Author Topic: Since God allows evil, it follows that...  (Read 828 times)

Offline james03

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #30 on: January 26, 2019, 10:33:21 PM »
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But despite all of the imprecisions in language, and yes, the realization that reason can only go so far, etc., is it not incumbent upon us theists to able to mount at least some kind of meaningful defence when we are asked, "Why does God allow so much evil?"  Should we not all have some rudimentary understanding of our standard, pat answer, "so a greater good will/may result"?
  Yes.  Faith AND Reason.  When debating the heathen, there are two points to make:

1.  There is a misconception that Catholics believe in dualism, e.g. that God creates a "ghost" and puts it into any old meat robot.  Technically this is likely correct for a vast majority of Catholics, however that is not Catholic teaching.  The soul is merely our Form.  Our Form is the information about us.  I have made the provocative statement that I am glad Stalin lived, otherwise I could not exist.  Some jump on me for being conceited not realizing the point I've made (and not realizing I am a stand in for billions and billions of people).  But the point remains, if the world would be different, billions of people would never have existed.  You can see this even from a material argument.  American soldier marries a French chick after WWII.  No WWII, no baby.  There is no "ghost" that God could just stick into some other baby.

2.  Catholics believe in Free Will.  Heathens end up with a straw man, or maybe even a circular argument.  We believe in Free Will.  The correct objection is not "why is there evil", which is easily answered.  The question is "Why did God create us with Free Will?".

edit:  3.  The problem of evil is a problem for heathens, not Catholics.  If they admit evil exists, then they will eventually be forced to admit God exists.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2019, 10:51:39 PM by james03 »
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Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #31 on: January 27, 2019, 08:19:55 AM »
You’re right of course. But how I respond there is how I respond here. What do you mean by “evil”? How do you imagine God could stop evil from existing? Why do you think God would not allow evil to befall us?
Off the top of my head, evil is the privation, or corruption of something that is integrally good in itself.  Do you agree with this definition of evil?  If not, why not? 

Thank you Kreuzritter!

I'm not even sure what a general "disagreement" with a definition is supposed to be. Definitions aren't true or false but, as it were, establish concepts themselves. However, they may inadequately express what a person has in mind. But then, to be "right" or "wrong", one has to be specific as to what one is trying conceptualise. What I genuinely want to know from a person is, what do you intend by some word, and knowing this is can try grasp what he means and judge his inferences.

Imagine an order of relations like this

phenomenon <-> word that points to phenomenon <-> conceptualisation of this phenomenon as thing in relation to others <-> word pointing to concept <-> precise formal definition <-> word pointing to concept as definition

and speak of senses 1,2 and 3. It's easy to know you're on the same page with 3. 1, however, has to reside in a shared experience. 2,a nd also in confusing 1,2&3, is where so much confusion and talking past one another happens.

For my own part, I definitely have a living experience of a characteristic essence I will call "evil", one I've learned to associate with the presence of demonic powers, sin, corruption, hatefulness, ugliness and wicked deeds. I don't think it can be magically turned into a definition that reflects what it is. But, I suppose, we can abstract concepts from it and take relationships of function and order among other concepts to create a scheme of rational understanding. "Privation, or corruption of something that is integrally good in itself" is fine if we've pinned down "good", but it doesn't exhaust the phenomenon. No concept can.

If you'd like to know my own opinion here, I think truth lies somewhere between the conventional theistic ideas and dualism. Evil considered in itself has no independent existence, its very essence being conceivable as a great empty nothingness and drive to swallow up and annihilate, but, given God and his work ad extra, it necessarily exists and will always exist, and is actualised through subjective freedom. It isn't God's "evil twin", but it is a kind of anti-God, deprived of self-existence, personhood and omnipotence, an acosmic parasite that is in itself no act and all potency, and whose first victim, as it where, was Satan.  :pray3:



 

Offline Daniel

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #32 on: January 27, 2019, 09:17:19 AM »
And we can name that Greater Good:  Free Will.
Free will explains moral evil but not natural evil, unless we are to deny the existence of prelapsarian natural evil.

But I'd question whether free will is this 'greater good'. My thought is that free will is not the 'greater good', but that God's glory is the 'greater good'. And in at least some cases there might also be various other, more trivial, 'greater goods' in addition to God's glory, many of which we are not able to identify.


1.  There is a misconception that Catholics believe in dualism, e.g. that God creates a "ghost" and puts it into any old meat robot.  Technically this is likely correct for a vast majority of Catholics, however that is not Catholic teaching.  The soul is merely our Form.  Our Form is the information about us.
But Thomistic hylomorphism also isn't 'Catholic teaching', so I'm not seeing how it's any more authoritative than dualism. Maybe hylomorphism is the better philosophical position (I'm personally not sure yet), but it's not the only position which a Catholic can legitimately hold.

