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Didaktikon
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Date Posted:11/08/2008 1:31 PMCopy HTML

Good evening, all.

Every so often some well meaning but ill-informed person pops up here, and tells us all that it's "illogical" for God to exist, usually because of nothing more substantive than the fact of evil. But as generally proves to be the case, there's often little more than the fact of the word "logic" in the logic of the proposition itself! What I hope to do in this brief post is set out some principles of logic, providing demonstrations of how it works, by applying it in the shape of my own, personal theodicy. It would probably help to define some terms to begin with, and I think I'll commence with theodicy.

Theodicy, simply put, is the philosophical term which describes a justifying explanation of why God permits evil, thereby responding to the problem of evil. Importantly; however, a theodicy is not the same as a defence. The former simply seeks to demonstrate how it's logical to postulate that an all-knowing, all-powerful and good God can exist in spite of the fact of evil. The latter, by contrast, seeks to refute atheistic arguments from evil without comitting to a positive claim about the divine reasons for it. But the two are often confused by a good many well-meaning Christian apologists, which often has the nett effect of providing a defence that's no more reasonable, or "logical", than is the contrary position that led to the defence!

Now logic, simply put, deals with the methods of valid thinking; it reveals how to draw proper conclusions from premises. Irrespective of the form of logic under consideration, and there are many, there exists three fundamental laws to all rational thought. They are, (1) the law of non-contradiction: A is not non A; (2) the law of identity: A is A; and (3) the law of excluded middle: either A or non A. Beyond these very basic principles, there are principles of valid inference, and I'll probably touch on all of these when I refute the inevitable challenges that this post will prompt Foot in mouth

Anyway...

It's not my aim to touch on the origin of evil at this point, suffice it to say (with Thomas Aquinas), that ultimate cause rests with God. To consider this by way of propositional logic, my prefered form: (1) God is absolutely perfect; (2) God created only perfect creatures; (3) one of the perfections that God gave to some of his creatures was perfect choice; (4) some of these creatures freely chose to do evil; (5) therefore, a perfect creature caused evil. However, it's important to distinguish between the primary cause of a free action (God), and the secondary cause (a human being). Whilst God gave the power of choice, he's not responsible for the exercise of that free choice to do evil: God doesn't perform the free action for us. Also, and contrary to the position promoted by Christians having an Arminian slant, human free choice isn't a mere instrumental cause through which God necessarily works. Human beings are the efficient, albeit secondary, cause of their own free actions. God produces the fact of free choice, but each human being performs the act of free choice. Logically, then, God is responsible for the possibility of evil, but we are responsible for the actuality of it.

To summarise thus far: God neither wills evil to be done, nor does he will it not to be done. He simply wills to permit evil to be done.

It's probably best to briefly scope out just what is evil at this point. And I'll begin by stating what it's not: evil isn't a coeternal principle outside of God, so the issue isn't one of dualism. By using propositional logic again, I can postulate that: (1) God is the author of absolutely everything. (2) Evil is something. (3) Therefore, God is the author of evil! If we reject the first principle, we end up with dualism. If we deny the second, then we're basically admitting that we're off with the fairies! To agree that God didn't create all things is to deny his sovereignty; to say evil is nothing is to deny reality. The third possibilty is the one that follows logically from these premises. But, and the buts are always important(!), the thinking Christian should respond with the point that evil isn't a thing or a substance, it's actually a lack (or a privation if you want to speak the jargon) of a good thing that God made. Evil, put simply, is a deprivation of some particular good. Back to propositional logic: (1) God created every substance. (2) Evil isn't a substance, but is a privation in a substance. (3) Therefore, God didn't create evil! Now, and to build on from this, it's just as important to note that a privation isn't the same as a mere absence or negation. Sight is absent in a rock, just as it is in a blind person. But the absence of sight in a rock isn't a privation; by nature it shouldn't be able to see, whilst the blind person should be able to. And to suggest that evil isn't a thing, but a lack in things, isn't to suggest that it's not real. Evil is a very real lack in good things (ask a blind person!). Further, whilst evil isn't a real substance, it is a very real privation in real substances. And finally, while evil isn't an actual entity, it is a very real corruption in an actual entity.

