Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able ? Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing ? Then he is malevolent.

Is he both willing and able ? Then whence cometh evil ?

Is he neither able nor willing ? Then why call him God ?


Any thoughts ?

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futilethewinds, I have not met you yet. Hello! Thanks for your comment on Epicurus. 

This is for Joan and Sentient Biped: 

You both are awesome, strong, and noble. You have my deepest respect. I wish you both long life.

Anthony, you are too kind.  And I'm glad you are here.  You add a great deal to the conversation, thank you.

Thank you Anthony. You and the members of Atheist Nexus provide many opportunities to think as life presents its challenges.I am glad you join us. 

Yes Joan. Dicky Dawkins is spot on. he must have read it too, unlike many die hard theists who haven't even read their own bibles. Though I'll stick to Malevolent, Narcissistic Megalomaniac, which covers it pretty well and reduces the likelihood of RSI.

Sorry, I need a definition, please. 


Repetitive strain injuries

Relative Strength Index

Research Science Institute 

Review of Scientific Instruments

Railway Supply Institute

Restaurant Services, Inc.

RSI Bank

Residential Services Inc.

LOL Joan, Railway Supply Institute of the wrist of course!

I don't understand why having God be able and not willing makes him malevolent.  


"I don't understand why having God be able and not willing makes him malevolent."

Would you care to elaborate ?

If I am able to rescue a drowning child and am not willing, I reveal a character trait. 

If I am not able and willing, I reveal a different character trait. 

If I am able and willing or 

If I am not able and not willing,

each one of these characteristics reveals our character. 

Add to that able and willing and ready.

Epicurus' Riddle touches closely on the issue of free will versus determinism, a controversy that has riveted Christian thinkers since Augustine. There's been a wide range of answers to the dilemma, but the one that I find most impressive was cooked up, IIRC, by Aquinas. He argued that God was omnipotent with respect to the underlying principles by which the universe progresses, but not with respect to the actual events themselves. In other words, God said "Let there be physics!" and then stepped back and let the clock run by itself. In effect, he established the rules of the game but allows the players to decide their moves within his rules. 

In a sense, God is then omnipotent in the same way that an absolute dictator is omnipotent. The dictator doesn't move the bodies of his subjects like puppets; instead, he lays down the laws that control their behavior. Violation of the laws is punished, but his subjects are still free to make their own choices.

It's an interesting philosophical notion with broad ramifications.




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