B.C. Johnson’s writing style is anonymous and describes the downfalls of an all-good God with imagery depicting innocent deaths—namely, the suffering and death of small children. This argumentative approach questioning the goodness of God isn’t new; as a matter of fact, it goes by its more commonly known name “the Problem of Evil,” which just so happens to be part of Johnson’s essay title.
The problem of evil is the challenge to the belief that God is both all-powerful and all-good in light of the suffering and death that exists in the world. Johnson’s specific argument against the all-goodness of God is that, if God were truly good, he would not allow innocent children to suffer and die. This argument is based on what Johnson sees as the intuitive belief that a good being would not allow such things to happen if they could be prevented.
Johnson begins by discussing how the traditional concept of God has been understood by most people throughout history. He notes that, for centuries, it was generally believed that God was “an infinite being who created and controls everything that exists,” including human beings. This belief led to the conclusion that God is all-powerful and all-knowing.
Johnson then argues that, if this traditional concept of God is true, then it must also be the case that God is all-good. He points out that, if God is all-powerful and all-knowing, then he must be aware of the suffering and death of innocent children. Furthermore, if he is all-good, then he would not allow such things to happen if he could prevent them.
However, Johnson goes on to argue that the suffering and death of innocent children cannot be prevented by an all-powerful and all-knowing God. He points out that many innocent children have died throughout history, despite the fact that God would have been able to prevent their deaths if he had wanted to. Johnson concludes that, since the suffering and death of innocent children cannot be prevented by an all-powerful and all-knowing God, it must be the case that either (1) God is not all-powerful, or (2) God is not all-good.
Johnson’s argument against the all-goodness of God is based on his belief that a good being would not allow innocent children to suffer and die. This argument has been challenged by many philosophers, who have pointed out that there are other possible explanations for the suffering and death of innocent children. For example, it could be the case that God allows such things to happen because he has a good reason for doing so.
Alternatively, it could be the case that God is not all-powerful, and he simply cannot prevent the suffering and death of innocent children. In response to these challenges, Johnson argues that, even if there are other possible explanations for the suffering and death of innocent children, the fact remains that a good being would not allow such things to happen if he could prevent them. Therefore, Johnson concludes that the only reasonable conclusion is that either (1) God is not all-powerful, or (2) God is not all-good.
B.C. Johnson is taking this opportunity to speak out in favor of atheism, or the belief that there is no God. His reasoning for this rests on the assertion that if an omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient being did exist, then it would be impossible to reconcile their existence with the evil present in our world.
Johnson’s first argument is that there is an inconsistency in the attributes of God. If God is all-powerful, then He should be able to stop evil. If He is all-knowing, then He should know how to stop evil. But if He is all-good, then He would want to stop evil. Therefore, it is impossible for all three attributes to be consistent with each other. Johnson’s second argument is that the problem of evil cannot be solved by appealing to free will. Even if we have free will, that does not explain why God would allow so much pain and suffering in the world.
Johnson’s third argument is that theodicy (the attempt to justify the ways of God to humans) is an inherently flawed enterprise. Theodicy presupposes that we can know what is good and what is evil, but Johnson argues that this is not possible. We cannot know what is good or evil unless we have a standard by which to judge it, but if there is a God, then He is the only one who knows what is good and evil. Therefore, theodicy fails because it is based on a false assumption.
Johnson’s fourth and final argument is that the existence of evil disproves the existence of God. If there were a God, then He would want to eliminate evil. But since evil exists, it must be the case that either God does not exist, or He is not all-powerful, or He is not all-good. Johnson concludes that the only reasonable conclusion is that there is no God.
Johnson’s arguments against the existence of an all-good God are based on philosophical reasoning and do not appeal to empirical evidence. However, his arguments are significant because they address a key problem in theism: the problem of evil.
The problem of evil is the problem of how to reconcile the existence of an all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good God with the existence of evil in the world. Johnson’s arguments show that it is impossible to believe in such a God, and therefore atheism is the only rational position.
Johnson’s three criticisms of “Argument from Evil” follow the same thought process: he sets up an example where God had both the ability to save a suffering baby from a house fire, but failed to do so (omnipotence). By not saving the baby, goodness was upheld by God (omnibenevolence).
Johnson does not deny the coherence of an all-good, all-powerful God, but claims that such a being is logically impossible. B.C. Johnson’s three arguments against the existence of an all-good God are as follows:
1) The Argument from Evil: If an all-good God exists, then evil should not exist. But evil does exist, therefore an all-good God cannot exist.
2) The Argument from Free Will: If an all-good God exists, then he must have given us free will. But if we have free will, then we are responsible for our own evil deeds. Therefore, an all-good God cannot exist.
3) The Argument from Divine Hiddenness: If an all-good God exists, then he would want to be known by us. But many people do not believe in God, therefore an all-good God cannot exist.
Johnson’s first argument, the Argument from Evil, is based on the premise that if God is all-powerful and all-knowing, then He must be able to prevent evil. But since evil exists, it must be that either God is not all-powerful or He is not all-knowing. Therefore, an all-good God cannot exist.