Is Evil Inevitable?

Dr. Michael Egnor is a well known neurosurgeon and an ID proponent who is affiliated with the Discovery Institute. He has been writing extensively on the theme of religion, such Thomistic dualism, the immortality of the soul, and recently on the prevalence/existence of evil. Here is a quote from his recent article entitled:

Cosmic Fine-Tuning and the Problem of Evil”

“Theism predicts two things about evil: that it exists, and that we are not able to entirely comprehend it. Evil exists because the created universe is not God, but His creation, so it must of necessity fall short of God, who is perfectly Good. After all, if the universe were perfectly good, without evil, it would just be God. If the universe is God’s creation, then it must fall short of perfection, and it must contain evil, understood as the deprivation of good. So Goff is mistaken that theism predicts a perfect cosmos, free from evil. Theism posits a perfect God, and a creation necessarily short of perfection. Theism seems to have gotten this “prediction” quite right, because the cosmos is certainly short of perfection. Theism predicts evil in the world, precisely because God is Good and because the world is not God.” – Michael Egnor

https://evolutionnews.org/2018/02/cosmic-fine-tuning-and-the-problem-of-evil/

What Dr. Egnor seems to claim is there would be no universe, no Earth and no humans, unless there was evil…So, ultimately God allowed evil to exist in order for material universe to be…

According to Dr. Egnor’s reasoning, no matter how difficult one might find it to understand, one can’t help but conclude that God must be, at least indirectly, responsible for evil, which would also include the recent shooting in Florida…

God allowed the existence of the inferior to Him universe, including humans but at the price of evil…

I can’t help but notice that the great majority of Christians still struggle with the existence of evil and loving God…Dr. Egnor’s article is just another proof of that…

I also covered some of the issues related of evil in this OP:

The Mystery of Christianity: 1. The Problem of Evil

42 thoughts on “Is Evil Inevitable?

  1. Dr. Michael Egnor is a well known neurosurgeon and an ID proponent who is affiliated with the Discovery Institute. He has been writing extensively on the theme of religion, …”

    And they wonder why people say that ID is religion.

  2. Egnor also believes that all murderers are Democrats, so I find it hard to take anything he says seriously.

    God is omnipotent and omniscient but can’t create a universe without evil? What nonsense. Maybe a good start would have been if he didn’t perform horrendous acts of evil himself (eg, Noah’s flood) or instruct others to do it for him (killing the wives, children and infants of Israel’s defeated enemy). If God exists, he actively and intentionally created evil, it was not simply the unintended byproduct of creation.

  3. Now that we know we’re all going to heaven because there cannot be no evil unless there’s only gawd, I’m gonna spend my eternity trolling god by repeatedly asking him “how do you know that?” and “can you support that claim?”

  4. Acartia: Egnor also believes that all murderers are Democrats, so I find it hard to take anything he says seriously.

    Is that a fact? Boy! What if a Republican is found guilty of murder? Dr. Egnor is going to say that he is not really a Republican?
    I hope what you are saying is not true because I’d lose all the respect for Dr. Egnor I have left….

  5. dazz:
    Now that we know we’re all going to heaven because there cannot be no evil unless there’s only gawd, I’m gonna spend my eternity trolling god by repeatedly asking him “how do you know that?” and “can you support that claim?”

    It’s clear you are not in touch with reality because your anger makes you write total nonsense… Are you blaming God for making you who you are? Or maybe you should look at an alternative and having free will and the ability to choose…

  6. Acartia:
    Egnor also believes that all murderers are Democrats, so I find it hard to take anything he says seriously.

    J-Mac: Is that a fact? Boy! What if a Republican is found guilty of murder? Dr. Egnor is going to say that he is not really a Republican?
    I hope what you are saying is not true because I’d lose all the respect for Dr. Egnor I have left….

    “Virtually all of the gun violence in America is committed by Democrats in municipalities governed by Democrats. The gun violence in Republican suburbs is near zero. Nearly all of our gun violence is in cities, and nearly all (if not all) of the violence-prone cities in our country are deep blue–Democrat.”
    — Michael Egnor, egnorance.blogspot.com.au, 2015

  7. John Harshman:
    Hey, if god can’t create a world without evil, then doesn’t there have to be evil in heaven?

    What do you care? You would serve Satan as long as your nested hierarchy would look good even with the miraculous gene insertions into the tree of life…
    Yeah, wasting one’s life of birdie hell-evolution is not an easy to swallow… but who said that fairytale business is going to be easy to sell as science?

  8. J-Mac:

    I can’t help but notice that the great majority of Christians still struggle with the existence of evil and loving God…Dr. Egnor’s article is just another proof of that…

    I can’t help but notice that just like the rest of your fellow Christians, you have no solution to the problem of evil. None, whatsoever.

  9. John Harshman:
    J-Mac,

    Thank you for your considered reply.

    My pleasure… I have always been considered of people who have not totally lost the touch with reality… You have been close… but I have kept my hopes alive…Nothing is lost when you have hope…even with you… I still have hope with you… Larry Moran, on the on the other hand…Well, you know it better than me…

  10. keiths,

    I can’t help but notice that just like the rest of your fellow Christians, you have no solution to the problem of evil. None, whatsoever.

