David Griffin's Critique of John Hick's Viewpoint regarding Evil Problem

The problem of evil is a rational problem for theism. The root of this problem is to ask why the omnipotent and absolute benevolent God creates evil or does not prevent its genesis. John Hick explains and justifies evil by proposing the theory of Soul-Making. He argues that the omnipotent and absolute benevolent God can create a world in which there is no evil and has complete control over its creatures, especially human beings, but in this case, the world will become a stagnant place, and its inhabitants will be caught up in the indolence and comforting of the body, which will be incompatible with God's purposes. He also agrees with Iranaeus in his theory that human beings are created imperfect and evolve in the long process of creation, which is accompanied by pain and affliction. John Hick uses both types of moral and natural evil to explain his theory. In the field of moral evils, he emphasizes the authority and freedom of man, which have been granted to him by God. Because in his view, a world in which free beings can freely choose goods and through which the growth of moral and spiritual virtues can be achieved is better than a world in which the non-committed sin (moral evil) is more valuable than freedom. Of Course, Hick believes that man has an epistemological distance from God that man must be able to attain religious growth in situations where he has relative independence from God. Hick believes that God's reason for prescribing natural evils is that their fulfillment is necessary and that they exalt  human soul and acquire his moral acts in such a way that man obtains virtues such as compassion, empathy, devotion, and so on by experiencing evils. He also appeals to the afterlife and compensation in the other world to justify some evils that have no benefit for human beings in this world. David Griffin, a philosopher of religion, considers Hick's view as inconsistent and indefensible and notes some fundamental critiques about his theory. Griffin believes that the situation in the world, which includes many horrible evils, is incompatible with the belief in Hick's omnipotent God because God must exercise his power to prevent the evils by seeing them. Such evils not only do not exalt the human soul but also cause despair and mental defect in humans. He believes that there is no correlation between the acquisition of values and virtues with real freedom in Hick theory. Because God can create human beings in such a way that they always do good deeds freely or instill in them the idea that they are free, while only God is aware of their lack of freedom. Griffin sees Hick's view in justifying evil as a kind of promoting immortality because his concern is to create virtues in exchanges for enduring evils. He believes that Hick's view requires the denial of the genuine evil, which is contrary to the conventional understanding and common sense of the man. Finally, according to Griffin, Hick's belief in the resurrection is incompatible with justifying the unjustified evils, because the God of Hick has an epistemological distance from man, for whom the existence of God does not seem obvious for believing.

Article Type:
Research/Original Article
Comparative Theology, Volume:11 Issue: 23, 2020
47 - 59
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