My View Of The Problem Of Evil in Mackie's Article ‘Evil And Omnipotence’

Categories: GodProblems

Mackie starts his article by stating the conundrum argument topic of the existence of God has been debated by philosophers for a very long time ago. Conventional Christians believe that God is wholly good, and God is omnipotent. Why God didn’t eliminate the evil though God is omnipotent? Why human must suffer from the evil? God created the world, God can just create only Good without Evil? Mackie criticized the topic that every Christian might have once raise a question of the problem of evil.

I am going to reply to the Mackie’s version of the problem of evil solution 1; Good can exist without evil, so the premise are false that Good cannot exist without evil, so the world must have evil in it if God wants to create a world with good in it. My reply to the Mackie is that there is the grey point between Good and evil.

In the Mackie’s article he states three propositions that is inconsistent triad.

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“God is omnipotent; God is wholly good; and yet evil exists. To clarify ‘the problem of evil’ precisely I should ensure the concept of inconsistent triad. Inconsistent triad means if there are three claims cannot be true at the same time. Only two claims can be truth and one claim should have to be false. For example, “Every student submits their assignments”, “Every professor not accepted late assignment”, and “Some students miss assignment due date.” These three claims are my example to explain inconsistent triad.

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Mackie started his argument based on three propositions of the problem of evil that have contradiction “God is wholly good being (God is Omnibenevolent). God is Omnipotent, Good is opposed to evil and try to eliminate evil as far as it can. Therefore, God who is omnipotent and wholly good eliminate evil completely. But evil exists.” So, what should we do to resolve these contradictions? Mackie says that the most appropriate answer for this question is a denial or correction of the premises. For example, "In fact, God is not omnipotent, there is something God cannot do," or "God is in fact an evil, God is not wholly good that was what human wanted God to be." If we accept the above premises, it is inevitable that the contradiction will occur again. However, if we think like correction of the premises I mentioned it above, it will no longer be the God generally we believe in. So, denial of the premise has a profound effect on the divinity of Christ.

If you don’t want to modify the premises, how about changing the meanings of evil or definition of evil that exists in the real world. For example, "what we know as evil is not actually evil," or as the Pope has said in Mackie’s article, "Disorder is harmony not understood, and that partial evil is universal good." But I don’t think which anyone will agree to define the evil in this way. For the first example, if the evil that we know as evil is not actual evil, can you say that the evil generally defined is not evil? In general sense, evil described as the opposite of good or absence of good. This definition is so vague so changing its meaning also makes nonsense. For example, the problem of evil what we known as evil is not real evil, then. Let’s suppose, thieves had been in Jack’s house and said he had murdered Jack’s parents and raped Jack’s sister, I am sure that nobody would able to confidently say "Indeed this is not evil". It is also difficult to understand what the Pope has said for me. Even though evil is small, partial, and brings great good in the future, it is evil, there is no change in the fact that evil exists and that is evil. Mackie suggests, religious person or theologians should modify or give up one of the premises to properly resolve this contradiction of the problem of evil.

There are theologians and religious people who claim that there is no answer to resolve three premises. But Mackie points out that such explanations are in fact self-contradictions, because most claims deny themselves the "omnipotence of God" or "the whole goodness of God" later, even if it seems plausible at first. The author of the thesis, Mackie lists the four most representative of these explanations and points out how each of the explanations causes self-contradictions.

Mackie suggested fallacious solution 1, “Good cannot exist without evil, since evil is necessary as means to good.” It sounds quite plausible at first, but the problem with this explanation is as in the followings. First, the claim that 'Good cannot exist without evil' is, in other words, when God created this world without existence of evil he could not create a Goodness. If this is the case, then this assumption is to say that there is a limit on his ability; God's omnipotence. Of course, it also contradicts to premise 2; God is omnipotence. If there is one single thing that God cannot be done, then 'Omnipotence' is no longer the essence of God. The above claim ‘solution 1’ also contradicts the premise if the coexistence of good and evil is 'inevitable', the good no matter how bad the evil is, it must go to some extent and leave evil for its existence. If good cannot exist without evil, God who is a wholly good, is in an ironic situation that he must leave evil for good exist. As a result, 'God does the best to eliminate evil' becomes a lie