    And the frog at the bottom of the well keeps screaming this hoping that someday it will be true.

  11. keiths, to J-Mac:

    I can’t help but notice that just like the rest of your fellow Christians, you have no solution to the problem of evil. None, whatsoever.

    colewd:

    And the frog at the bottom of the well keeps screaming this hoping that someday it will be true.

    If it isn’t true, then what’s your solution to the problem of evil?

    (And were you truly too dim to see that question coming?)

    Damn, Bill.

  12. I despise theodicy in all forms, but this version is just stupid.

    Egnor rightly notes that, if we stipulate a distinction between the Creator and His/Her Creation, and if we also stipulate that the Creator is perfect, then the Creation cannot be perfect. It must have some imperfections of some kind or other.

    That’s all right.

    But that does nothing to explain or justify why the Creation has exactly the kinds of imperfections that it does. Did God have no choice but to allow the Holocaust once He decided to create the universe at all in the first place? Was this universe the only one available to Him? If there were alternatives, then why did He choose this one?

    These are serious questions that any theodicy must address. It can’t just be, “well, any universe must contain some imperfections, so there you go.”

  13. J-Mac: I have always been considered of people who have not totally lost the touch with reality

    Something for your gravestone one day, maybe?

  14. Kantian Naturalist: But that does nothing to explain or justify why the Creation has exactly the kinds of imperfections that it does.

    Right, we know there will be imperfections and we know that God is justified for allowing the kinds of imperfections we see if he has good reason for doing so.

    So the only question remaining is does “God have good reasons for allowing the types of imperfections we see?”.

    I’m not sure how anyone could ever answer that definitively one way or the other unless God has spoken to him.

    peace

  15. petrushka: I can’t help but wonder whether evil exists in heaven, and if not, why it is necessary at all.

    Heaven is not a self-contained universe it’s the place where God’s presence is most experienced.

    peace

  16. fifthmonarchyman: Heaven is not a self-contained universe it’s the place where God’s presence is most experienced.

    Nice to know every fucking thing. What’s the weather like there today?

  17. petrushka:
    I can’t help but wonder whether evil exists in heaven, and if not, why it is necessary at all.

    It did… at least at one point or two…

    Job 1:6-8

    “One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before GOD, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them. 7 God said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the God and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” 8 Godsaid to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”

    It seems there was an argument made in the heavenly court over good and evil… The Accuser Satan made his case against Job… that he was doing good because God was bribing him…

  18. Kantian Naturalist: But that does nothing to explain or justify why the Creation has exactly the kinds of imperfections that it does. Did God have no choice but to allow the Holocaust once He decided to create the universe at all in the first place? Was this universe the only one available to Him? If there were alternatives, then why did He choose this one?

    But see, you know that genocide is evil because of God. Which means, um, I guess God doesn’t know that genocide is evil, or is just an uncaring rat.

    Yes, we often make mistakes, but then we typically strive to fix those mistakes. Somehow that’s too much to expect of Egnor’s God.

    Glen Davidson

  19. fifthmonarchyman: A Bible is helpful when it comes to knowing the meaning of Biblical words

    peace

    But is it actually a “Biblical word”?

    heaven (n.)
    Old English heofon “home of God,” earlier “the visible sky, firmament,” probably from Proto-Germanic *hibin-, dissimilated from *himin- (cognates Low German heben, Old Norse himinn, Gothic himins, Old Frisian himul, Dutch hemel, German Himmel “heaven, sky”), which is of uncertain origin. Perhaps literally “a covering,” from a PIE root *kem- “to cover” (also proposed as the source of chemise). Watkins derives it elaborately from PIE *ak- “sharp” via *akman- “stone, sharp stone,” then “stony vault of heaven.”

    From late 14c. as “a heavenly place; a state of bliss.” Plural use in sense of “sky” probably is from Ptolemaic theory of space as composed of many spheres, but it also formerly was used in the same sense as the singular in Biblical language, as a translation of Hebrew plural shamayim. Heaven-sent (adj.) attested from 1640s.

    Here’s another one:

    Etymology
    From a wide variety of Middle English forms including heven, hevin, heuen and hewin (“heaven, sky”), from Old English heofon (“heaven, sky”), of uncertain origin.[1]

    Cognate with Scots hevin, hewin (“heaven, sky”), Low German hēven (“heaven, sky”), Old Saxon heƀan (“heaven, sky”), and possibly the rare Icelandic and Old Norse hifinn (“heaven, sky”), probably dissimilated forms of the Germanic root which appears in Old Norse himinn (“heaven, sky”), Gothic 𐌷𐌹𐌼𐌹𐌽𐍃 (himins, “heaven, sky”), Old Swedish himin, Old Danish himæn and probably also (in another variant form) Old Saxon himil, Old Dutch himil (modern Dutch hemel) and Old High German himil (German Himmel).[1]

    Accepting these as cognates, some scholars propose a further derivation from Proto-Germanic *himinaz[2] or *himilaz (“cover, heaven, sky”), from Proto-Indo-European *k(‘)emen- (“sky, heaven”),[2] from Proto-Indo-European *ḱem- (“cover, shroud”).[2] Such a derivation would make the word cognate with shame.[1]

    Anyhow, as you seem to think you know, what’s the weather like today? Better for skiing or for swimming?