I'll conclude this post by touching on the fact of the persistence of evil; why does God allow it? Now, even if God didn't produce evil (a position that has been defended, logically, above), he apparently does permit it. But God is all-powerful and so he could destroy evil. So... why doesn't he?! Just to surprise eveyone who has made it through my post this far, I'll respond by way of ... you guessed it ... propositional logic! (1) If God is all good, then he'd destroy evil. (2) If God is all powerful then he could destroy evil. (3) But evil isn't destroyed. (4) Therefore, there isn't God! All you atheists out there are probably going, "Yeeeeaaaaahhhh!" right about now. But ...

(1) God can't do what's actually impossible. (2) It's actually impossible to destroy evil without also destroying free choice. (3) But freedom of choice is necessary to a moral universe. (4) Therefore, God can't destroy evil without also destroying this moral universe. Going back to our basic laws of logic, it's impossible for God to do what's contradictory, and even an omnipotent being can only do what's possible (he can't make square circles, for instance). And it's not possible to force people to freely choose the good: forced freedom is a contradiction. Therefore, God can't literally destroy evil without also annihilating free choice. When there's no moral free choice, there's no possibility of moral good either. Unless hate is possible, love isn't possible.

Finally, Christianity teaches that even though God could not destroy all evil without destroying all good, he can and will overcome all evil without destroying free choice. (1) God is all good and desires to defeat evil. (2) God is all powerful and is able to defeat evil. (3) Evil isn't yet defeated. (4) Therefore, one day it will be. The infinite and absolute power and perfection of God gurantees the eventual defeat of evil. Until then, we live with it's consequences in our lives.

So there you have it, my theodicy, and a logical defence for the co-existence of evil and the Christian God!

Blessings,

Ian

P.S. I intentionally didn't want to get drawn into discussions of the purpose of evil at this stage, but maybe I will later! 
email: didaktikon@gmail.com
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Re:A thinking theodicy and a little lesson in logic

Date Posted:12/08/2008 8:33 AMCopy HTML

Sooo...

God created the substance although, being omnipotent, he had the ability to foresee any corruption that could occur.

God knowingly created a corruptible substance.

Therefore God created the potential for evil.

Man realised this potential.

Someone decided to pull the trigger of a gun that was placed in their hands.

Is then God ultimately responsible for evil,

or

Man?

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Re:A thinking theodicy and a little lesson in logic

Date Posted:12/08/2008 8:45 AMCopy HTML

(Reply by a non-member of the forum who viewed the original post at a blog without the author's knowledge)

I'll take a quick stab at this.

First off I want to verify that you state the premise that God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving. If this is incorrect, then let me know.

By definition and all-knowing God knows everything. God is eternal and thus knows everything in the past and in the future. He knew when he sent this whole universe into motion exactly what would happen always. He knew who would use their free will to "choose evil." If he knows how I will decide and set it into motion, then how do I have free will? God knew when he created the universe that at this time, I would choose not to believe in him. If he didn't know, then he is not all-knowing, but that gives me back free will. They are mutually exclusive so you must choose whether you want us to have free will or for God to be all-knowing, but you can't have both.

Next, if the ultimate goal is for us to reach heaven and be with him and that is the best thing in the universe to strive for, but we're not allowed free will anymore once we get there, then it goes to reason that free will is actually bad and not having free will is the ultimate in goodness. So God, instead of making us already happy and wonderful in heaven with him, purposefully created us as substandard beings with the hope that through our flaws would somehow reach him? Isn't that a bit sadistic? If you choose to say that God did it that way because he had to, then you are stating that there is a rule or law of the universe that he himself had to follow, which shows that God is not all-powerful, that he himself does not create morality, but has to follow it, and that there are things greater than him. Again, you are left with the choice of A) God is all-powerful, but chose to create us to suffer with the negative aspect of free-will instead of just making us in heaven, happy or B) God is not all-powerful and has to follow a set of rules greater than him. If you argue that we will still have free will in heaven, then why can't I choose to follow him and believe in him after I die and I meet him and actually have some evidence for his existence? If the whole point of free will is to put us through a sadistic game where we have to choose him with no evidence before we die, then it is not logical for us to still have free will after we die. If we do, then there is no point for this sadistic game we go through.

