Define moral evil and natural evil, and illustrate them with examples.

Hamartiology: The Problem of Evil (Theodicy)

Your neighbor Sam greets you outside as you return home from church one Sunday. He confides in you that he has been troubled with the news—recent reports of natural catastrophes, wars, disease, and so on. He asks if you could help him make sense of the presence of evil in the world, if indeed God exists.

Keeping this scenario in mind, answer the following questions in your essay:

  • What is the problem of evil?
  • Define moral evil and natural evil, and illustrate them with examples.
  • Seek to explain why there is sin among mankind (the philosophical problem of moral evil) and why bad things happen in nature (the philosophical problem of natural evil). Consider the various theodicies presented in the reading, and address the merits and faults of each one.
  • Briefly explain why a theodicy must be internally consistent, and defend the internal consistency of your explanation of evil’s existence.
  • Consider how personal experience of evil may affect one’s relationship with God (the religious problem of evil). Do you believe someone can dispute a certain belief about God without actually attacking God Himself?

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