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Finally, even a moderately good human being, given the power to do so, would eliminate those evils.Why, then, do such undesirable states of affairs exist, if there is a being who is very powerful, very knowledgeable, and very good?
Thus if, contrary to (7), God exists, it follows from (1) that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect.
This, together with (2), (3), and (4) then entails that God has the power to eliminate all evil, that God knows when evil exists, and that God has the desire to eliminate all evil.
The term “God” is used with a wide variety of different meanings. On the one hand, there are metaphysical interpretations of the term: God is a prime mover, or a first cause, or a necessary being that has its necessity of itself, or the ground of being, or a being whose essence is identical with its existence.
Or God is not one being among other beings—even a supremely great being—but, instead, being itself.
Or God is an ultimate reality to which no concepts truly apply.
On the other hand, there are interpretations that connect the term “God” in a clear and relatively straightforward way with religious attitudes, such as those of worship, and with very important human desires, such as the desires that good will triumph, that justice be done, and that the world not be one where death marks the end of the individual’s existence.
But when that is the case, it would seem that God thereby ceases to be a being who is either an appropriate object of religious attitudes, or a ground for believing that fundamental human hopes are not in vain.
The argument from evil focuses upon the fact that the world appears to contain states of affairs that are bad, or undesirable, or that should have been prevented by any being that could have done so, and it asks how the existence of such states of affairs is to be squared with the existence of God.
The fifth section then focuses upon attempted total refutations, while the sixth is concerned with defenses, and the seventh with some traditional theodicies.
The possibility of more modest variants on defenses and theodicies, based on the idea of global properties, is then considered in section eight.