Next is the question that if God is in fact all-powerful, then he could have created a universe that did not involve suffering but allowed for free will and the ability to choose things. If a simple being like me can imagine such a place, than an infinitely powerful creature that created everything could have done it. If he couldn't do it then he is not all-powerful.

Next, I have some issues with some of your assumptions. How come evil isn't a substance, but good is? If you say that evil isn't a substance, but is a privation in a substance, I can say the same about good. Does that mean that God didn't create good? By your logic that is what it means. And how are you able to say that it's impossible to destroy evil without also destroying free choice? Based on what? And why is freedom of choice necessary to a moral universe? How did you arrive at those assumptions/conclusions? If God had created a universe in which evil didn't exist, then we could sit around all day and still debate freedom of choice, because we'd never even be aware of the choice of evil. We only assume it has to exist so that we can have a choice between the two existent choices! What if, hypothetically, the universe is ruled by 3 choices? Good, Evil, and Dingleloop? No human has ever been aware of Dingleloop, so we think our only choices are between Good and Evil. So if God created a universe without the concept of evil, we could still have choice, still have morality, but not have to suffer. If he created it this way because he had to, then again, he had to follow a higher rule.

I'm terribly sorry but all these wonderful presentations of yours only go to show the ridiculous mental gymnastics required to belief and justify to oneself the concept of a god. I'll stick with valid logic and reason.
Here's a great article illustrating how bad all the apologists excuses for evil are:

http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2007/03/god-of-eth.html

And here's a great article about the illusion of free will:
http://atheistethicist.blogspot.com/2008/08/morality-and-absence-of-free-will.html
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Re:A thinking theodicy and a little lesson in logic

Date Posted:12/08/2008 10:57 AMCopy HTML

Guest

You call this 'valid logic and reason' ??

" He knew who would use their free will to "choose evil." If he knows how I will decide and set it into motion, then how do I have free will? God knew when he created the universe that at this time, I would choose not to believe in him. If he didn't know, then he is not all-knowing, but that gives me back free will. They are mutually exclusive so you must choose whether you want us to have free will or for God to be all-knowing, but you can't have both."

So if God knows that you'll choose evil and then because of free will lets you, that means he's not all-knowing??

Not a very 'logical or reasonable' point and I really can't work out why you think they are 'mutually exclusive'?

Urchin
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.
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Re:A thinking theodicy and a little lesson in logic

Date Posted:12/08/2008 12:09 PMCopy HTML

Urchles, I think you're missing the irony in the whole predestination bit.

After reading Ian's piece, the first thing that came to my mind was the prospect that free choice will be done away with after some victory of evil is had. A time is coming when god will no longer permit evil to be done? My argument is that this time should have been a long time ago. Long before men were allowed to suffer. God lets the devil have a go at Job? Nasty god. What is this future event coming that will undo all the evil before it and set in place a new balance where there is no longer a choice to do evil or shades thereof. Six hundred billion years from now... still no ability to question the authority? A trillion years from now, the brief moment in history when there was free choice and free thought becomes but a very distant memory of the new eternal robots.

[LINK SiteName=Mothrust: Movies and Modern Myth Target=_blank]http://aintchristian.blogspot.com.au/[/LINK] Be nice, for everyone that you meet is fighting a harder battle - Anita Roddick
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Re:A thinking theodicy and a little lesson in logic

Date Posted:12/08/2008 1:01 PMCopy HTML

Hiya, Guest.

I'll take a quick stab at this.

Good for you.

First off I want to verify that you state the premise that God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving. If this is incorrect, then let me know.

'Nope', that's my position alrightie.

By definition and all-knowing God knows everything. God is eternal and thus knows everything in the past and in the future. He knew when he sent this whole universe into motion exactly what would happen always. He knew who would use their free will to "choose evil." If he knows how I will decide and set it into motion, then how do I have free will?

Hardly! What you've offered above is little more than a logical fallacy. Consider: God's exhaustive knowledge isn't necessarily constrained by your ability to freely choose. Further, there comes a point at which you do or will make a choice; prior to that point being reached/actualised, however, all that exists is the potential that you do or will make a choice. And importantly, God judges us by what we do (realised action), not by what we might do at some point in the future as perceived by us (unrealised action).

