Can any religionist out there answer the Epicurean Paradox?
This goes as follows:-
If God is willing but not able, then he is not all powerful.
If God is able but not willing, then he is malevolent.
If God is both willing and able, then why is there evil in the world?
If God is neither willing nor able, then why call him God?
Any argument that God is both willing and able but allows evil while religion fails to provide a concise and definitive explanation as to why will not suffice.
I believe the correct answer is that He is able, but not yet willing. This existence that we live today in the 'times of the Gentiles' is, as Peter writes, a time that God's patience is going to allow for some to come to know and accept His offer of mercy and forgiveness. God's patience has also reigned throughout His work among His people Israel from the time that He called Abram. However, the day will come when God will put all wickedness and evil out of the realm of His people and we read about that in the last two chapters of the Revelation of Jesus.
So, God is clearly willing and able, but the time has not come yet for Him to display His ability again, because the ultimate working out of His great plan of salvation has not yet bourne all of the desired fruit. Remember, He did it once before in the days of Noah!
JThomp42 - you are spot on. Acceptance&Faithfulness to God obviates evil that humans employ.
Rev13:18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man.[e] That number is 666.
I tried to answer this with more detail, but there's no room. But it's a good idea for a hub...
I can only answer as a Christian, and can't speak for other "religionists." But for us, God’s “will” revolves around Who He is. In short, God IS Love. We believe that everything He does, everything He is – is steeped in His being Love. But what is love? That’s really the question, because it has everything to do with any understanding of His will. Love creates. It can’t help itself. Where there is love, there is birth, or creativity, or life… love abounds and overflows. It does not hold itself in. So, to keep it simple, let me just say that God created us out of this overflowing Love.
But there’s something else about love that one must understand. Love requires freedom in the sense that one must be able to CHOOSE to love. You’ve heard the saying, “You can’t force someone to fall in love with you.” Very true. Love must be given freely. So for God to create a people in love that He wishes to truly love Him in return (and Christians believe that is His desire), He had to create us with a free will. Otherwise, any “love” we might have for Him couldn’t REALLY be love. It could only be… fear of reprisal, or a robotic sort of thing. It wouldn’t be our choice. It wouldn’t be love. God knew the risk, that there would be those who would not love Him, but His desire for us to love Him in return was worth the risk for Him.
So, is God willing and able? Yes. But, as it is often said in “religious” circles, God is a gentleman. He does not force us to love Him (again, that would defeat the purpose of creating us). If there is evil in the world, it is our doing. God allows it, yes, because we are free, and we take our chances. Why do innocents suffer? Because the “guilty” are exercising their free will to make bad choices, and there is often collateral damage (that's the simplified answer; there's simply not enough room here to expound). But the Good News is that, according to Scriptures, “God works everything to the good for those who love Him.” In short, we believe that there is more to Life than this life, and that's what we have to live for.
I'm all for the freedom to choose, but to choose correctly you need knowledge, yet God denied mankind fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Surely choosing to freely love God, with knowledge, is better than loving in ignorance.
The Garden of Eden allegory speaks to me of *something* that happened in the early beginnings of Man on earth. That Man "fell" seems clear. Could the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil refer to dropping into the illusion of duality?
REALLY wish 4 more room to comment! Rog, God never deprived them of Knowledge itself; He gave them minds. But u left off important words: Tree of Knowledge of GOOD & EVIL. They disobeyed God, tasted evil, brought death upon themselves. Their choi
So that's what it's called - the Epicurean Paradox. I've often asked myself that question, and surely I'm neither the first nor the last to do so.
I have come to the conclusion that God is willing, but not able. I'm also beginning to think Satan is not a created being, but eternal like God. For if God created Lucifer, being All-Knowing, that would make Him the Author of Evil.
I believe there are two major forces in the world; Good and Evil. Both are equal,; whichever one wins out in a situation depends on how many people choose it, and how much strength they have. For example, during World War II, Hitler used "divide and conquer" to ravage Europe. He was overcome by those who knew how to "unite and conquer".
Now there's another paradox. If God created all things and being perfect, all things created must be perfect, God must have created evil.
While there are two forces in the world, I would have to disagree that they are equal. While some choose to deny the power of good, evil does get the upper hand. However, when good is collectively applied, evil takes a second seat. Live by true good.
