Analysis Of J. L. Mackie's Evil And Omnipotence

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Evil and Omnipotence In Evil and Omnipotence, J.L. Mackie presents fallacious solutions that try solving the logical problem of evil. Fallacious solutions explicitly maintain all their propositions, but implicitly end up rejecting at least one of them. The fourth fallacious solution (S4), claims that moral evil is necessary in any world containing the overriding good of human freedom. In this paper, I will demonstrate: (I) S4; (II) Mackie’s objection of S4; (III) A primary benefit of Mackie’s argument; and (IV) Why Mackie’s criticism succeeds.

(I) S4: S4 is a natural and inevitable result of human freedom. Theists argue that an omnibenevolent and omnipotent God allows: (i) pains and pleasures so humans have sympathy and cruelty; and (ii)
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S4 explains why God allows moral evils—humans can be bad moral agents. However, S4 does not explain why God allows natural evils—tsunamis produce disasters. S4 fails to explain how natural evils are consistent with the notions of an omnibenevolent and omnipotent God. Mackie offers a dilemma to show S4 is meaningless. The two possibilities are: (i) human character determines free action; or (ii) human character does not determine free action. So, either (i) our character determines what we are going to do—in which case our actions express our character and it is a reflection of who we are—or (ii) our character does not determine what we are going to do, and our actions are random. Theists argue that since (i) human character determines free action, freedom is meaningful. Freedom allows human expression. When humans choose freely, they make choices that express who they are. For example, Jun can choose whether to be cruel or sympathetic to Barbara. Jun’s action can be blameworthy if he caused Barbara pain, or praiseworthy if he caused her pleasure. Jun is subject to moral praise or blame because his action was an expression of who he is. It is good for Jun to have freedom because that allows him to express his values, beliefs, or desires. So, theists claim that human actions are …show more content…
A secondary benefit is that it is logically possible for God to make humans that have freedom and always choose between degrees of goodness in every occasion. On the one hand, if we accept (i), freedom is meaningless because evil is logically inconsistent with God’s omnipotence and omnibenevolence. On the other hand, if we accept (ii), freedom is meaningless because randomness is logically inconsistent with our valuing of things as supremely good. This is Mackie’s paradox of omnipotence—both (i) and (ii) indicate that God’s omnipotence is limited, and thus inconsistent with the theists notion of freedom, evil, and God. Therefore, omnipotence is logically

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