God knew when he created the universe that at this time, I would choose not to believe in him. If he didn't know, then he is not all-knowing, but that gives me back free will. They are mutually exclusive so you must choose whether you want us to have free will or for God to be all-knowing, but you can't have both.

Wrong. What you've offered isn't a "mutually exclusive" set of propositions at all, nor even a paradox. It is in fact, as I said, a rather simple logical fallacy; one that resulted from the faulty pre-conditions that underpinned your thought process (and might I add, your entire argument).

Next, if the ultimate goal is for us to reach heaven and be with him and that is the best thing in the universe to strive for, but we're not allowed free will anymore once we get there, then it goes to reason that free will is actually bad and not having free will is the ultimate in goodness.

Still more faulty premises. First, what makes you think that the "ultimate goal" is for us to reach heaven? From a Christian perspective, "reaching heaven" isn't the ultimate goal, heaven reaching us, however, is. Second, who is it who says that redeemed beings won't be allowed freedom of will in the Eschaton? From whence comes this supposition? But to move the argument forwards a bit, why must eternal redemption equal transformation into an automaton? Eh?

So God, instead of making us already happy and wonderful in heaven with him, purposefully created us as substandard beings with the hope that through our flaws would somehow reach him? Isn't that a bit sadistic?

No, but it is a thoroughly illogical thing to propose. Consider, why (or even how) would God creating "perfect" beings in heaven be any different to creating "perfect" beings on earth? After all, "perfection" describes a superlative, a state that can't be improved upon, therefore "location" is completely irrelevant. Second, the word "perfect" requires some qualification: perfect for what, exactly? Perfect for communing with God? Or perfect in nature, knowledge and authority so as to be like God?

If you choose to say that God did it that way because he had to, then you are stating that there is a rule or law of the universe that he himself had to follow, which shows that God is not all-powerful, that he himself does not create morality, but has to follow it, and that there are things greater than him. Again, you are left with the choice of A) God is all-powerful, but chose to create us to suffer with the negative aspect of free-will instead of just making us in heaven, happy or B) God is not all-powerful and has to follow a set of rules greater than him. If you argue that we will still have free will in heaven, then why can't I choose to follow him and believe in him after I die and I meet him and actually have some evidence for his existence?

Really? But then again, (a) I didn't state anything of the sort, you did; and (b) it was God himself who ordained that one's future destiny is determined by one's current activity. They're his rules, not mine. 

If the whole point of free will is to put us through a sadistic game where we have to choose him with no evidence before we die, then it is not logical for us to still have free will after we die. If we do, then there is no point for this sadistic game we go through.

You keep saying, "if". Who is it that says the "whole point of free will is to put us through a sadistic game"? And on what propositional basis was this premise reached? I'll say one thing about it though it certainly hasn't been defended by anything approaching rational or "logical" reasoning thus far. All that you've done is ask rhetorical questions which have no bearing on the consistency (or otherwise) of my proffered theodicy.

Next is the question that if God is in fact all-powerful, then he could have created a universe that did not involve suffering but allowed for free will and the ability to choose things. If a simple being like me can imagine such a place, than an infinitely powerful creature that created everything could have done it. If he couldn't do it then he is not all-powerful.

Do you think? Consider the following propositions: (1) God isn't obligated to create any universe/world, given that his own existence is the supreme good (and not your existence or mine, which is the apparent basis of your reasoning). (2) Creating a universe/world is a fitting thing for God to do, but it's not the only fitting thing for him to do. Whatever he chooses to do is done on the basis of reason, but such reasons aren't necessary laws in this universe. (3) There are an infinite number of finite contingent possible universes/worlds. Some are, by their very nature, inherently evil, so God couldn't create them. However, there is more than one good possible universe/world which God could have created. But there is no such thing as a best possible world. (4) God was free with respect to whether or not he should create, and with respect to which of the good possible universes/worlds he would create, if he chose to create. Capiche?

For what it's worth to you, I'd suggest that if you struggle with this concept, that you should locate and read some of Gottfried Leibnz's work.

