Why It Is a Logical Problem
The logical problem of evil is the question of the presence of inconsistencies that exist between the existence of God and evil. The argument is that God is omnipresent, supremely good, and does not like evil. The Almighty is omniscient and omnipotent; hence, He knows there is the existence of evil, the time it will occur and is capable of eliminating it. The argument concludes that evil should not exist if God exists because He knows its existence and can eliminate it (Lorkowski 110). However, evil exists; hence, the argument concludes that God does not exist. The logical side of this argument attempts to show that there is a high likelihood that both God and evil cannot co-exist.
Several responses have been put forward to provide the solution to the problem of evil in the form of defenses as well as theodicies. Defense attempts to resolve the problem by weakening the argument that there is an impossibility of God’s existence or incompatibility between the existence of evil and God. The defense is successful if the details provided show that God and Evil can co-exist. Conversely, a theodicy must give a plausible justification, whether moral or philosophical, to sufficiently explain the actuality of evil (Peterson 12). There are various versions of theodicies, with some arguing that evil happens in order to pave the way for the greater good.
One of the main solutions provided to the logical problem of evil is the existence of free will. The solution of free states that evil exists because God granted liberty to people to think and choose what to do. Free will allows good and evil to happen and can be abused if individuals decide to violate moral standards. As a result of free will, people can decide to inflict suffering on others when they act in a morally inappropriate way; hence, God does not control their actions or choices (Lorkowski 110). The defense claims that God is not authoritarian; hence it would be illogical for Him to control evil by forcing people to act in a certain way that curtails their freedom.
There has been another version of free will by Alvin Plantinga, which states that there is a logical possibility that supernatural powers and fallen angels who use their free will to control cause evil phenomena such as floods and earthquakes. The argument justified the existence of natural evil caused by non-human supernatural powers like demons (Lorkowski 115). The criticism is because some issues, such as cancer and hurricanes, may not have supernatural causes but may be from the immoral behavior of supernatural beings created by God.
Effectiveness of the solution
The free will defense does not provide adequate evidence or reasoning to solve the logical problem of evil successfully. Some argue that Alvin Plantinga’s defense is implausible because suffering caused by natural evil is localized, and treatment for diseases has been found together with their rational causes. It is not clear why God would create human beings and choose to inflict suffering on people such as innocent children and why He fails to stop such anguish (Peterson 25). Another argument is that the acts of evil that are said to be the reason for liberty diminish the rights and free will. For instance, the murder of a newborn prevents the child from ever exploring the world and making choices of their free will. The freedom of one individual is taken away by that of an evildoer who is exercising free will.
Another criticism of the free will idea is that it does not explain why animals suffer. Some people state that people’s free will or the greater good that happens after suffering does not apply to animal suffering. However, some scholars have adopted the term free creatures, claiming that animals enjoy free will but are associated with costly dangers (Sterba, 19). It is complicated to argue that animals have free will or freedom, considering that they are usually controlled in cages or parks to restrict their movements.
Lorkowski, C. M. “The Problems of Evil—Logical, Evidential, and Moral.” Atheism Considered. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2021. 107-119. Web.
Peterson, Michael L. God and Evil: An Introduction to the Issues. Routledge, 2018.
Sterba, James P. Is a Good God Logically Possible? Springer, 2019.