The Deductive Problem of Evil Essay

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The Deductive Problem of Evil

One of the major philosophical debates concerning God's existence involves the problem of evil. The problem has two basic formulations, one is deductive, the other inductive. The deductive form of the problem asks the following: Is the existence of evil logically compatible with a necessarily benevolent and necessarily omnipotent being? One of the philosophers who discusses the problem is Richard Gale. I will begin this essay by outlining the deductive problem of evil according to Gale. I will then try to refute the deductive argument and prove that the existence of evil is indeed logically compatible with a benevolent and omnipotent being. A conclusion will then follow.

The deductive
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But yet evil exists. This seems to indicate either that God cannot stop the evil (in which case he is not omnipotent) or he does not want to stop it (in which case he is not omni-benevolent). From this contradiction, Mackie's hopes to prove that theism, or at least the common version of theism, is rationally untenable.

There are a number of objections to the deductive argument. I shall discuss a few of them briefly. One objection is that Mackie's additional premises are not logical proofs. They amount to mere redefinitions of premises 1 and 2. He himself refers to them as "quasi-logical rules."4 In order for us to accept the deductive argument, we must accept Mackie's redefinitions of omnipotence and benevolence. The problem is that few of us would do so. Many theists hold that there are limits to what God can do. Many hold that God is confined by the laws of logic, and that (by extension) He cannot bring about any state of affairs. He can only bring about any logically possible state of affairs.5 The problem with Mackie's revised principles is that they presuppose definitions of God that are not universally held.

As a result, Mackie is forced to reformulate his additional premises to a more restricted definition. He offers 42 and 51:

42. An omni-benevolent being tries to eliminate and prevent every morally unjustified evil.

52. An omnipotent

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