  20. fifthmonarchyman: Right, we know there will be imperfections and we know that God is justified for allowing the kinds of imperfections we see if he has good reason for doing so.

    So the only question remaining is does “God have good reasons for allowing the types of imperfections we see?”.

    I’m not sure how anyone could ever answer that definitively one way or the other unless God has spoken to him.

    In other words, theodicy is impossible unless one has had a chat with the Big Guy himself, and whatever He says to you can’t be communicated to anyone else, either.

  21. walto: There are probably more important things to despise.

    For sure. I have a list. Theodicy barely makes it into the top ten.

  22. I have to say that Dr. Egnor’s explanation for the occurrence of evil is one which no Thomist would endorse – which is surprising, given that he professes to be a Thomist. He writes:

    Evil exists because the created universe is not God, but His creation, so it must of necessity fall short of God, who is perfectly Good. After all, if the universe were perfectly good, without evil, it would just be God… Theism posits a perfect God, and a creation necessarily short of perfection. Theism seems to have gotten this “prediction” quite right, because the cosmos is certainly short of perfection. Theism predicts evil in the world, precisely because God is Good and because the world is not God.

    What Dr. Egnor overlooks is that evil, as Aristotle and Aquinas defined the term, is not merely the absence of some perfection, but the lack of it, where it should be present. Evil is a deficiency. I cannot fly, but that does not make me a bad human being, as the ability to fly is not part of what makes a good human being. If a swallow could not fly, on the other hand, it would be a bad swallow.

    The cosmos, being finite, will inevitably fail to realize some perfections. That does not make it evil.

    More to the point: the cosmos, prior to the appearance of life, was entirely free of evil. (One cannot call a salt crystal good or bad; only in living things does not notion of deficiency make any sense.) However, a lifeless universe certainly wouldn’t “be” God, as Dr. Egnor suggests in the passage above. Rather, it would be infinitely less than God.

  23. vjtorley: More to the point: the cosmos, prior to the appearance of life, was entirely free of evil. (One cannot call a salt crystal good or bad; only in living things does not notion of deficiency make any sense.) However, a lifeless universe certainly wouldn’t “be” God, as Dr. Egnor suggests in the passage above. Rather, it would be infinitely less than God.

    I would say that the cosmos prior to the appearance of life was entirely free of suffering. But calling that “evil” seems a bit problematic. Perhaps the distinction you want here is between “natural evil” and “moral evil”?

    I can see the argument that there was no “natural evil” prior to the emergence of life, because there weren’t any beings that could suffer as a result of hurricanes or earthquakes.

    That would still require a further argument that there was no “moral evil” prior to the emergence of hominids with the right sort of soul for libertarian freedom.

  24. vjtorley,

    Hey,
    I agree. Dr. Egnor is confused about his own beliefs not to mention what evil and good is vs perfection in God’s sense…

    ETA: My question is : did God create evil when He presented Adam and Eve with the tree of knowledge of good and evil?
    Or their rebellion/sin simply lead to it or it was the consequence of their rebellion/sin…

  25. newton: So God created evil when He created life.

    Interestingly, Kraus (an aristotelian) argues in a couple of books that there were prudential goods prior to the existence of sentient beings. Dunno if he’d say that about moral values.

    ETA: that’s Kraut, not Kraus.

  26. Ah you only care about what YOU mean by ‘heaven.’ Ok so what’s the weather there today? Can you ask St. Peter or something?

  27. Quaesitor: J-Mac: Is that a fact? Boy! What if a Republican is found guilty of murder? Dr. Egnor is going to say that he is not really a Republican?
    I hope what you are saying is not true because I’d lose all the respect for Dr. Egnor I have left….

    “Virtually all of the gun violence in America is committed by Democrats in municipalities governed by Democrats. The gun violence in Republican suburbs is near zero. Nearly all of our gun violence is in cities, and nearly all (if not all) of the violence-prone cities in our country are deep blue–Democrat.”
    — Michael Egnor, egnorance.blogspot.com.au, 2015

    That is a really disgusting quote. Belongs in guano. Plus, it’s easy to see how stupid the guy is.

  28. walto: “Virtually all of the gun violence in America is committed by Democrats in municipalities governed by Democrats. The gun violence in Republican suburbs is near zero. Nearly all of our gun violence is in cities, and nearly all (if not all) of the violence-prone cities in our country are deep blue–Democrat.”
    — Michael Egnor, egnorance.blogspot.com.au, 2015

    That is a really disgusting quote. Belongs in guano. Plus, it’s easy to see how stupid the guy is.

    From the same thread:
    “Most gun murderers are Democrat, without question, because that demographic–inner city minority males–is wholly Democrat.”

    It takes a special kind of stupid to make claims like that.

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