I wonder why Mackie has such a dichotomous point of view. What if we understand the universe as a complementary dependency? Because all the components of the world are intertwined, it is necessary to cooperate and coordinate with others. In real life, for example, anyone watching an advertisement on a TV exhorted poor children in Africa needs our help we only calling for donations would have seen it once. At this time, who contributed to this sponsoring organization is good, and who watches the drama after ignoring the advertisement is the bad? If I want to take the middle point (grey zone) between these two extreme propositions, good and evil, am I indecisive and irresolute person? In my opinion, good and evil are inseparable. Human beings instinctively seek goodness but act selfishly and evil in some situations related to their own survival itself. But human who chooses evil once would not be evil continually. The oriental humanism which I learned in high school ‘Ethical Ideology’ class time has established my foundation concept of good and evil. I need to introduce small part of Eastern Philosophy to reply on Mackie’s claim of the problem of Evil.

According to my high school Ethic class text book, oriental humanism is a part of anthropology which deals with the properties of human beings, and it can be said that it is study searching and contemplation about the human nature, and reflection and discussion of the world to which mankind belongs. As for the content, human beings divide the viewpoint of human essence into three broadly, that inherent character is decided by good and evil. In short, the nature of human being is the goodness of Mencius, which is good, and the nature of human being is evil, and that man is the empty state of being good and not evil, Is a genderless radio malice (genderless good and bad).

Mencius insisted that a person is inheriting good nature. Mencius claimed that man is not man unless he has a compassionate mind, a shameful heart, a conscious mind, and a right to know what is right and wrong. The goodness of human nature is like water flowing downward. If there is evil, it is because of external, environmental and social reasons.

Mandarinism: In the age of China, Chuang-tza insisted that man's sexuality is evil and that goodness comes from artificial efforts. Every person has a natural nature, and everybody likes profit, hates harm, and tends to covet good voice and beautiful appearance. If a person follows the original sex and pursues desire, there is contention, social order becomes dizzy, causing confusion do. Therefore, it is a teacher who has to be educated, educated by law, guided by courtesy, and judged by courtesy.

Gonghua Wrong: Gogae said that human personality is neither good nor evil. He says that the nature of man is not divided between good and evil, as if water is not divided between east and west. The nature of man is neither originally good, nor evil in the process of being able to be any character.

The commonalities among the claims of these ancient Oriental philosophers are that humanity is considered as a concept of good and evil. But from the perspective of the Classic of Changes, which is the core of Oriental philosophy, there is no good or evil that we understand and know. There is a sound, there is a quantity, there is a quantity, there is a sound, so there is a mutual existence, not an absolute world but a relative world. If you classify good and evil in terms of Yin and Yang, you can distinguish between good and evil. If there is a moon, the moon is full and the moon is a new moon, and the moon and sheep have the same properties.

In addition, the yin and yang in the protagonist is not good to be rejected because it is a good claiming from the viewpoint of religion today and it is evil. It is said to be alive and harmonious. There is nothing in the universe nature that is not mutually opposed. Therefore, there is no word that good and evil are absolute or absolute. They are in relative or complementary dependency with each other in relative concept. It is complementary like the two sides of a coin. If there is no front, there is no back. If there is no stomach, there is no bottom. This means that there is no evil without good, no good without evil. Good and evil are also far from the concept of 'good and bad' and 'right and wrong', which we consider ethically. The moment the world chooses one thing, the opposite and opposing one becomes simultaneously present.

The concept of good and evil can never be understandable due to the existence of the thought of a good exists to eliminate evil and expels it. If there is one, there is the other one related with one, and each one is constantly confronted with each other for the expansion of each other, against it each other, and the development of each other. The existence of evil can be understood to be necessary for boost up the good in the better direction, and the injustice is necessary for the development of the justice, and the confrontation and suppression of the two are necessary for advancing and developing the history of mankind.

In Buddhism, there is a line that teaches that Buddhism is unbelievable. This is not to think of the good, nor to think of evil. It is because the mind that thinks and does not think comes out from discernment. From here you see that side, and from there you see that side. Just as all the war histories of humankind are not the war of good and evil, but the war of human and human, good and evil are of the same nature and sometimes relatively reversed. Therefore, good and evil can be said to be yin and yang, two things can be one.

Updated: Feb 17, 2024
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My View Of The Problem Of Evil in Mackie's Article ‘Evil And Omnipotence’. (2024, Feb 17). Retrieved from

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