Next, I have some issues with some of your assumptions. How come evil isn't a substance, but good is? If you say that evil isn't a substance, but is a privation in a substance, I can say the same about good. Does that mean that God didn't create good? By your logic that is what it means.

Not even closely. What you're actually attempting to do, above, is challenge the theological "truth-claims" that underpin my theodicy. And remember that I stated up-front in my first post that a theodicy isn't a defence of God that needs to convince you of anything; it's simply a demonstration of internal consistency that conforms to the basic laws of logic. The only person it needs to convince is me Now, a foundational premise from which I constructed my theodicy was that God is "good". Consequently, "goodness" is an attribute of God. Evil, however, isn't an attribute of a "good" God, therefore it's non-substantial given that a "good" God created all things, and declared them to be "good" (in substance). So, as I hope you can see, you can take whatever issues you wish to take regarding my assumptions, such don't challenge the internal and logical consistency of my theodicy at all. What they do; however, at best, is call into question the validity of the underpinning "truth-claims", themselves. But in doing as much, you've strayed into the field of apologetics and away from testing the logic of my theodicy. 

And how are you able to say that it's impossible to destroy evil without also destroying free choice? Based on what?

Read my post again, and you just might see.

And why is freedom of choice necessary to a moral universe? How did you arrive at those assumptions/conclusions?

Logical reasoning, so please take another peek at my post. It's in there.

If God had created a universe in which evil didn't exist, then we could sit around all day and still debate freedom of choice, because we'd never even be aware of the choice of evil. We only assume it has to exist so that we can have a choice between the two existent choices!

Hmmm. I have to ask: did you actually read my post? In it I stated that God created a universe devoid of actualised evil, not the potential for evil (and remember, evil is a privation and not a substance). So I do wonder from whence came your assumptions.

What if, hypothetically, the universe is ruled by 3 choices? Good, Evil, and Dingleloop? No human has ever been aware of Dingleloop, so we think our only choices are between Good and Evil.

Sorry, but you've strayed completely outside the scope of my theodicy. What you're currently trying to do is pit your "world-view" against mine (which is, as I've already mentioned, to stray into the realm of apologetics). What you need to do, and what you should be doing, is seeking to challenge the internal consistency of my propositions as they stand. In effect, you're attempting to prove something, rather than disprove the coherence of my theodicy!

So if God created a universe without the concept of evil, we could still have choice, still have morality, but not have to suffer. If he created it this way because he had to, then again, he had to follow a higher rule.

"If", "if", "if"?

I'm terribly sorry but all these wonderful presentations of yours only go to show the ridiculous mental gymnastics required to belief and justify to oneself the concept of a god. I'll stick with valid logic and reason.

I might be so bold as to suggest that yours are two rather significant claims, neither of which is supported by anything even remotely approaching the use of rational thought by way of logical method. Given that you apparently can't quite distinguish the basis of this discussion, and that is the distinction between theodicy and a  defence for the existence of God, I find it rather difficult to take seriously your claim to "stick(ing) with valid logic and reason."

Hoo, roo.

Ian

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Re:A thinking theodicy and a little lesson in logic

Date Posted:12/08/2008 1:16 PMCopy HTML

(Reply by a non-member of the forum who viewed the original post at a blog without the author's knowledge)

Ian said,

(2) It's actually impossible to destroy evil without also destroying free choice.

Christians have never proven this premise, which is the lynchpin of all free will defenses, and there is good reason to think that it can never be proven. Therefore, Ian's defense fails.

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Re:A thinking theodicy and a little lesson in logic

Date Posted:12/08/2008 1:17 PMCopy HTML

Hiya, Guest.

I'll take a quick stab at this.

Good for you.

First off I want to verify that you state the premise that God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving. If this is incorrect, then let me know.

'Nope', that's my position allrightie.

By definition and all-knowing God knows everything. God is eternal and thus knows everything in the past and in the future. He knew when he sent this whole universe into motion exactly what would happen always. He knew who would use their free will to "choose evil." If he knows how I will decide and set it into motion, then how do I have free will?

