If it was a positive existent, rather than the privation of good, it would have to be contingent. But, many people say that evil cannot come from a being who is pure goodness (God), and therefore evil cannot be a positive existent. Why is this the case, when the totality of contingent things come from the necessary existent (God), and we know that this in no way compromises the necessary existence of God? Why would evil (which is contingent) compromise the pure goodness of God if it were to come from Him?
You haven’t clarified whether you believe evil to be a postive existent or not. But if you do…
Was followed by this:
If evil was a positive existent, it cannot have always existed, and not have been dependent on God, that is polytheism.
It seems to me the answer should be rather obvious. How could evil not compromise the pure goodness of God if it were to come from Him?
The same way any contingent does not compromise the necessary existence of God, but rather proves the necessary existence of God.
While disproving the goodness of God.
How? Evil is incompatible with goodness, much like how the necessary existent is disimilar to contingent things. But yet again, contingent things prove the necessary existence of God, rather than disprove it.
Well, there’s a difference between something being incompatible and something being dissimilar, which is a vague term in this case to begin with. Why would a good creator create something inconsistent-at odds with- His nature? If God created man in His image, would He make evil intrinsic to man’s nature? Or might He instead give man freedom, that allowed for the possibility of evil, contingent upon man’s choice of opting for a lesser good?
By evil, I mean two things:
Natural evils- such as death, disease, disaster, etc.
Moral evils- which relates to human actions.
Yes, and physical evil might be more challenging to address, while moral evil, OTOH, would be the greatest evil IMO-and so should be the first to be addressed.
Well, I assume that we both agree that knowledge is necessary for God, for without it, how could He bring anything into being?
So I have a question:
The knowledge of God would include His foreknowledge of His creation, which would include the actions of His creatures, do you agree that God created everything with full knowledge of His creatures’ evil actions?
Sure, so He’s at least indirectly responsible for moral evil-and would’ve allowed it for His purposes or not at all. But its still different to say that God allowed the torturer to torture, than to say that He positively willed from the beginning that torture would occur.
My next question is in regards to our free will, do you believe that we have autonomous power or derivative power, and why?
I believe that, dependent on maturity, mental soundness, etc, the average person is morally responsible in any case; we know that they could avoid evil and choose good, which is why we hold them to be accountable in our legal system as well.
Evil is not only the privation of good but it is also the privation of being because being and good are convertible terms insofar as whatever is is good insofar as it is a being. This could not be said if evil was a being. Furthermore, if evil was a being it would be evil to be and since being is the foundation of whatever is, being or existence itself would be evil which is most absurd. Viewing evil as some positive being is going to involve many contradictions and absurdities. If one did view evil as a positive being, then how is evil defined? How is good defined? How is being defined?
And what would make heaven necessarily any better than hell-if evil is a “positive existent”, obviously willed by God in that case?
Believe it or not, that view actually came to my mind soon after posting this topic. LOL!
I didn’t understand the question, sorry.
Well, if God is the direct cause of moral evil, if He willed every evil human choice and act that ever occurred, every lie, every atrocious inhumane act of man to man, then why should we think-what guarantee do we have- that heaven would be any better than hell? Why should good be any better than evil in His eyes-what would be the difference between the two if He’s the author of both?
Because command is not the same as will. Moral evil is disobedience towards God’s commands, whereas everything, regardless of whether it is good or evil, occurs by God’s will.
You seem to agree in the Maximally Great Being.
The corollary is that the maximally evil being is impossible.