For many, the issue of moral evil – that is humans harming others – is essentially the issue of people misusing their freewill and causing upset in the world. Indeed, many people question why God allows this to happen? Moreover, why He doesn’t intervene and put a stop to it? Below you will find questions with hyperlinks that will take you to previous blogs that consider aspects of moral evil.
In response to the question why God doesn’t do something about all the evil people in the world with whom would he start and at what gradation on the scale of sin is one person spared and another one judged guilty? While this sort of thinking may seem rather simplistic, better questions might involve an understanding of what it is that evil actually entails? After all, how does one measure evil? Moreover, why does moral evil exists in humans if they are created by a God who is intrinsically good?
Of course, the reality is that none of us are as good as we imagine ourselves to be. Given that most of us are prone to lapsing into some kind of negative behaviour – be that arguing with another or gossping about a co-worker – it appears that physical, mental, emotional and verbal abuse is never far from the door of humanity. Indeed, humans cannot even claim that moral evil occurs in later life as even infants are prone to manipulation, theft and use force early to get what they want from others – hence why one child may strike out or take another’s toy or manipulate and argue or revert to cruel name calling and defamation of others.
Add into this, the mix of the good acts that are often left undone in the world – aka sins of omission – and we see that suffering is not confined to evil acts against others but rather ineptitude and apathy of individual who fail to take action, bringing hardship, suffering and/or death. Or the reverse mindset where some people believe it’s okay to commit evil if a greater good results in the process?
And where is God in all this? Augustine’s Freewill Defence seems to paint God as rather detached in this process creating a world in which humans possess freewill that may cause them upset if they transgress the God’s Divine will at their peril. Those people suffering in this unhappy state of affairs might rightly question whether humans would be better off as automatons rather than have freewill – especially if it gives them more than a likelihood they will transgress, fail God and be sentenced to judgement. One might argue that Jean Paul Sartre offers one way of understanding God’s love as bourne out by His own necessity of love allowing humans to choose or reject Him – this is what both loved and beloved encounter in the necessity of God to be as true to his essence just as are humans must be in their limitations and failure.