“…However consistent the world may be…with the idea of such a [powerful, wise, and benevolent] Deity, it can never afford us an inference concerning his existence” (760).These are the words of David Hume in reference to the problem of evil.This paper will discuss Hume’s stance on the non-existence of God based on the existence of evil.I will also look at the how theists respond to the problem of evil by raising the issue of human freewill.Finally, I will evaluate the freewill defense by establishing the persuasiveness of this argument.
Hume believes that the existence of evil is powerful evidence against the existence of God.The evidence lies in the position that God is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnibenevolent (all-good).Hume believes that evil could not exist in the presence of a perfect being possessing these qualities.If God were omnipotent, then He would be able to rid the world of the evil.If God were omniscient, then He would know how to get rid of the evil.If God were omnibenevolent, then He would want to get rid of the evil.Because it is obvious that evil exists in the world, Hume believes this is strong evidence that an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good being does not exist.
One way that many theists respond to the problem of evil is to invoke human freewill. This defense says that God is not responsible for the evil in the world because humans are equipped with the ability to make their own choices.Unlike animals or robots, humans are aware of their existence and thinking.Human freewill gives humans the freedom to form and assess options.Therefore, the evil exists, not because of what God could or could not do, but because humans make their own decisions to do evil.God is capable of controlling everything, but he allows human freewill.
I would agree that the freewill defense is a persuasive response to the problem of evil.Of course, th…