Monday, November 2, 2009

They Think; Therefore They Know? Part 4

Last week, we ended with a quote from Epicurus.  I have reposted it here for your reference, along with the first part of the analysis:

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"
- Epicurus; Greek philosopher, 341 BCE to 270 BCE

This quote is a very logical exploration of the four possible scenarios of how god handles evil, which is often debated between theists and non-theists. We can explore each of the four lines in the context of our society’s labels and the definition of god as explained above. There are no other scenarios other than the four described above and each says something about god.

God by definition is omnipotent and omniscient – it knows everything, can see everything, and can do anything. Therefore, god can prevent evil if it wants to. So, we rule out lines one and four because god supposedly can prevent evil. If god can’t prevent evil, then the definition of god is null and void.

If god is able, but not willing to prevent evil, then he just doesn’t care. In this case, why worship a god that doesn’t care about its own people? God would be malevolent and this contradicts the very nature of many of the stories in the Bible, including god caring enough about the Jews to lead them out of slavery and sending Jesus to save man from his sins. This brings us back to question number one – is this true all the time? If god is malevolent, then some of the stories in the Bible are not true, including that of Jesus, and therefore none of the stories can be relied upon. They are opinions, so line two is ruled out.

Check back next week for the end of this series and the remainder of the analysis of the quote: a detailed analysis of line three and a question that is often debated among theists and non-theists.

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