Hardly! What you've offered above is little more than a logical fallacy. Consider, God's exhaustive knowledge isn't necessarily constrained by your ability to freely choose. Further, there comes a point at which you do or will make a choice; prior to that point being reached/actualised, however, all that exists is the potential that you do or will make a choice. And importantly, God judges us by what we do (realised action), not by what we might do at some point in the future as perceived by us (unrealised action).

God knew when he created the universe that at this time, I would choose not to believe in him. If he didn't know, then he is not all-knowing, but that gives me back free will. They are mutually exclusive so you must choose whether you want us to have free will or for God to be all-knowing, but you can't have
both.

Wrong. What you've offered isn't a "mutually exclusive" set of propositions at all, nor even a paradox. It is in fact, as I said, a rather simple logical fallacy; one that resulted from the faulty pre-conditions that underpinned your thought process.

Next, if the ultimate goal is for us to reach heaven and be with him and that is the best thing in the universe to strive for, but we're not allowed free will anymore once we get there, then it goes to reason that free will is actually bad and not having free will is the ultimate in goodness.

Still more faulty premises. First, what makes you think that the "ultimate goal" is for us to reach heaven? From a Christian perspective, "reaching heaven" isn't the ultimate goal, heaven reaching us, however, is. Second, who is it who says that redeemed beings won't be allowed freedom of will in the Eschaton? From whence comes this supposition? But to move the argument forwards a bit, why must eternal redemption equal transformation into an automaton? Hmmm?

So God, instead of making us already happy and wonderful in heaven with him, purposefully created us as substandard beings with the hope that through our flaws would somehow reach him? Isn't that a bit sadistic?

No, but it is a thoroughly illogical thing to propose. Consider, why (or even how) would God creating "perfect" beings in heaven be any different to creating "perfect" beings on earth? After all, "perfection" describes a superlative, a state that can't be improved upon, therefore "location" is completely irrelevant.
Second, the word "perfect" requires some qualification: perfect for what? Perfect for communing with God? Or perfect in nature, knowledge and authority so as to be like God?

If you choose to say that God did it that way because he had to, then you are stating that there is a rule or law of the universe that he himself had to follow, which shows that God is not all-powerful, that he himself does not create morality, but has to follow it, and that there are things greater than him. Again, you are left with the choice of A) God is all-powerful, but chose to create us to suffer with the negative aspect of free-will instead of just making us in heaven, happy or B) God is not all-powerful and has to follow a set of rules greater than him. If you argue that we will still have free will in heaven, then why can't I choose to follow him and believe in him after I die and I meet him and actually have some evidence for his existence?

Really? But then again, (a) I didn't state anything of the sort, you did; and (b) it was God himself who ordained that one's future destiny is determined by one's current activity. They're his rules, not mine. 

If the whole point of free will is to put us through a sadistic game where we have to choose him with no evidence before we die, then it is not logical for us to still have free will after we die. If we do, then there is no point for this sadistic game we go through.

You keep saying, "if". Who is it that says the "whole point of free will is to put us through a sadistic game"? And on what propositional basis was this premise reached? I'll say one thing about it, though, it certainly hasn't been defended by anything approaching rational or "logical" reasoning thus far. All you've done is ask rhetorical questions which have no bearing on the consistency (or otherwise) of my proffered theodicy.

Next is the question that if God is in fact all-powerful, then he could have created a universe that did not involve suffering but allowed for free will and the ability to choose things. If a simple being like me can imagine such a place, than an infinitely powerful creature that created everything could have done it. If he couldn't do it then he is not all-powerful.

Again, really? Consider the following propositions: (1) God isn't obligated to create any universe/world, given that his own existence is the supreme good (and not your existence or mine, the apparent basis of your reasoning). (2) Creating a universe/world is a fitting thing for God to do, but it's not the only fitting thing for him to do. Whatever he chooses to do is done on the basis of reason, but such reasons aren't necessary laws in this universe. (3) There is an infinite number of finite contingent possible universes/worlds. Some are, by their very nature, inherently evil, so God couldn't create them. However, there is more than one good possible universe/world which God could have created. But there is no such thing as a best possible world. (4) God was free with respect to whether or not he should create, and with respect to which of the good possible universes/worlds he would create, if he chose to create. Capiche?

