Author Topic: Since God allows evil, it follows that...  (Read 1037 times)

Offline St. Columba

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Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« on: January 23, 2019, 05:40:10 PM »
Since God allows evil, it logically and necessarily follows that...

(a) A greater good will certainly ensue from that evil

or

(b) A greater good can (potentially) ensue from that evil

I would imagine that the answer is (a), but I want to be absolutely certain on this point, as the implications are quite profound and far-reaching, I think.  Please confirm...thanks!   :)
People don't have ideas...ideas have people.  - Jordan Peterson quoting Carl Jung
 
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2019, 06:39:03 PM »
A). But "A" is not always evident in this life, but it will be at the final judgement, when all of God's providence and graces are made manifest.
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 
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Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2019, 02:52:38 AM »
Why is one of these logically necessary?
 
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2019, 05:56:50 AM »
Why is one of these logically necessary?
Well the only alternative that I see is:

(c) No greater good can possibly ensue from the evil

Some would say that (c) is not a logically-possible option, given the assumption that a good God cannot allow evil for the sake of the evil alone and the assumption that a reasonable God cannot allow evil for no reason whatsoever. I'm not sure whether these assumptions are solid, but if they are then (a) and (b) are the only two options.
 
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Offline St. Columba

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2019, 08:03:55 AM »
I see a potential problem with (A) If God lacks no good in Himself, who is ontologically equivalent to all the good that exists, then how can the amount of good increase?  It can't.  But if evil serves the purpose of bringing about a greater good, then we get the rather arresting result that God's integral goodness is wound up with the existence of evil, which seems absurd on its face.

Let me rephrase: If evil must bring about a greater good, then it seems as though evil must exist, so that the greater good that the evil brings can be realized.
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2019, 08:17:30 AM »
No greater good can amount in God; but His creatures can become better and more perfect.
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 
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Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2019, 09:15:44 AM »
Why is one of these logically necessary?
Well the only alternative that I see is:

(c) No greater good can possibly ensue from the evil

Some would say that (c) is not a logically-possible option, given the assumption that a good God cannot allow evil for the sake of the evil alone and the assumption that a reasonable God cannot allow evil for no reason whatsoever. I'm not sure whether these assumptions are solid, but if they are then (a) and (b) are the only two options.

I don't see how you've arrived at the trichotomy without imposing further assumptions. For starters, in all these discussions there's no clarification of the precise meaning of "good".

Take St. Thomas:

Quote
I answer that, Goodness and being are really the same, and differ only in idea

and

Quote
We must therefore say that every action has goodness, in so far as it has being; whereas it is lacking in goodness, in so far as it is lacking in something that is due to its fulness of being; and thus it is said to be evil

Sorry, but doesn't follow at all from God "not lacking in anything due to the fulness of being" that he would not allow any action "lacking in something due to the fulness of being", unless x,y,z.
 

Offline St. Columba

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2019, 11:59:33 AM »
No greater good can amount in God

Then how can evil exist? ...see below...

« Last Edit: January 24, 2019, 12:06:58 PM by St. Columba »
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Offline St. Columba

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2019, 12:06:37 PM »
Prior to God creating anything, no evil existed.  God already, and always, possessed and possesses every good.  Then, it is claimed, God allowed evil within the matrix of His creation, in order that a greater good would ensue.  But if that is true, then the amount of ontological goodness increased, which is impossible for God....which calls into question this whole idea that God allows evil for a greater good.  This line of reasoning suggests that God is determined to some extent by the existence of evil, which is absurd.

Where is my mistake?
People don't have ideas...ideas have people.  - Jordan Peterson quoting Carl Jung
 

Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2019, 01:17:35 PM »
Prior to God creating anything, no evil existed.  God already, and always, possessed and possesses every good.  Then, it is claimed, God allowed evil within the matrix of His creation, in order that a greater good would ensue.  But if that is true, then the amount of ontological goodness increased, which is impossible for God....which calls into question this whole idea that God allows evil for a greater good.  This line of reasoning suggests that God is determined to some extent by the existence of evil, which is absurd.

Where is my mistake?

The first mistake is in speaking of concepts that aren't well-defined and at the same time to expecting to be able to rigorously derive logical implications from them. You can see how this results in paradoxes within mathematics, say, with "sets" that are "defined" by some nebulous property.

"Good", and also quantifications of it like "every good", "greater good" and the "amount of goodness" that can "increase" are the culprits here.

We can meaningfully speak of goodness in a manner that points to the actual existence of the mysterious divine, in which case we're bound to the language of myth, mysticism, and poetry, or we can try to dissect it and conceptualise a mere skeleton of its dead corpse which we can then logically analyse like doctors at an autopsy. But, whatever the Stoics might have thought, we can't do both at the same time.
 

Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2019, 03:33:30 PM »
St. C.
The amount of good didn't increase when God created the world, that would entail that creatures add something to God, which is impossible.
But a creature can always increase in goodness and perfection, because only God is absolute goodness and perfection.
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 

Offline St. Columba

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2019, 06:03:25 PM »
St. C.
The amount of good didn't increase when God created the world, that would entail that creatures add something to God, which is impossible.

Thanks Michael.  But how do you reconcile what you wrote above (good does not increase) with option A you picked above (A greater good will certainly ensue from that evil)?
People don't have ideas...ideas have people.  - Jordan Peterson quoting Carl Jung
 

Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2019, 08:52:57 PM »
S.C.
I don't see the conflict, to wit: God creates all things good; but creatures don't add anything to God, rather God to diffuse and share His goodness with creatures, created them. God can get by and is perfectly happy without creatures as He was for all eternity, but creatures need God as their final end and as their true source of happiness and beatitude. The evil that we see in the world comes from creatures turning away from their final and true end towards a created good. 
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 
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Offline Non Nobis

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2019, 10:31:20 PM »
St. C.
The amount of good didn't increase when God created the world, that would entail that creatures add something to God, which is impossible.

Thanks Michael.  But how do you reconcile what you wrote above (good does not increase) with option A you picked above (A greater good will certainly ensue from that evil)?

God's goodness is infinite, and nothing can increase it. God IS goodness. But God created OTHER good things OUTSIDE Himself, in particular man, and their goodness CAN increase.  God's goodness (God) is the SOURCE of their goodness, not one piece of it.

God becoming one of US and Redeeming US and giving us the chance of Salvation (union with Him) is the infinitely greater goodness that God gave as an answer to the great evil of the Fall and the Crucifixion and our sin and suffering. I think that is the best example of the "greater good" that comes from evil (as an answer to evil) that there is. O Felix Culpa - O Happy Fault that merited such and so great a Redeemer!
« Last Edit: January 24, 2019, 10:34:18 PM by Non Nobis »
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
 
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2019, 05:57:24 AM »
I think I might see the conflict, and I think I also see the problem.

Conflict: If God already possesses all goods, then there can be no good that God does not already possess. And we know that God possesses all of creation. But if there can be no good that God does not already possess, then no greater good can ever be brought into creation either, since God would then possess the greater good which He currently does not possess.

Problem: You're equivocating the word 'possess'. When we speak of God 'possessing' all goods, we speak of His nature (essence? substance?): God is pure act; He cannot become better than He already is. But when we speak of God 'possessing' the cosmos, we speak of Him with regard to His lordship/ownership of all creatures, i.e. we speak of His accidents (His habit, or maybe His relation). However, theologians say that God has no accidents. So I don't know.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2019, 06:08:10 AM by Daniel »
 
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