Brandeis University, Philosophy Department
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The Problem
of Evil

Professor Andreas Teuber
Prof. Teuber

The Problem of Evil

1. If G-d were to exist, G-d would be all-powerful, all-knowing and all-good.

2. A G-d who is all these things, would not allow (unnecessary) evil to exist.

3. There is (unnecessary) evil.

4. Therefore, G-d does not exist.

Two Kinds of Evil

1. There is evil that exists that is brought about by natural events and that is not within human control;

2. And there is human evil, i.e., evil brought about by human actions and for which human beings may be held responsible.

Possible Responses to the Argument:

1. Rejection of Premise Number 1:
  • G-d is not really all-knowing; or
  • G-d is not really all-good.
2. Rejection of Premise Number 2.
  • construct a theodicy to show that G-d's being all PKG
    is not incompatible with there being evil in the world.

Some Defenses:

1. Evil is a necessary counterpart to there being good in the world.

2. Evil is necessary as a means to persons' becoming good.

3. What looks like evil from one perspective is, in fact, part of a greater good.

4. The Soul-building, Soul-making defense.

5. The Free Will defense

6. The "G-d is a Great Mystery" or G-d Works in Mysterious Ways" defense



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Last Modified: 03/26/08
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