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Problem of Evil_ Past Questions - Caroline Chisholm School

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Problem of Evil: Past Questions
June 2008a). Describe how Augustine andIrenaeusexplain the origin of evil. [25]b). ‘There is no problem of evil because God is not all powerful’ Discuss. [10]Jan 2009a). Explain whyIrenaeusargues that the existence of evil is a necessary part of the universe. [25]b). ‘Irenaeusis wrong: evil disproves the existence of God’ Discuss. [10]Jan 2011a). Explain the nature of the problem of evil. [25]b). ‘Moral evil may be the fault of humanity but natural evil is God’s fault’ Discuss. [10]June 2011a). Explain theIrenaeantheodicy. [25]b). To what extent can evil be said to be simply a test? [10]
Task:In small groups you must thoroughly plan your response to one set of questions.Youwill be presenting your plans to the class and you will have the opportunity to take photos of eachothers’work to help with your revision.
Help Sheeta). Describe how Augustine andIrenaeusexplain the origin of evil. [25]b). ‘There is no problem of evil because God is not all powerful’ Discuss. [10]
Focus needs to be on “origin” of evil. Describe both theodicies in specific relation to how they explain origin of evil. Essentially: Accident (Augustine)vsPlanned (Irenaeus).b) Could consider:God not all-powerful – J.S. Mill, Process Theology, questions about God’s omnipotence raised by Augustine’s theodicy.Omnipotence debate – God can do anything (Descartes: God can make 2+2=5)vsGod can do anything that is logically possible (leads to best of all possible worlds argument – Swinburne)Irenaeus– God can do anything and he specifically designed the world to include evil because it is necessary for our moral development.
Help Sheeta). Explain whyIrenaeusargues that the existence of evil is a necessary part of the universe. [25]b). ‘Irenaeusis wrong: evil disproves the existence of God’ Discuss. [10]
Focus is “explain why”. DescribeIrenaeus’ theodicy and keep linking your points back to focus on why he argues evil is necessary. Also “part of the universe” hints at need to consideration of moral and natural evil.Criticisms ofIrenaeus– Difficult to believe that a loving God would adopt such an extreme method; also question whether this method really workseg. some suffer more than others; some made worse by suffering; some unable to benefit.Defence ofIrenaeus– evil needed (logically necessary) for freewill – link to Hick and Swinburne – FWD – need evil to be “built in” to the universe for our choices to mean something; need God not to intervene (would limit FW).
Help Sheeta). Explain the nature of the problem of evil. [25]b). ‘Moral evil may be the fault of humanity but natural evil is God’s fault’ Discuss. [10]
Include: this argument is the “rock of atheism” (some who even believe in existence of God become “protest atheists” because don’t want to worship a God who would allow such atrocities; especially in light of twentieth century horrors it is a very real issue – theodicies (define term) need to make sure they don’t end up trivialising the problem); explain the inconsistent triad; difference between natural and moral evil; difficulties in understanding what evil is – some even argue evilis an illusion (monism); different views of cause of evil – work of Devil or fallen angels; God’s omnipotence limited by need to give freewill.b) Two parts to this statement – Is moral evil the fault of humanity? Is natural evil the fault of God?Perhaps easy to assign responsibility of moral evil to humans exercising freewill so is humanity’s fault – thought could still argue why didn’t God create humans who always do the right thing (and so blame God for moral evil too).Swinburne – evil is “built in” to our world so humans can use freewill – evil is logically necessary, so not God’s fault – best of all possible worlds– link to debate about nature of God’s omnipotence. Maybe God shouldn’t have created the world if this was the best he could do.Irenaeus– natural evil is God’s fault but it is necessary to develop our moral qualities.Augustine – natural evil caused by fallen angels; part of our punishment for sin to be cast out of Garden of Eden and to live in a more chaotic and destructive world – therefore God’s creatures cause natural evil too, not God.
Help Sheeta). Explain theIrenaeantheodicy. [25]b). To what extent can evil be said to be simply a test? [10]
“Explain”. Intro: Who wasIrenaeus;what is a theodicy. Main: How doesIrenaeusaccount for the existence of evil. Development: Explain how it was also later developed by John Hick (a modernIrenaean).b) Consider strengths and criticisms ofIrenaeus-Difficult to believe that a loving God would adopt such an extreme method; also question whether this method really workseg. some suffer more than others; some made worse by suffering; some unable to benefit. Does it over-trivialise suffering – can it really be applied to the Holocaust?

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Problem of Evil_ Past Questions - Caroline Chisholm School