speaker, the classification of such actions as evil is precluded, especially considering God’s imperviousness to harm. The inquiry extends to an existential question: Why should God concern Himself with individuals opting to embrace falsehoods and forsake righteousness when such choices neither harm Him nor transgress His imperviousness? It is crucial to differentiate between actions constituting self-harm, classified as sins, and actions inherently designated as evil.
It leads us to inquire into the fundamental question of whether God desires to prevent the occurrence of evil. According to Epicurus, God cannot be considered benevolent if God does not wish to prevent evil. Conversely, if God aims to eradicate evil but cannot do so, then God cannot be deemed omnipotent. The next crucial consideration revolves around the precise definition of evil. For an act to be classified as evil, it requires substantive substantiation, constituting tangible detriment to the afflicted party. The quantifiable value of this detriment must be verified through a formalized adjudicative process. Essentially, murder is not merely the act of ending another human life; it signifies the annihilation of a life endowed with inherent value. The quantifiable value of the life in question must be ascertained through a rigorous and formal evaluative procedure.
We can diminish our inherent worth, and such actions are considered transgressions. Similarly, causing the inherent value of others to decline through our actions is seen as malevolence. The discernible lesson from these premises is that God possesses a substantial essence characterized by specific attributes. If God’s essence falls short of absoluteness, it would make Him incapable of meeting the criteria for His perfection.
For an advocate of Epicurus to successfully argue their case, they must first establish the proposition that malevolence directly impacts the perfection of God and obliges Him to prevent such malevolence from preserving the characteristics inherent in perfection. However, Epicurus fails to achieve this task. It remains clear that the existence of malevolence compromises neither God nor the truth of His nature.
The rationale behind Epicurus’s formulation of his paradox aligns with the same intellectual framework used by atheists when asserting that believers bear the responsibility of demonstrating the existence of God. Atheists posit this obligation despite their inability to prove the existence of physical reality. Essentially, atheists, by insisting on the substantiation of God’s existence, implicitly anticipate a confirmation of the existence of physical reality, creating an inherent logical inconsistency.
The question then arises: Can God, while maintaining perfect goodness and omnipotence, allow instances of deception and harm among individuals? Although such a scenario may be uncomfortable, the question asks whether God is obliged to intervene in human conflicts. The contention challenges the assumption that God is bound by an obligation to interfere in the discordant affairs of human beings. Despite God not conforming to a mechanistic model or operating on a strict quid pro quo basis, it remains evident that God is not subservient to human expectations.
Certainly, a more relevant question pertains to God’s omnipotence and whether it is conceivable for humanity to invoke divine concern for its well-being. The central question requiring clarification is the origin and assignment of responsibility for the existence of malevolence. This crucial investigation departs from the realm of God’s existence. The presence or absence of God does not determine the existence of malevolence, as the source of malevolence originates from humanity rather than the divine realm.
Therefore, the crucial question involves explaining the origins of malevolence and identifying the entity responsible for its resolution. The two aspects, the existence of God and the existence of malevolence exist as separate entities without any inherent correlation. Malevolence maintains an independent existence unaffected by the presence or absence of a divine entity.
Indeed, the essence of the matter lies in humanity’s ability to distance itself from the divine, thereby allowing the manifestation of malevolence. It becomes evident that malevolence manifests as a result of human agency rather than a direct consequence of divine intervention. Consequently, the discussion surrounding the existence of God becomes irrelevant to the question of malevolence, as the latter is rooted in the choices and actions of humanity.
In light of these considerations, it can be argued that atheists should contemplate whether divine forbearance should extend to their deliberate defiance. The inquiry about divine permission for individuals to persist in disobedience emphasizes the autonomy of human choice in fostering malevolence, making the presence or absence of God irrelevant to the fundamental issue at hand.
God’s inherent perfection and divine essence require His transcendence, placing Him beyond the boundaries of His creation. As a result, God remains unaffected by the abomination wrought by Satan, as Satan’s creation contradicts the nature of God. Satan, often identified as the antichrist, embodies a fundamental contradiction and rejection of everything consistent with the teachings of Jesus.
God rises above the pervasive evil that permeates the world in His transcendence, just as He surpasses the very creation He brought into existence. To comprehend the existence and origins of evil, it becomes crucial to approach this malevolent force on its terms. Evil fundamentally involves the destruction or infliction of harm upon the realities and truths concerning others.
