Inconsistent Triad

The problem of evil is often given in the form of an inconsistent triad. For example, J. L. Mackie gave the following three propositions:

God is omnipotent
God is omnibenevolent
Evil exists

Mackie argued that these propositions were inconsistent, and thus, that at least one of these propositions must be false. Either:

1. God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent, and evil does not exist.
2. God is omnipotent, but not omnibenevolent; thus, evil exists by God’s will.
3. God is omnibenevolent, but not omnipotent; thus, evil exists, but it is not within God’s power to stop it (at least not instantaneously).

Now number one doesn’t seem to be a very good option. Evil or suffering is something that everyone can get on board with accepting as true.

Number two and number three must be held to be false by serious theists.

Therefore, the theist will conclude that all three are false.

All the theist needs to do is say:

A. God is omnipotent meaning he can do only things that are logically possible.

-If one thinks God can do logically impossible things, then the logical problem of evil vanishes since the whole problem is predicated on the idea that there is a logical absurdity or contradiction with God and evil both existing.

B. God is omnibenevolent, which means he will eliminate evil, unless he has a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil.

-If it’s even logically possible that God has a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil, then there is no problem with asserting that God and evil exists.


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