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Caitlin O'Byrne

Professor Allan Tomhave

Argument Paper #1

25 November 2007

Do God and Religion have anything to do with Ethics?


The Problem of Evil Argument
The Divine Command Theory has many arguments for and against it. The theory basically says

“God exists and is the omniscient, omnipotent, omni benevolent creator of the world. He is our moral

sovereign and we can learn what is right and wrong by gaining knowledge of God’s moral commands.

One prominent argument against this theory is the “Problem of Evil. This argument has 3

premises. 1) If God exists and it the omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent creator of the world, then

this is the best of all possible worlds. 2) If this is the best of all possible worlds, then it does not contain

any gratuitous evil. 3) The world does contain gratuitous evil. Therefore, it is not the case that God exists

and is the omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent creator of the world.

Rachels looked at the Problem of Evil thoroughly in The Elements of Moral Philosophy. The

“Problem of Evil” basically is the problem of reconciling the existence of evil or suffering in the world

with the existence of a god. If there is this all powerful, all kind, all knowing god out there… how can

there be all this suffering in the world? If there was a perfectly good god, there would be a perfectly good

world to live in. But we know this isn’t true. Just by watching the news, we see the “Problem of Evil”

personified. There is murder, war, natural disasters, death, despair, and I cannot detect any way in which

these instances of evil increases the goodness in the world.

How could the most loving thing (God), who knows all this is going to happen and has the power

to stop it, just let the world continue to suffer? We must look at all of these evils in the world as the right

thing to do because otherwise God would not have left them happen. But they are not morally good, and

God still let them happen. Therefore, the Divine Command Theory must be false, and the argument of

“the Problem of Evil” must be true.