The Battle of God and Devil as the Epitomes of Good and Evil

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Growing up as a practicing Catholic, waking up early to go to mass at 8 am on Sunday mornings and attending religious education classes after school, I have always associated evil with Satan of the Devil and have seen God as all loving and good. When I sin and make mistakes that stray me off the path of God, everything I had learned through the Church was that I had fallen astray to Satan’s temptations. For me, I have always viewed evil as simply something we all have to endure in order to make our way to heaven. I see our life on this world as a test. Those who prove their strength, faith and love of God and make it through the trials and tribulations of everyday life will be rewarded with eternal life in heaven while those who give in to Satan’s temptations will suffer in hell. This perspective is not considered by either David Hume in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion or in J. L. Mackie’s Evil and Omnipotence. Both Hume and Mackie view evil itself and God’s role in evil in different ways than I do, especially coming from backgrounds as atheists or disbelievers of God in the traditional theistic view which shape their arguments to an extent.

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Hume uniquely intertwine the perspectives of Demea, a theist, Cleanthes, who argues for Natural Theology or Anthropomorphism and Philo, a deist as the group discusses the nature of God in his dialogues. Hume would contradict my argument like Philo himself. As a believer in a posteriori arguments, or those based on our experiences, Hume would argue that I do not have sufficient evidence to prove that God is all powerful and omnipotent, let alone that evil is in the world as a way for humans to prove their love for God. As humans it is impossible for us to fully comprehend anything that is infinite based, like God’s eternal love and power from our own experiences, so with a posterori argument, it is impossible for me to conclude that any of God’s plans for us on Earth or his perfect design of the world is in fact perfect if there is no proof that the world was even created by God. Since no one was there to experience God creating the Earth, how can we be sure that he did build the perfect universe or even prove anything he does is true?

Mackie examines the fallacious arguments theists make when explaining how God can exist and be all good and omnipotent, yet evil still exists in the world. My viewpoint that evil and God coexist on Earth as way for God to see who deserves to be in heaven with him would likely be argued as fallacious as well by Mackie since it still does not fully reconcile how an all loving and powerful God allows the world to have evil. Mackie argues that if God is omnipotent why would he not just make the world perfect? As a Catholic, my faith believes that God is both omnipotent and all good, but Mackie would question that if God is all good why would he make his people endure evil just to get to heaven and if God is all powerful why can’t he stop Satan from bringing evil to the world?

In response to both Hume and Mackie’s arguments, I would argue that while there may be a lack of evidence for God’s existence, it is impossible to definitively prove or disprove that God exists. Since Hume is a believer is a posteriori arguments, I would suggest that many people who wake up from comas or suffer near life ending experiences have claimed to have seen or experienced God. It is impossible though to prove if they did in fact see or speak to God, but on the other hand, science often lacks answers for these strange miracles which would easily be explained by the presence of God. Mackie has a strong argument about how God cannot be omnipotent and all loving and evil still exists, but since God is all loving destroying Satan would go against his powers of good. God is not vengeful and when he acts in the world, it is for good not evil, so stopping Satan would make him into a ruler rooted in force not love. The Bible tells the story of Adam and Eve who gave everyone original sin and allowed evil to come into the world by choosing to fall into Satan’s hands. We endure evil as a result of this. Mackie would argue back why wouldn’t God just prevent this event from happening in the first place, but in the end, it is impossible to fully understand God’s plan. Theists put their faith in a higher being and trust in what they have learned through the church. While it can be argued that it is impossible for God to be both omnipotent and all good no one really knows or understands the power of God. We can guess and make assumptions based on current knowledge and experiences, however, there will forever be the unanswered question, until definitive proof of God’s existence arises, how does God and evil coexist?

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