Monday, March 8, 2010


A theodicy seeks to explain why there's evil in the world. It seems that it is impossible for the existence of both an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God and the existence of evil (of any degree). By evil I mean any kind of suffering or even pain. The traditional justifications of evil in a world with God has been the story of Original Sin in the Bible, the Free Will justifications seen in philosophical and theological debates, the justification from Ignorance and the argument of spiritual or character development. However, there seems to be one theodicy that is even more plausible, at least to me. What if God really is what he purportedly is but that a being of omnipotent and omnibenevolent nature would entail His hating and willing the suffering of evil beings. That making evil beings and making them suffer is an inherent good and moreover, an absolute good. Perhaps we are all evil beings designed by God to be evil and also doomed to suffer his (righteous) wrath. So God has created evil beings just so that punishing them, an inherent good, will be possible. This would also seem to show that God has a kind of poetic aesthetic i.e., making those who are evil suffer directly through the hands of other evil beings for much (but not all) of our suffering is through human created ills. Now this certainly is a vindictive God, but the question is Can He also be omnibenevolent too? If His vengeance is just, does that really mar his goodness?

One of the other obvious objections is that there are many of us that are not evil. Consider innocent children who are made to sometimes suffer horrendously. How could they possibly be evil? Maybe because they have the potential to act evil and it is only some instance of luck (constitutive or circumstantial)that prevents them from eventually committing great evils. It could be argued (though I don't know how plausibly) that their evilness is an inherent aspect of their being or essence (and indeed every person's being) for this possible actualization of great evil to be possible. Their potential or propensity for evil is manifested through traits they posses inherently.

But a further objection that is more plausible is that it seems that the degree of suffering is not commensurate with the evil potential. Some of us are more capable and more likely to commit great evils or greater evils than others and this could be because of some aspect of our innate essences. But it seems like the prima facie best of us are made to suffer the most in the world (perhaps precisely partly because they are better) more than most others. And those that are prima facie worse seems tend to suffer less and enjoy themselves more in this world (perhaps precisely partly because they are worse).

The reply could be that none of us really know how truly evil we are (have the capacity or propensity given the right conditions to commit) and that despite what it seems, everyone does really get their just deserts commensurate with their inherent but not obvious evilness.