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Conciliating God and evil

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The problem of evil and the existence of god.
  3. The logic used to prove that god is straightforward.
    1. Considering standard objections for better understanding.
    2. The existence of evil can be consistent with the idea of a perfect god.
  4. The idea of free will.
    1. Mackie: Free will is no excuse for evil's existence.
    2. Plantinga's attempt to show why god is omniscient, omnipotent, and good.
    3. Plantinga and the paramount nature of free will.
    4. Plantinga: 'Transworld Depravity'.
    5. Free will: Superior to a world without free will.
  5. Conclusion.
  6. Works cited.

Few arguments pursue such a simple logic against theistic thought more effectively than the Problem of Evil. In short, this analyzes god's properties and the incoherent nature of his good verses the evil in the world. In response, Alvin Plantinga makes a compelling Free Will Defense argument for a review of the nature of god's omnipotence and how it can be consistent with the existence of evil. While Plantinga makes a strong argument to shift the burden of proof back upon the proponents of the problem of evil, such as Mackie, he makes one fatal assumption: that free will is superior to a world with no free will. Taking into account the reasons to believe in the ascendancy of predetermined decisions, one must seriously reconsider the effectiveness of Plantinga's argument.

[...] He uses the example of a mayor, Curley Smith, who accepts a bribe for a certain amount of money in building a new highway. Plantinga argues that god could not both actualize the circumstance where Curley was given the opportunity to accept the bribe (or to decline) and actualize the outcome. These two ideas are incompatible. It is in this sense, that Plantinga concludes that the ?Leibniz Lapse? the idea that god has actualized the best possible of all worlds is false. [...]

[...] Given these traits, god must know of any potential evil, has the power to prevent potential evil, and wants to prevent potential evil. Therefore, the existence of god would be inconsistent with the existence of evil. Of course, evil exists in the world, so one can conclude that it is impossible for god to exist. This argument is logically deductive; the conclusion is definitively based on the premises. To better understand the argument, one should consider the standard objections. First, some claim that god is not really a perfect being, eliminating the necessity of a deity who must either have the power to stop evil or who would want to do such a thing. [...]

[...] Perhaps by focusing on the reality of free will and the source of evil in his seemingly convoluted transworld depravity, Plantinga is merely rationalizing an untenable position regarding the fundamental value of free will. One must also consider whether the value of free will is a humanly contrived notion rather than divinely sourced. Rarely is the question asked: do humans value free will? The answer, by no means, is obvious. The capacity for choice may seem like a necessary component in life, yet many subtle facets of the average person's psychology and society as a whole point to the value placed on deterministic ideas. [...]

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