Considering evil as a force capable of causing harm to the physical realm logically implies that evil must possess a tangible, physical substance. Understanding the existence of evil requires a parallel exploration into the roots of falsehoods. Lies, external to the truth, lack an inherent necessity for existence. Although humanity was endowed with truth, logical reasoning, and a prescribed path to perfection through Scriptural teachings, the conscious decision to deviate from this path has given rise to lies.
Unlike an inexorable force, lies are deliberate choices sentient beings make to evade the truth. The cessation of evil depends on humanity’s willingness to stop the propagation of falsehoods. Essentially, evil comes to a halt precisely when individuals abandon deceit. The end of falsehoods signifies the cessation of evil, as humankind can diminish its malevolent influence by choosing the path of truth and rectitude.
Considerable confusion persists due to the perspective held by liberals, who view their corrupted world as divinely created. Within this corrupted reality, they engage in their cognitive processes. In contrast, the reality or truth crafted by God is inherently logical. God, in His perfect nature, created a flawless reality guided by logic. This perfect logic represents an unblemished truth, enduring its existence devoid of evil, as logic itself is impervious to destruction. Truth, being intrinsically indestructible, persists even in the absence of malevolence. The voluntary acceptance of falsehoods is a matter of personal choice. God’s perfection prevents any action not in alignment with perfection; therefore, the creation of a reality without evil is well within His capabilities. This act of creation, as the manifestation of truth, does not diminish His perfection or omnipotence; rather, it is the essence that defines Him as God.
It is logically incongruous to inquire whether the divine entity can generate a realm without malevolence and, in the event of its infeasibility, to seek an explanation for such an occurrence. Similarly, the inquiry into the coexistence of a world without evil and the omnipotence of the divine presents a cognitive dissonance. Malevolence is absent within the flawless realm of the divine, characterized by inherent goodness. Its manifestation is relegated solely to human cognition, a subjective construct wherein deception serves as a veiling mechanism for truth.
The subjective nature of evil becomes apparent as it intertwines with human perception, whereby falsehood functions as a tool to obscure veracity. Assertions negating awareness or the existence of the divine do not nullify the inherent perfection of the divinely crafted world; rather, they are deemed fabrications within the paradigm that lack divine acknowledgment. An alternative and more pertinent inquiry emerges, examining the divine capability to intervene in the volitional pursuits of individuals. The affirmative response to this query emanates from the omnipotent nature of the divine, juxtaposed against the negative response rooted in the perfection of the divine, revealing a nuanced theological quandary.
This nuanced inquiry sheds light on an additional predicament that individuals, particularly those subscribing to liberal ideologies, may encounter due to their purported deceit. The veracity of this statement is contingent upon the existence of preconceived untruths within the liberal paradigm, implying potential difficulties in grappling with the multifaceted nature of theological discourse.
In reflecting on our connection with the divine, one may immerse oneself in the logical truths God presents. However, asserting God’s transcendence implies surpassing the very logic that forms the framework for our cognitive processes and reasoning abilities. It is proposed that God, in His transcendent nature, can encompass goodness and malevolence, yet His goodness remains absolute. The concept further asserts that God can simultaneously manifest as 100% divine and 100% human, grounded in His perfection and exemption from the limitations that define human perfection.
The inherent incapacity for God to be illogical is justified by His existence beyond the confines of human logic. Addressing the profound question of whether God could have created a world where free will coexists with the absence of evil, the affirmative is asserted – such a world has indeed been created by the divine. Paradoxically, despite the existence of this harmonious realm, some individuals choose not to partake in it. The perplexity surrounding the concept of free will is attributed to a fallacious association with evil, a misconception that requires rectification.
Within this narrative, the notion that lies assume an independent existence is introduced, observing that falsehoods, once uttered, acquire a life of their own. Additionally, individuals who engage in deceit forfeit their free will, descending into compulsive lying. Chronic liars find themselves ensnared in a theatrical existence, their lives unfolding as a staged performance for external observers. The revelation of the lie elicits astonishment, revealing the stark disparity between the observed reality and the perceived truth, highlighting the limited understanding that others possess about the genuine nature of the deceitful individual.
