Plato on God and the Problem of Evil: Is God the Author of Evil?

From The Republic

And no good thing is hurtful?
No, indeed.
And that which is not hurtful hurts not?
Certainly not.
And that which hurts not does no evil?
And can that which does no evil be a cause of evil?
And the good is advantageous?
And therefore the cause of well-being?
It follows therefore that the good is not the cause of all things, but of the good only?
Then God, if he be good, is not the author of all things, as the many assert, but he is the cause of a few things only, and not of most things that occur to men.  For few are the goods of human life, and many are the evils, and the good is to be attributed to God alone; of the evils the causes are to be sought elsewhere, and not in him.
That appears to me to be most true, he said.



  1. [...] Plato on God and the Problem of Evil: Is God the Author of Evil? ( [...]

  2. I believe that God is the author of all things yet that in order for there to exist such a thing as free will, the possibility of evil is a consequence. Would it not be an even greater evil if God removed from all people the capacity to freely choose? What is the value of a good act if one is forced to do it?
    There may be some amount of good done even if that good is forced and not freely chosen but unless one freely chooses to act in a good way, there is no possibilty of love - and love is the highest good. If we force others to love us, can that really be called love? Hence, in order to preserve the highest good, namely, freely chosen love, free will must be there. And free will comes with the possibilty of evil choices.

    But then, if there is anything like justice in the universe, then evil would not really exist. If someone is punished according to the degree of their crime, that punishment cannot be called evil. If we find people suffereing in this world in various ways we should consider the possibility that this suffering may be a fit punishment for past misdeeds. A cosmic law of justice or karma or, as Sir Isaac Newton said, "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." This 'equal and opposite reaction' applies not merely to the physical quality of our actions . . . but also the moral quality. The universe responds to the moral quality of our deeds, both the good and the bad.

    God bless!

  3. Very good comments, brother! Freewill and freedom to choose go together. In the resurrection we'll experience the state of actualized good; so, then, we will always freely only choose the good. There will no longer be sin. It seems that the angels too had a probationary period of choice, and when the devil sinned evil was actualized in him and all fallen angels. The rest who stood faithful are now known as the holy or elect angels.
    With regard to the moral law, justice, punishment and rewards, we know that the moral law, has a little higher status than the physical law of nature. The moral law involves intelligent, volitional action by persons; justice, therefore, is not mechanical, though consequences naturally follow actions; justice is rendered by the personal, intelligent, volitional God.


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