The good evil doers

The often used reasoning religious people use justify the existence of evil in a world overseen by an omnipotent and all good god is that without evil there can be no good.

if thats the argument then the logical extension would be evil doers are enabler of good and therefor good.

to use a real world example. Hitler was good because without his evil doing, there can never be the good of Alliances fighting back and saving Europe.

weird argument it is.

update 090802: poppies below in the comments section refer to a passage (Romans 3:8) in the bible that says

Or can we say-as some people slander us by claiming that we say-“Let’s do evil that good may result”? They deserve to be condemned!

bible International Standard Version 2008.

so then why does evil exist in a universe created by an omnipotent and all good god?


14 thoughts on “The good evil doers

  1. Interestingly, the Bible itself disparages this argument (Romans 3:8), so any Christian using this argument is akin to an astronomer who claims the moon is made of cheese.

  2. poppies,

    Thank you, i didnt know that.
    so then why is it that evil exist in a universe created by an omnipotent and all good god?

  3. I seem to discuss the “problem of evil” about three times a week every week, lol. I think the issue comes down to proper definitions.

    Omnipotent = all powerful = ability to do all possible things. God accomplishing His justified ends while also eliminating evil in this world is quite likely not possible. God not being able to make a four-sided triangle doesn’t denigrate His omnipotence anymore than does extant evil.

  4. in essence to achieve an justified ends, evil have to exit?
    is that what you are saying?

    so are you saying that Hitler has to exist in order for a justified end to be achieved?

    i can see why it is meaningless to debate whether god cant make a four-sided triangle, because they are mutually exclusive. but i dont understand why evil has to exist.

  5. It’s conceivable that there is mutual exclusivity between God’s achievement of his primary end and a system which is guaranteed to not produce a Hitler, thus the triangle analogy.

  6. how is it conceivable? what is it that is mutually exclusive?

    if i am a believer (i am not), i would simply argue that god is good and omnipotent therefore what ever the state the world is one thing is for sure, that the world is good in its every detail. which in essence means,that the definetion of evil for god is different to mens definition.

    this will be in effect putting all that is falsifiable in the god basket, which by definition cant be falsified resulting in an impenetrable circular logic. Albeit still unconvincing to me.

  7. It’s conceivable in that there is no logical contradiction inherent in the concept. The mutual exclusivity refers to the idea that if God were to end all evil immediately, it may be that His justifiable goals would then be impossible to achieve.

    The problem with the “whatever happens must be sanctioned by God” concept is that it doesn’t explain why God would’ve created in man a generally universal moral intuition which differs so radically from His own.

  8. what justifiable goal would become impossible to archive if all evil is ended immediately? maybe its my own lack of imagination, i cant conceive such a goal. btw, we are talking about the universe creator, who should be all good and wont create an universe that limits gods own ability to do good.

    secondly, so are you saying that god is giving us free will so we can defy god and by definition become evil? if his is all good why doesn’t god modify human moral intuition to mimic gods own?

  9. If God is all good, He’s necessarily limited by definition. Such a God clearly couldn’t do evil, for instance.

    If you can’t conceive of anything which would justify the evil we see, then you’d be unlikely to be convinced if such a justification were presented to you.

    I’m not saying that God “loaded the dice”, as it were, and set us on an evil path. He simply may have given us freedom which has the possibility of evil outcomes. Moral intuition can’t be “modified” without consent without destroying freedom.

  10. to point one – of course, obviously.

    to point two – if i say i cannot conceive a good that would justify the existence of evil doesn’t mean i cant be convinced if it is presented to me.

    to point three – that just echoes the point in the original post which is that evil enable good or as you point out in your example. the good of unmodified moral intuition will sometime lead to evil. the causation arrow is reversed but the point that some evil is linked with good still stand.

    so if god determines that unmodified moral intuition (illogical btw, since god is the original modifier) is a greater good than whatever evil deed that might result from it, then that evil deed is unseparatblly part of a greater good thus good.

    again i will argue that believers should just argue that since god is omniscience, so the only evil that god will allow to exist are those that god knows to be part of a greater good. this line of argument will end the debate on the existence of evil and move the focal point to the logic of god’s characterization.

    btw i am not a believer of deity. i am a believer of my observational tools (or the projection of the world it creates in my mind), which is of course also unfalsifiable like the idea of god.

  11. I appreciate your continuing this dialogue, I hope I’ve not worn out my welcome.

    I think I was unclear; universal, objective moral intuition simply provides a sort of background benchmark by which actions can be measured. Actions by free moral agents can significantly depart from this standard. If actions which depart from this standard are repeated often enough, a sort of dulling to the objective standard occurs and a new individual intuition is created. If this individual standard were to then be modified without consent, the agent could no longer be considered morally free. Thus, it is logical that though God initially instills a particular moral intuition, He isn’t free to then unilaterally “correct” changes which might occur to this intuition without effectively enslaving the subject at hand.

    The main point I’ve been trying to make is that evil is sometimes linked with justifying good, but good isn’t contingent upon evil (rather it’s the other way around). There may be certain categories of good which can only be achieved with a justifiable chance of certain evil externalities, but these externalities don’t create the good in any sense.

    If it were so, then it could be well said that increasing these evils would be commensurate with increasing good. It would be as if one were to say that killing pedestrians allowed more people to drive; clearly this is not the case, and killed pedestrians are simply a possibility of the good of driving. Pedestrians are killed rarely enough, and driving is enjoyed by enough people, that we don’t outlaw driving.

  12. you are very welcome, and i throughly enjoying in this discussion and your insights.

    i see what you are saying. but if the universe is deterministic ( then the omniscience god should know how people’s moral intuition will change overtime. if evil exist in the world then it can only be argued that got meant for those evil to exist.

    and i have been to your website, i would like to suggest that your are also a believer of your observational tools (or the projection of the world it creates in your mind).

  13. Thanks for stopping by, I hope you’ll leave your viewpoints on my blog.

    With an omniscient God, I don’t think determinism is necessary to say that He would know of what evil would arise. He would foreknow even the free undetermined actions of His creatures. In the case of good with justifiable evil externalities, He would simply judge that any evil which would arise would be worth the end result, and would be in a unique position to judge this accurately.

    It couldn’t be fairly said that He meant for the evil to exist, or that He was responsible for it (since free creatures caused it), He simply would have no other way of achieving good ends which produced externalities. We don’t charge police with murder when they knowingly kill someone holding a hostage at gunpoint; we consider it justified given the circumstances.

    Regarding “observational tools”, I’m certainly a believer in them when appropriate. Certain lines of inquiry are not amenable to such empirical study, however, (like math and logic, for instance) so I’m careful to not limit myself accordingly.

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