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The Intellectual Problem of Evil Syllogism

Discussion in 'Fundamental Baptist Forum' started by Brian_K, May 7, 2019.

  1. Brian_K

    Brian_K New Member

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    During a bible study a few days back, I asked my pastor what the hardest objection was to those he was witnessing to; his reply, "the problem of evil." A long story short, my study on the subject of the problem of evil and theodicy has revealed so many wonderful truths about the sovereignty of God and the subject of free-will; both of which must have a solid foundation for an answer (even if the incorrect answer) to the problem of evil.

    Now, here's where I'm a bit stuck. Can a Calvinist answer the following (classical and loosely constructed) syllogism without appealing to mystery?

    Premise 1 - God is omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient

    Premise 2 - Evil exists

    Conclusion - God does not exist

    I can, from an Arminian perspective (think Plantinga, Lane Craig, Lennox, etc.), explain this quite easily, although my theology would be incorrect. I cannot, however, explain it from the scriptural perspective (Calvinist perspective).

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. loDebar

    loDebar Well-Known Member

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    We are the bad guys in the narrative, a story of redemption of sinners

    We have to be able to make bad choices in order to freely make good choices

    We often make bad choices, Thus evil exists through God's permissive will.
     
  3. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    The Mystery of Iniquity

    IMO is not yet fully revealed but will so be when Satan incarnates himself as the antichrist,
    the man of sin.

    2 Thessalonians 2
    5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
    6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
    7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
    8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
    9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
    10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
    11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
    12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

    Proverbs 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
     
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  4. Brian_K

    Brian_K New Member

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    Thus far, I've found this to be the consensus among the early church fathers, up to today's leading commentators on the subject. It looks like my study must continue. Thank you for the feedback.
     
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  5. RighteousnessTemperance&

    RighteousnessTemperance& Well-Known Member

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    A few questions: Who said Calvinists subscribe to omnibenevolence? Also, how does one define evil without an ultimate standard, aka God? And how does one know evil exists without an ultimate standard, aka God?
     
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  6. Brian_K

    Brian_K New Member

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    I have yet to meet anyone on the Calvinist - Arminian spectrum that denies the omnibenevolence of God. If you have, or, if you believe God is not all-loving (all good), can you please explain?

    A great question for the unbeliever, but not relevant specific to the syllogism I put forth. The onus is on us to attempt to answer this challenge first before asking such questions to the unbeliever, if one expects to have a dialogue.
     
  7. Ziggy

    Ziggy Active Member
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    The initial Premise 1 is invalid on the basis of John 3:36 as well as other passages that speak of the wrath of God in opposition to any all-encompassing view of omnibenevolence.

    I also know of no Calvinists who claim a universal omnibenevolence, but only an everlasting love for his chosen/elect people.
     
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  8. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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  9. Brian_K

    Brian_K New Member

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  10. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    First, God is infinite good. Secondly, evil is not possible without finite good.

    The knowledge of good and evil was first and formost God's knowledge (Genesis 3:22).

    God made man a finite good being (Genesis 1:31; Genesis 2:7).
     
  11. Brian_K

    Brian_K New Member

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    I don't think I've heard the term "universal omnibenevolence" used before. Of course this couldn't be correct for the Arminian or Calvinist since this would contradict (God cannot be both evil and good; He hates evil and must destroy it eventually according to His nature) what it means to be omnibenevolent based on what's been revealed about God through scripture.

    Forgive me for the short explanation, I have very limited time at the moment so this will have to suffice until later. I'm looking forward to your reply.
     
  12. RighteousnessTemperance&

    RighteousnessTemperance& Well-Known Member

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    Well, I suppose I happen to be one of those evidently rare Christians who see no real problem with the two premises, but who cannot for the life of them fathom how the false conclusion follows.:Wink At the very least, you seem to have left out a couple of steps. But did you already forget the context of the OP? Or are you focused on witnessing to believers? Confused
     
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