‘God either wants to eliminate bad things and cannot, or can but does not want to, or neither wishes to nor can, or both wants to and can. If he wants to and cannot, then he is weak – and this does not apply to god. If he can but does not want to, then he is spiteful – which is equally foreign to god’s nature. If he neither wants to nor can, he is both weak and spiteful, and so not a god. If he wants to and can, which is the only thing fitting for a god, where then do bad things come from? Or why does he not eliminate them?’ — Lactantius (c. 250 – c. 325CE), De Ira Deorum
Tag Archives: evil
In this article I will consider the problem of evil, one of the main arguments against the existence of an all-good and all-knowing God. This article is written largely in response to a conference on the problem of evil I attended recently at which Christian apologist John Dickson presented keynote lectures. As such, much of my discussion, in particular the ‘inconsistency response’ which I critique at length, are inspired by his remarks at this event. However this piece is designed to stand alone, and so is not structured as a point-by-point critique of Dickson’s arguments. Instead, I discuss a number of issues which I think are of relevance to this question.
First I begin by presenting a simple ‘naive’ argument from evil, setting the groundwork for a discussion and critique of a common rebuttal to the argument, namely that the problem of evil requires a presupposition of theism and…
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John Kekes (born 1936) is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University at Albany (formerly State University of New York – Albany). He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the Australian National University, and is the author of a number of books on ethics.
‘It is destructive of good lives to create conditions in which good and evil people are treated with equal concern and respect; in which justice is taken to involve the redistribution of resources without regard to whether their present holders or future recipients deserve them…’