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I have made the provocative statement that I am glad Stalin lived, otherwise I could not exist.  Some jump on me for being conceited not realizing the point I've made (and not realizing I am a stand in for billions and billions of people).  But the point remains, if the world would be different, billions of people would never have existed.  You can see this even from a material argument.  American soldier marries a French chick after WWII.  No WWII, no baby.  There is no "ghost" that God could just stick into some other baby.
Here's my objection: Certainly God has the power to arrange things such that all 'American soldiers' would have met their respective 'French chicks' even if WWII had never taken place? And all such 'babies' would then be born regardless. Same form, same matter, same person. But different history.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 09:28:25 AM by Daniel »
 

Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2019, 09:39:25 AM »
1.  There is a misconception that Catholics believe in dualism, e.g. that God creates a "ghost" and puts it into any old meat robot.  Technically this is likely correct for a vast majority of Catholics, however that is not Catholic teaching.  The soul is merely our Form.  Our Form is the information about us.
But Thomistic hylomorphism also isn't 'Catholic teaching', so I'm not seeing how it's any more authoritative than dualism. Maybe it's a better philosophical position (I'm personally not sure yet), but it's not the only position which a Catholic can legitimately hold

Right. There's a misconception by some Catholics that Aristotelianism is Catholic doctrine. I'd rather call it a poisoning of Christian truth. But as long as you operate on the same dichotomic ground of "mind and matter" or "soul and body" of 99% of the rest of humanity, whether conceived dualistically or monistically by reduction of one to the other, or even by some functionally equivalent prattle about form and matter, you will never find the solution.

Here's a question to that point:

If the human soul and body together, or even the soul alone, constitute a human "I", how could the second hypostasis of the Trinity, already being an "I", have united to itself a human soul and body while remaining one, single "I"? If the latter dogma, that Christ is one divine person, is to be true, we have to postulate the subject as something transcending and prior to both soul and body.

Further: If there is no "ghost in the machine", how does the "soul" persist after the annihilation of the body? What does the soul being the "form" of the body even mean, and with this definition, where does the subject fit in, and wherein does his self-identity reside?

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And all such 'babies' would then be born regardless. Same form, same matter, same person. But different history.

That's the billion-dollar question: in what sense are they "the same"?  For the materialist it's impossible. But for the Aristotelian it doesn't look much better. Even for those who just want to insist the human subject isn't transcendent of his mutable soul, self-identity seems not to be in reach.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 09:44:36 AM by Kreuzritter »
 

Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #34 on: January 27, 2019, 10:11:24 AM »
2.  Catholics believe in Free Will.  Heathens end up with a straw man, or maybe even a circular argument.  We believe in Free Will.  The correct objection is not "why is there evil", which is easily answered.  The question is "Why did God create us with Free Will?".

Sure, but  questions remain like why does God allow beings with free will to enact their evil choices and cause others to suffer. Stopping them would not deprive them of their intrinsic freedom to choose, and indeed, God supposedly does at times intervene to prevent just such a thing. And a third question exists: why does God create those free beings whom he knows will cause such evil, or even moreso, those he knows will be damned.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 10:13:07 AM by Kreuzritter »
 

Offline St. Columba

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #35 on: January 27, 2019, 01:33:01 PM »
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(a) A greater good will certainly ensue from that evil

And we can name that Greater Good:  Free Will.

Is evil the result of free-will, or is free-will (your claimed greater good) the result of evil?

At any rate, it seems you are opting for option (b) from the OP, not option (a)....is that right James?

Thanks for your post friend!
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 01:39:59 PM by St. Columba »
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Offline james03

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #36 on: January 27, 2019, 02:25:15 PM »
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Free will explains moral evil but not natural evil,
  Correct.

Natural evil is due to viewing the soul as the Aristotelian form.  IF certain information must be true about someone, and that information includes some natural evil in the past, even generations ago, then in order for that form to exist, the natural evil must be allowed.

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Is evil the result of free-will, or is free-will (your claimed greater good) the result of evil?

Moral evil is the result of free-will.  It is us choosing our own interests above God.

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Sure, but  questions remain like why does God allow beings with free will to enact their evil choices and cause others to suffer.
  I've given the answer.  If Stalin had not done evil, I would not exist.  I'm not a dualist.  If someone here is a dualist, maybe he can answer the question.  That question is no problem for me.
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Offline james03

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #37 on: January 27, 2019, 02:35:20 PM »
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and wherein does his self-identity reside?
  In Truth.  At the core of our being is this simple fact: I Exist.  (edit:  I have a theory.  If you want to understand where the hatred of the left emanates from, it is from their realization that they exist.)

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or even by some functionally equivalent prattle about form and matter, you will never find the solution.

The solution has been confirmed by mostly heathens (Gibbs was some sort of prot.)