Why do individuals subscribing to liberal ideologies refrain from contemplating the possibility of establishing a community devoid of malevolence? The affirmative response to such a query exists, as it is indeed plausible. However, these individuals engage in deceitful practices concerning the nature of malevolence, effectively perpetuating falsehoods. Liberals assert the supposed malevolence inherent in reality, yet these fabrications fail to alter the immutable truth.
If humanity cannot achieve merit for God, implying an inability to attain salvation through deeds performed for the divine, the capacity to harm the Almighty through malevolent actions is ruled out. The distinction between virtuous and malevolent actions in the human realm holds no consequence for God, as the perfect nature of the divine entity remains impervious to both positive and negative influences. Consequently, malevolence does not have any significant impact on God.
What constitutes the divine purpose of God if not the collective effort to establish His church? The church essentially presents itself as the assembly of faithful individuals diligently carrying out God’s divine will through actions rooted in unwavering faith. If one harbors apprehension and skepticism towards the assembly of God’s people, it indicates a lack of faith in Himself. It is inconceivable for circumstances to arise where two followers of Christ cannot trust each other. Therefore, the presence of distrust necessitates a distinct separation.
Distrust, as the origin of fear, can initiate the formulation of social estrangement. Consequently, if mistrust prevails within the community of believers, it becomes imperative to embrace separation as a remedial course of action. The pervasive influence of fear, stemming from mistrust, serves as an architect in constructing social distance among individuals within the faith community.
The potency inherent in God’s word is unequivocal and unparalleled. The dichotomy between good and evil is comparable to the immiscibility of oil and water; their coalescence is impossible. The only way good can intertwine with evil is by abandoning truth in favor of deception. With faith, executing deeds grounded in faith becomes an attainable feat. Actions propelled by faith are inherently virtuous, given their capacity to generate value, which, by necessity, denotes the absence of malevolence. Disobedience, constituting the transgression against established moral principles, epitomizes the essence of evil, serving as the agent through which harm befalls the inherently good, perpetuated by disseminating falsehoods.
Reflecting on the theological premise that posits the creation of reality by a divine entity and deems it inherently good, it becomes crucial to assert that what God has brought into existence possesses intrinsic value. The concept of evil, with its destructive nature, undermines the goodness inherent in creation, thereby diminishing its intrinsic value. Understanding the nature of evil and facilitating its discernment hinges on the ability to measure what is considered good quantifiably. This responsibility extends to the ecclesiastical realm, where the church must be able to gauge and appraise the value inherent in the divine creation.
The measurement of value, a critical endeavor, is accomplished through units of account, typically taking the form of currency in colloquial contexts. However, it is crucial to exercise caution and refrain from using assets as a primary unit of account. While serving as a medium of exchange, assets are unsuitable to function as a unit of account due to their possession of intrinsic value. The reservoir of value that distinguishes a thing as an asset is why it is unsuitable for this particular role. Thus, a judicious distinction between assets and units of account is vital to preserving the integrity of the measurement and evaluation of value within theological and economic frameworks.
Assets and Units
The use of asset-backed currency incentivizes the proliferation of theft and fraudulent activities within the economic system. The absence of currency tied to tangible assets would render the state’s sustenance improbable. Referring to the teachings of Jesus, it is conveyed that individuals should render unto Caesar what rightfully belongs to him, with explicit allusions to an asset currency, notably in the form of gold. The contention posited here is that asserting assets as personal property equates to the wrongful appropriation of that inherently belongs to God, as elucidated in the narrative of the Garden of Eden.
In the concluding clause of the paradox, the inquiry revolves around the potentiality of God fashioning a universe wherein free will coexist without evil. The response to this contemplation is affirmative; indeed, such a universe has been fashioned and continues to subsist. Individuals are free to engage in falsehoods, yet this exercise of choice does not wield any influence over the principles of logic or the fabric of reality.
The consequences of our falsehoods materialize in the devaluation of worth within our spheres, representing a deliberate action rather than an inherently malevolent deed. The perpetuation of a sinful world directly results from the spread of untruths. To liberate oneself from this undesirable reality, ceasing self-deception concerning the nature of truth becomes crucial. The recognition of intrinsic value and goodness is innate within us, guiding the establishment of a House Church—a community of individuals united by faith, working earnestly to strengthen what is considered virtuous.
- Banerjee, S. (2023). The epicurean paradox. Times of India.
- Flynn, P. Resolving the Epicurean Paradox of God and Evil. Chronicles of Strength.