For what it's worth to you, I'd suggest that if you struggle with this concept, that you should locate and read some of Gottfried Leibnz's work.

Next, I have some issues with some of your assumptions. How come evil isn't a substance, but good is? If you say that evil isn't a substance, but is a privation in a substance, I can say the same about good. Does that mean that God didn't create good? By your logic that is what it means.

Not even closely. What you're actually attempting to do, above, is challenge the theological "truth-claims" that underpin my theodicy. And remember that I stated up-front in my first post that a theodicy isn't a defence of God that needs to convince you of anything; it's simply a demonstration of internal consistency that conforms to the basic laws of logic. The only person it needs to convince is me. Now, a foundational premise from which I constructed my theodicy was that God is "good". Consequently, "goodness" is an attribute of God. Evil, however, isn't an attribute of a "good" God, therefore it's non-substantial given that a "good" God created all things, and declared them to be "good" (in substance). So, as I hope you can see, you can take whatever issues you wish to take regarding my assumptions, such don't challenge the internal and logical consistency of my theodicy at all. What they do; however, at best is call into question the validity of the underpinning "truth-claims", themselves, but in doing as much, you've strayed into the field of apologetics and away from testing the logic of my theodicy.

And how are you able to say that it's impossible to destroy evil without also destroying free choice? Based on what?

Read my post again, and you just might see.

And why is freedom of choice necessary to a moral universe? How did you arrive at those assumptions/conclusions?

Logical reasoning, so please take another peek at my post. It's in there.

If God had created a universe in which evil didn't exist, then we could sit around all day and still debate freedom of choice, because we'd never even be aware of the choice of evil. We only assume it has to exist so that we can have a choice between the two existent choices!

Hmmm. I have to ask: did you actually read my post? In it I stated that God created a universe devoid of actualised evil, not the potential for evil (and remember, evil is a privation and not a substance). So I do wonder from whence came your assumptions.

What if, hypothetically, the universe is ruled by 3 or 4 choices? Good, Evil, and Dingleloop? No human has ever been aware of Dingleloop, so we think our only choices are between Good and Evil.

Sorry, but you've strayed completely outside the scope of my theodicy. What you're currently trying to do is pit your "world-view" against mine (which is, as I've already mentioned, to stray into the realm of apologetics). What you need to do, and what you should be doing, is seeking to challenge the internal consistency of my propositions as they stand. In effect, you're attempting to "prove" something, rather than disprove the coherence of my theodicy.

So if God created a universe without the concept of evil, we could still have choice, still have morality, but not have to suffer. If he created it this way because he had to, then again, he had to follow a higher rule.

"If", "if", "if"?

I'm terribly sorry but all these wonderful presentations of yours only go to show the ridiculous mental gymnastics required to belief and justify to oneself the concept of a god. I'll stick with valid logic and reason.

If I may suggest, yours are two rather significant claims, neither of which is supported by anything even remotely approaching the use of rational thought by way of logical method. Given that you apparently can't even distinguish the basis of this discussion, and that is the distinction between theodicy and a
defence for the existence of God, I find it rather difficult to take seriously your claim to "stick(ing) with valid logic and reason."

Hoo, roo.

Ian

P.S. Mod, would you please delete my "unsigned-in" copy of this, above. The formatting looks awful!


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Re:A thinking theodicy and a little lesson in logic

Date Posted:12/08/2008 1:22 PMCopy HTML

Peter,

After reading Ian's piece, the first thing that came to my mind was the prospect that free choice will be done away with after some victory of evil is had.

But I didn't propose that, did I?

A time is coming when god will no longer permit evil to be done? My argument is that this time should have been a long time ago.

Sure, but then again, you aren't God.

Long before men were allowed to suffer. God lets the devil have a go at Job? Nasty god. What is this future event coming that will undo all the evil before it and set in place a new balance where there is no longer a choice to do evil or shades thereof. Six hundred billion years from now... still no ability to question the authority? A trillion years from now, the brief moment in history when there was free choice and free thought becomes but a very distant memory of the new eternal robots?