Gibbs a year before his death came close and was on the path.  He started talking about information and one of his equations shows where he was headed.  To Gibbs, information exists.  (And since it is immaterial, the immaterial exists -- my add).  Crick discovered that the most important discovery was not the double helix in DNA, but the information contained in it.  Shannon developed a fundamental law for information, since named Shannon Entropy.  Jaynes proved that one of the fundamental properties of nature, Gibbs entropy, is not fundamental.  It is an application of Shannon Entropy.  The importance of information will eventually destroy the theory of natural selection (that, and statistics).

Information about something is the Form of that thing.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 02:47:02 PM by james03 »
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"All sorrow leads to the foot of the Cross.  Weep for your sins."
 

Offline james03

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #38 on: January 27, 2019, 02:44:49 PM »
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Here's my objection: Certainly God has the power to arrange things such that all 'American soldiers' would have met their respective 'French chicks' even if WWII had never taken place? And all such 'babies' would then be born regardless. Same form, same matter, same person. But different history.

God does not have this power as He is constrained.  What constrains God?  TRUTH.  God is Truth, so God is His own constraint.  In other words, God can't lie.  God can't make a circle be a triangle at the same time, that would be a lie.  In the same way God can't make a baby born of WWII, if WWII didn't happen.  At best He could intervene (not even sure about this) and make the babies have the same DNA.  That would possibly result in the same matter (ignoring environmental factors), but the Form would be different.

If you don't like the Form argument, stick to the matter argument.  Ok, the same DNA is present.  But these people HAVE to be raised in entirely different circumstances and meet completely different people and even have completely different parents.  It doesn't work.  (edit: actually, this is the Form argument, but camouflaged as a material argument).
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 02:49:19 PM by james03 »
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"All sorrow leads to the foot of the Cross.  Weep for your sins."
 

Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #39 on: January 28, 2019, 08:11:11 AM »
The solution has been confirmed by mostly heathens (Gibbs was some sort of prot.)

Gibbs a year before his death came close and was on the path.  He started talking about information and one of his equations shows where he was headed.  To Gibbs, information exists.  (And since it is immaterial, the immaterial exists -- my add).  Crick discovered that the most important discovery was not the double helix in DNA, but the information contained in it.  Shannon developed a fundamental law for information, since named Shannon Entropy.  Jaynes proved that one of the fundamental properties of nature, Gibbs entropy, is not fundamental.  It is an application of Shannon Entropy.  The importance of information will eventually destroy the theory of natural selection (that, and statistics).

Information about something is the Form of that thing.

This is just more mechanistic reductionism. Whatever else this abstraction of "information" is, it's not a subject, no collection of it is a real unity, it is not conscious, it is not alive, and it does not will, think and feel. It also exists only in relation to the machine that interprets it and material that encodes it.


The "solution" already exists, in the immediate experience of my self, by my self, as my self, the transcendental, simple, irreducible "I".
« Last Edit: January 28, 2019, 08:14:14 AM by Kreuzritter »
 

Offline Non Nobis

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #40 on: January 28, 2019, 09:37:56 PM »
...
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Sure, but  questions remain like why does God allow beings with free will to enact their evil choices and cause others to suffer.
  I've given the answer.  If Stalin had not done evil, I would not exist.  I'm not a dualist.  If someone here is a dualist, maybe he can answer the question.  That question is no problem for me.

I acknowledge you exist, and I know you are glad you exist,  and I can believe that if Stalin had not done evil you would not exist (chain of historic events). But that just means that YOU should be "glad" that Stalin did evil (that God permitted it, although not for the evil itself). But maybe the question is, why should God have created you at all if He had to allow evil for it to happen?  The history of the world didn't HAVE to include all the evil events even if it would not be the same world without them. Adam and Eve didn't HAVE to sin and we didn't have to exist; others would exist and they would be the happier "we".

I'm "glad" that Adam and Eve sinned (that it was permitted) because the historical events that started from there lead to Christ's existing.  My existence doesn't matter much to the goodness of the world, but CHRIST's existence and life is the greatest and ultimate good of the world.
[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.

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Offline Daniel

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #41 on: January 29, 2019, 07:35:18 AM »
Ok, here's another thought:

Privations have neither form nor telos. And all evils are privations. Therefore, evils are never ordered toward a 'greater good'.

Though there's probably something wrong in what I just said. (Probably some equivocation going on...)
 
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #42 on: January 29, 2019, 07:51:50 AM »
God does not have this power as He is constrained.  What constrains God?  TRUTH.  God is Truth, so God is His own constraint.  In other words, God can't lie.  God can't make a circle be a triangle at the same time, that would be a lie.  In the same way God can't make a baby born of WWII, if WWII didn't happen.  At best He could intervene (not even sure about this) and make the babies have the same DNA.  That would possibly result in the same matter (ignoring environmental factors), but the Form would be different.

