Good, God, Evil – Against a conception of the privation theory of evil.

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[1/28, 19:18] Shalom Dickson: đź“ś
The following is a repost of the exposition, Good, God, Evil.
Author: Shalom Dickson.
Contributor: Mary Bassey (@cerebralistic).
Featured comment by: Timilehin Shodiya.

[1/28, 19:18] Shalom Dickson: Problem: How can a good God create (a world with) evil? Other variants say, “allow” or “permit” evil; different levels of responsibility. // Challenging ideas (ones that make this inexcusable): the omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence of God.
A certain proposition: Evil results from the absence of God/good (i.e., the privation theory of evil). // Assumptions (justifiers): All that is good is God’s. & Evil is merely the absence of good.
We’ll evaluate the limitations of this position.

[1/28, 19:18] Shalom Dickson: Worthiness consideration:
a. To the ‘absence of good’ theory—a philosophical construction—and to the subject of good&evil in general, we can productively employ chiefly logical analyses.
b. It is possible to agree on meaningful conclusions on this matter without confronting much about the specifics of God.
c. Subject has elements comprehensible to ‘everyone’.
// Ergo, this is not a waste of time.

[1/28, 19:18] Shalom Dickson: The Fallacy: The privation theory is due to a fault in reasoning. This error, a fairly common ontological misplacement, lies at the root of many other epistemic complications. It is this generalism that we must first address.
Absence vs Negation: For certain dimensions, these two are often conflated. Consider that Musa has 5 cars. Suppose he gifts all. Imagine we could capture his status, after gifting, with an actual physical object. Call it a noncar; unable to do anything a car can. The sole function of noncars, no matter how many, is to signify that a car is not present…

[1/28, 19:19] Shalom Dickson: Now, what might be an uncar? This is the accurate negative of a car. It does the opposite of whatever a car does. How can Musa own an uncar? He must not just give away all his cars, but he must owe at least one car. If Shehu owns 5 uncars, then he has just enough to neutralize Musa’s initial status.
The problem arises when we mistake noncars for uncars. For instance, when we say Amina is “without a car,” do we mean she has an uncar or a noncar? In English, it could be made to mean either. We’ll see a bit more about this in general, and how it applies to the problem of good, God, and evil.

[1/28, 19:19] Shalom Dickson: As we proceed to general abstractions, may we introduce a convention. Let an uncar be a rac, and a universal negative thing – a gniht. Not all things have known gnihts, but to the extent that a thing functions, a gniht is a logical necessity.
Physical things with opposing properties are more intuitively categorized, if encountered. Absract properties applied to physical things are more readily computed, mastering the rules (e.g., arithmetic). But abstract properties on absract objects pose a threat to common intuition. Now, we are ripe to ask. Is evil really the absence of good?

[1/28, 19:20] Shalom Dickson: Test: We have emphasized that the opposite of a quality must negate it and its absence must merely indicate the lack of it, without introducing any new functions. Thus, evil is evidently the opposite of good, and cannot be arrived at by simply taking away goodness.
To the extent that good exists as a distinct quality, evil must. Hence, if something is responsible for good, evil must be assigned an agent, as well. Good and evil are moral orientations attributed to acts. A world without good would be one with no moral flavor, NOT evil. // The objectivity of this attribution is out-of-scope.

[1/28, 19:20] Shalom Dickson: Trial: Cold vs Heat. This analogy compares good and evil to heat and cold, respectively. The claim is that cold is not an inherent property but is merely something present when there is no heat.
At the surface, this makes sense. But we must consider how both heat and cold are felt: The body selects a ‘normal’ temperature and environments at a higher temperature are hot, and those below are cold. Here again, the true absence of heat is “normal temperature”. We must move in the opposite direction to feel cold. So, cold, although subjective, is just as real as heat. They are opposites.

[1/28, 19:20] Shalom Dickson: Beyond Classifications: Now, say we want to insist that evil only exists when God is absent, it is obvious how weighty such a claim would be. Meanwhile, the privation theory does not make it clear how the absence of God plays out. In terms of the challenging attributes, we may find some implications.
The possibility of the absence of God is a direct threat to omnipresence. Along with this, moreover, omniscience is questioned; for how can one know a thing of which one is not aware? Yet again, omnipotence is consequently defeated. We must, thus, find an alternative path for privation theorists.

[1/28, 19:20] Shalom Dickson: Let’s try again. While still tricky, we can allow for an ‘omniscient omnipresence’ with restrictions in will (even if not might). The absence of God would, then, be the withdrawal of Its will. However, for this, we must forfeit omnipotence if this God is not malicious.
But greater troubles lie ahead. We still have to answer the classic question: whence cometh evil? And now, knowing it cannot self-generate as good vanishes, we must decide why evil can emanate from existing objects; for if good is a force, evil must be one. It must be an intentional introduction of some powerful entity.

[1/28, 19:21] Shalom Dickson: Godlessness: It is readily concluded that mankind’s freewill corresponds to God’s self-suspension of Its will. But there are more problematic autonomies to equally admit. The ‘universe’ is an intact system, and we cannot selectively attribute causes to choice deities per convenience.
A programmer may not be held responsible for all bugs in the software. But a God must be. Arbitrary properties do not come into existence by illegitimate means. Nothing can occur in a universe without the preexistence of the provision for its occurrence. How can planned things cooperate with accidental things?

[1/28, 19:21] Shalom Dickson: Whose World?: As we see, there are no orphan entities, be it matter or concepts. And since evil is a distinct property, it—and a world with it—are legal features, not mere side effects. Thus, one who insists that The World of Evil is not the product of the Good God unwittingly fabricates a new God¹; the God¹ of Evil™. Congratulations!
Those who—with broken spirits—must attribute all, however unpleasant, to One God, perhaps may find solace in Leibniz’ resolve: This world, is full of necessary evils. Yet, he suggests, it is the best possible world. Because that is what a Good God would choose.