Methinks you've read your own ideas into my theodicy, bud

Blessings,

Ian

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Re:A thinking theodicy and a little lesson in logic

Date Posted:12/08/2008 1:30 PMCopy HTML

Hiya, Guest (2? 3?).

Ian said,

(2) It's actually impossible to destroy evil without also destroying free choice.

Christians have never proven this premise, which is the lynchpin of all free will defenses, and there is good reason to think that it can never be proven. Therefore, Ian's defense fails.

'Nope'. First of all, I wasn't setting out to prove any form of "free-will" position. My purpose was simply the crafting a theodicy that was internally consistent, and which logically establishes the possibility for the co-existence of the Christian God and evil, nothing more Second, the inability to empirically "prove" something doesn't automatically infer error. Similarly, your inability to disprove my premise doesn't infer that my position fails either smiley9

Blessings,

Ian

P.S. Mod, what's with all the formatting 'gremlins' this evening?!

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Re:A thinking theodicy and a little lesson in logic

Date Posted:12/08/2008 1:43 PMCopy HTML

After reading Ian's piece, the first thing that came to my mind was the prospect that free choice will be done away with after some victory of evil is had.

     But I didn't propose that, did I?

No you didn't, and that's embarrassing for me not to have read your post thoroughly before posting any replies. Sorry.

A time is coming when god will no longer permit evil to be done? My argument is that this time should have been a long time ago.

     Sure, but then again, you aren't God.

Ok, now we have an absolute we can agree with. I'm not God.

Long before men were allowed to suffer. God lets the devil have a go at Job? Nasty god.... (and blah bhah)

     Methinks you've read your own ideas into my theodicy, bud

Again, my apologies. I'll address your actual writing in future when I've properly digested it.

I wish I were capable of coherent thought this week! Should learn to think before I type. Anyway, I'm really enjoying Ian's replied to guest re theodicy. The forum can't always be about setting Revivalists straight on the errors of their ways. And tbh, and despite my attempts to throw a curly at Ian, I've always entertained the idea of this balance that would have to exist in order to create 'the omelette' I'm refering to and have imagined a concept that I now discovered actually has a name - theodicy. I have trouble coming to grips wit the idea of the allowance of the terrible suffering I hear about in the news and just wonder if the well honed religious theories are just well developed, albeit logical, justifications for believing in god whilst such things happen. I just can't seem to imagine the world being all that much better off if god did in fact take his hand off the wheel from the start, if he ever actually had it on the wheel in the first place.

[LINK SiteName=Mothrust: Movies and Modern Myth Target=_blank]http://aintchristian.blogspot.com.au/[/LINK] Be nice, for everyone that you meet is fighting a harder battle - Anita Roddick
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Re:A thinking theodicy and a little lesson in logic

Date Posted:12/08/2008 9:26 PMCopy HTML

Good morning A_Tergo,

Sooo...

God created the substance although, being omnipotent, he had the ability to foresee any corruption that could occur.

God knowingly created a corruptible substance.

Therefore God created the potential for evil.

Man realised this potential.

Someone decided to pull the trigger of a gun that was placed in their hands.

Is then God ultimately responsible for evil,

or

Man?

Interesting. Hadn't I already stated that God created the potential for evil? But "potential" we should remember, doesn't infer "actualised" reality, but, well ... potential But I do wonder why you sought to draw a parallel (via analogy) between "free-will" (such as it is) and a gun. Consider: the sole function of a gun is to kill, so it can be construed of as being limited to "destructive" purposes. "Free-will", however, isn't constrained to simply "destructive" ends, but also to "constructive" ones. Ergo, your chosen analogy is of itself, rather weak (never mind being internally inconsistent).

And finally, you may care to reflect on the fact that the existence of a gun doesn't automatically prescribe that its trigger needs be pulled, anymore than the existence of a cliff demands that we jump off of it, lemming-like.

Blessings,

Ian
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Re:A thinking theodicy and a little lesson in logic

Date Posted:14/09/2008 1:57 AMCopy HTML

 Quote:

"Since evil is the defect of good, the lack of good that ought to be there, and nothing positive in itself, it follows that the greatest evil is found where the highest good has been corrupted."

- Thomas Merton

..
RCI prophesies
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