If you don't like the Form argument, stick to the matter argument.  Ok, the same DNA is present.  But these people HAVE to be raised in entirely different circumstances and meet completely different people and even have completely different parents.  It doesn't work.  (edit: actually, this is the Form argument, but camouflaged as a material argument).
I'm not entirely sure what you're saying. The form (soul) comes from God, so the form would be the same regardless. The matter (DNA) comes from the parents, and if the parents are the same then the matter is the same.
same soul + same parents --> same person
same soul + different parents --> different person

Why would there need to be different parents? What I'm saying is, God has power to cause the father and the mother to meet through different circumstances.
e.g. It could be, as you say, that WWII happens, and the American soldier is consequently overseas in France where he meets the French woman whom he marries. But it could also be the case that WWII does not happen, and the same American soldier is by chance overseas in France on vacation where he meets the same French woman whom he marries.
What I'm suggesting is that God not only has power to ensure that the American soldier and the French woman meet through different circumstances, but that every pair of parents meets through different circumstances, such that all the exact same people are born.

I'm not sure whether what I just said is logically possible though. Some situations seem impossible, e.g. without evil, it seems that there can never be two half-brothers born of the same mother, since: either the woman would need to be a widow (impossible, since death is an evil), or the woman would need two husbands (impossible, since one-woman-to-many-husbands polygamy is evil), or the woman would need to conceive at least one of the two sons through fornication or adultery (impossible, since both are evil), or the woman would need to conceive through in vitro fertilization (also evil)... I think that this exhausts the possibilities, though I'm not sure...

However, as you point out, God could intervene and miraculously bring these half-brothers into existence by altering the sperm's DNA (matter) at the time of the child's conception. Which I'm pretty sure is theoretically possible, since according to the Catholic Church three historical persons have had their DNA miraculously altered by God: 1.) Adam, who wouldn't have even had DNA if God hadn't rearranged the 'dirt' molecules into human DNA, 2.) Eve, who would have been a man (clone of Adam) had God not changed the Y chromosome into an X, and 3.) Jesus, who would have been a woman (clone of Mary) had God not changed one of the Xs into a Y.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2019, 08:29:54 AM by Daniel »
 

Offline St. Columba

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #43 on: January 29, 2019, 09:41:53 AM »
If you'd like to know my own opinion here, I think truth lies somewhere between the conventional theistic ideas and dualism. Evil considered in itself has no independent existence, its very essence being conceivable as a great empty nothingness and drive to swallow up and annihilate, but, given God and his work ad extra, it necessarily exists and will always exist, and is actualised through subjective freedom. It isn't God's "evil twin", but it is a kind of anti-God, deprived of self-existence, personhood and omnipotence, an acosmic parasite that is in itself no act and all potency, and whose first victim, as it where, was Satan.  :pray3:

Interesting Kreuzritter.  This is tricky.  If evil in itself necessarily exists, as you say above, does this not imply that God is incapable of preventing evil, moral or otherwise? 
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Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Since God allows evil, it follows that...
« Reply #44 on: January 29, 2019, 11:21:20 AM »
If you'd like to know my own opinion here, I think truth lies somewhere between the conventional theistic ideas and dualism. Evil considered in itself has no independent existence, its very essence being conceivable as a great empty nothingness and drive to swallow up and annihilate, but, given God and his work ad extra, it necessarily exists and will always exist, and is actualised through subjective freedom. It isn't God's "evil twin", but it is a kind of anti-God, deprived of self-existence, personhood and omnipotence, an acosmic parasite that is in itself no act and all potency, and whose first victim, as it where, was Satan.  :pray3:

Interesting Kreuzritter.  This is tricky.  If evil in itself necessarily exists, as you say above, does this not imply that God is incapable of preventing evil, moral or otherwise?

No, it doesn’t stop God from preventing the work of evil manifesting. But it will always exist, like a black hole of nothingness, in relation to everything else, waiting to swallow it up. Evil has no absolute existence just as there is in no conceivable sense any “absolute nothingness” - that is the truth in the deprivation concept.

Malicious hatred and perversion exist, as do those demonic essences we encounter and feel in the soul that shake us to the bone, whether those who call evil a mere “deprivation” or not, and they are not reductionistic deprivations of a good; they are exactly what they are. It’s not that it’s inconceivable how somebody intentionally raping, torturing and murdering little kids could have its cause in a mere deprivation and it’s motive in willing some lesser good. No. It’s that no logic or causal chain can take one from a good or neutral phenomenon, via some deprivation, to the real, vital, experiencable essences of these things, any more than a collection of photons can make a colour or chemicals and electrical signals an emotion. It’s more semantic juggling that reduces the world to intelleigible concepts at the expense of the phenomena themselves.
 
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