Uploaded by Stephanie Arana

Argument Evaluation 2

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Stephanie Arana
Argument Evaluation 2
Hick's argument that a world without suffering and evil would be absurd.
P1 God is all-good and all-powerful
P2 There is evil in the world
P3 God doesn't want there to be evil and suffering
P4 But without evil and suffering life would be absurd
P5 God allows evil and suffering so that humans can find virtue and find God
Conclusion: God being all-powerful and all-good is compatible with there being evil and
suffering in the world.
The problem of evil seems to be almost an insurmountable argument against the idea of
a perfect God. For the problem evil states that if God were perfectly good God would
want to prevent evil and if God is all-powerful God could prevent evil. And yet there is
evil so therefore God is either not perfectly good or not all-powerful. The argument
seems valid.
John Hicks answers the problem of evil using logic and religion. He argues that the
argument is correct in stating that God must be all-powerful and perfectly good. This
insight comes from his understanding of religion and his faith. So, Hicks accepts that
God is all-powerful and good, but he still rejects the notion that a perfectly good and allpowerful God need prevent all evil.
For Hicks argues that suffering and evil are necessary elements of a world with humans.
To be human is to have flaws as well as virtues. The idea of a wholly good person is
incoherent. In other words, it goes against what is required for a person to be a person.
Being a person means that we have the free will to choose good and bad things. Without
this ability we would not be able to pursue virtue or freely choose to follow God’s will. In
this way then a world without suffering and evil would be absurd since it would deny
humans the ability to be human. In this sense then human life would be meaningless
without the possibility of evil and suffering. So, Hicks answers the problem of evil by
agreeing that God is all-powerful and all-good, but he denies that this entails a world
without suffering or evil. In fact, for Hicks, an all-powerful and all-good God must allow
suffering and evil for humans to thrive.
Hicks argument is logical and seems to be consistent with the way we experience the
world. A world without suffering would not allow us to appreciate what it means to not
suffer. Without contrast it is hard to understand what something means or what value it
holds. If all I ever drank was coffee, I wouldn't really appreciate its value. By having
choices, I can better understand the meaning of my choice. Likewise, when we suffer or
experience evil, we want to move away from these and move toward a life with less
suffering and without evil. In other words, we want to move toward virtue and goodness.
Suffering and evil then help show us the path to something better and something higher.
Suffering and evil move us toward God.
Hicks argument is strong and yet one could question whether Hick’s response is good
enough. While it is logical and consistent with our experiences that suffering and evil
often push us to be better that is not always the case. Experiencing evil might cause us to
lose all hope. In some cases, it might not move us toward virtue and toward God but
instead it might just cause deeper suffering and confusion. So, one could accept that
suffering and evil are necessary but still ask why there needs to be so much suffering and
so much evil in the world.
In the end then I think that Hicks is correct in saying that life without suffering and evil
would be absurd. But life with too much suffering and too much evil is also absurd. So,
while Hicks offers a logical and sensible response to the problem of evil, especially when
combined with faith, the problem of evil is still a problem insofar as much of the evil
humans have had to deal with throughout history seems absurd and beyond
explanation.