Richard Swinburne's "The Problem of Evil": God's Existence Essay

2121 Words Oct 20th, 1999 9 Pages
Richard Swinburne's "The Problem of Evil": God's Existence

Philosophers have looked for ways to explain God's existence for centuries.
One such argment that the believer must justify in order to maintain the possibility of God's existence is the problem of evil. In his essay, "The
Problem of Evil," by Richard Swinburne, the author attempts to explain how evil can exist in a world created by an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent Being, namely God. Swinburne uses to free-will defense and says that God gave us a choice between doing good and doing evil. If someone chooses to do good over evil, then that Good is greater than if one had no choice at all but to do good. This is a weak argument and in order to clarify those
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Swinburne argues that, although evils are bad, their existence is necessary for the existence of some types of goods. Certain evils that occur, such as the suffering of others, cause us to be compassionate, courageous, self-sacrificing, etc. Swinburne says that these are goods that exist because of the existence of evil. "Evils give men an opportunity to perform the acts which show men at their best" (10). Someone who sees a woman getting raped may show courage and compassion by trying to stop the rapist. It is illogical, however, to say, that it is a good thing that woman was getting raped so that the kindhearted citizen could intervene. This woman, would still suffer from the mentl tortures of being violated. Even though it was a courageous thing that the person stopped the rape, the woman would be better off if the rape had not even happened at all.
Women as a whole would feel a lot safer if rape did not exist. Yet it is an evil, and it does exist, and the compassion ane may feel towards a victim of this evil does not make the victim better off than if there never existed such a thing as rape. If no one were in pain, then it is true that goods such as compassion would not exist. How can it be justified, however, that it is good that some suffer so that others can exhibit good traits? Those people can try and bring others who are in pain happiness and

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