Why Worry About the Problem of Evil?

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At the opening of a lecture, one of my college professors once asked the class, “Are you saving for retirement?” Without missing a beat, he then replied to himself, “You should be.”  

I am not going to tell you about retirement or entertain ideas about how a college student might possibly be saving for it, but as Christians we should all ask each other, “Are you concerned about the problem of evil?” I hope after reading this post that you would answer with me, “You should be.”

You may want to stop reading this and go ask a high school student or a colleague a few of these questions: 

“What are humans made for?”

“Why is there so much evil in the world?” 

“How can a good God allow evil to exist?”

“Is evil necessary?”

“How did evil originate?”

Maybe now that you realize its implications, you are more concerned with the problem of evil. If you or your students are seeking a more complete response to these questions, then our new ClassicalU course is for you. 

The difficult problem of evil leads many people to become atheists. As presented in this course, atheists do have some evidence in support of the problem of evil. This presents a unique opportunity for Christians to listen and understand their point of view and the struggle with the problem of evil.

In sixteen lectures and a question-and-answer session, Dr. David Schenk will train you to give a logical, philosophical response to the problem of evil. He presents William Rowe’s argument for the problem of evil as an argument against the existence of God. Then, using the work of several other philosophers, he begins to address Rowe’s propositions and conclusions.  Using metaphors to offer explanations of these complex ideas, Dr. Schenk addresses the advantages and shortcomings of each arguments.  

Theodicy is a branch of theology that addresses the problem of evil and suffering. Throughout this course, Dr. Schenk draws upon a number of theodicies, providing reasons why God permits evil and suffering. Included among these is Richard Swinburne’s virtue theodicy, asserting that God intends the virtues for humankind. Swinburne insists that we “are cast into a world where adversity is already stitched in to develop virtue.”

At the heart of these lectures is the question of how an angel can become a devil. To answer this question, Dr. Schenk builds upon the arguments of thinkers from late antiquity, such as Augustine and Anselm. In doing so, he offers a satisfying response to the problem of evil.  Dr. Schenk conjectures, near the end of the course, that justice, autonomy, and beauty are all compelling impulses that could cause an angel to fall.  

To supplement the course, Dr. Schenk also offers some book recommendations to enhance your knowledge of this thorny topic.

I encourage you to watch these course previews for free here: 

What is the Problem of Evil? 

Why Worry about the Problem of Evil? 

If you like what you see, subscribe to ClassicalU to enjoy the rest of the course!

Note: Guest bloggers share their own thoughts as classical educators and learners and do not represent ClassicalU.com or Classical Academic Press. If you are interested in writing guest blog content, please contact us with your name, connection to classical education, and ideas for a blog post.

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