I think, we created the world we exist in. Our interactions create the things we label evil. No one exists in a vacuum. Evil persists simply because we don't take responsibility for our own actions. We transfer blame in our own lives and we view history in whatever manner puts less blame on us and our views. I think God is the ultimate scapegoat. Since I don't think evil exists on a cosmic level, I just don't think the questions asked hold merit. Both sides of the debate assume the same thing. Never stopping to wonder why a God should be expected to step in and solve problems we are perfectly capable of solving.
I can't think of any human action labeled evil which didn't begin at some point where one human could not have made a positive difference in the life of another; thus averting the chain of events which culminated in an action labeled evil.
You seek an answer based on flawed rhetoric. Therefore, you will never obtain the answer you seek. God does not create evil. Man creates evil through the ability to make a choice. Mankind is made in the form of the King of Kings. God is both willing and able - but chooses to permit man (made in his image) to make the choice. Since it is man that creates the evil, it must be the God loving man that will eliminate it. Those who believe otherwise simply ignore the truth. For there was no evil until the serpent convinced the woman to eat of the forbidden fruit. This act of choosing then led to the rules of engagement for mankind. Since that beginning, every human has been permitted to choose. One that loves God will take the path of righteousness, one that chooses the path of evil does not. Mankind has become weak against the evil in this world, because they have been conditioned to accept evil as a norm, when in fact, it should be eliminated. As explained in Revelations, the Lord God shall reign and all good shall persist while all evil shall not. I personally choose the path that will persist. I pray that many who currently deny - begin to see the light soon.
The first thing here is to question the question.
Why do you limit the answers to come from religionists? That would exclude me, though I enjoyed browsing the answers from those who are okay with the label.
Still, it is a provocative question, and as that appears to be its purpose, to provoke answers, I will play along.
Both the question and answers smell to me like they are following the wrong scent. Wrong in the sense of having no ability to come to a useful conclusion. It just provides a platform of fighting for dogma unless one is willing to step outside its ring.
There are so many more questions to consider, if looked at from other than a religionist's perspective.
Who or what is God? If not the omnipotent Person, than perhaps something beyond our capacity to describe, as it is beyond our sensory experience and heavily laden interpretations. Something perhaps that quantum mechanics touches upon, yet also comes up with missing pieces.
I do not label myself religionist, yet that does not mean I am an atheist or agnostic either. I 'believe in God.' It is just that my concept and way of relating towards God does not come from a book or outer teaching. It is something I have learned to trust from my innate knowing and the knowing evolves.
What really are the ideas of good and evil? Do they exist at all outside human thought and emotion?
Is the real reality so far removed from anything we humans have tried to comprehend that we are all just more or less shooting in the dark -- totally immersed in a holographic illusion that is well maintained by human society?
This won't set well with many, I know, and am okay with that.
I lived as an absolute religionist (Christian fundamentalist) for at least 14-15 years. It was useful to give me an inside perspective of the mindset. I totally understand where people are coming from in the answers from religionists, as they would have been my answers during that period of my life. At that time, I had God in a box. But He got out.
You must first define the god to which the paradox is applicable...
The paradox exist so that the ignorant could be excused from their blasphemy in their arrogant accusations, which is merely the defining mark of their own ignorance.
There have been several good answers and I go along with the notion that others have put forth that the paradox is flawed. It assumes that God being willing and able would result in the absence of evil but that is an over simplification and unjustified.
Looking at it in reverse, since your comments accept free choice then evil is present by what we choose.
That man didn't have enough knowledge to choose and therefore God is to blame for not imparting enough knowledge I don't accept because people choose wrong all the time having full knowledge that their actions are wrong. As for Adam and Eve they were given very clear knowledge as to just a few simple things they were not to do and they chose to act contrary. As to the argument that God kept them from knowledge by forbidding them to eat from the tree, doesn't take into consideration that they walked with God daily in a free relationship that allowed them to receive whatever knowledge they desired straight from God.
In considering the question though, I realized that really all evil comes from the disbelief that God is willing and able. You see when we don't see God as the source of good we are compelled to look elsewhere for it and that's where trouble begins.
Is a father willing and able to stop a painful but necessary medical treatment on his little son?
Yes, he is, but he knows it is necessary to keep on the treatment, in order to heal him and see him eventually enjoy good health and happiness.
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