TFBW's Forum

infinitesimal evil
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Author:  anon again [ Fri Aug 31, 2007 5:15 pm ]
Post subject:  infinitesimal evil

Thanks for viewtopic.php?t=83.

Infinitesimal is an interesting concept.

A perfectly holy god cannot tolerate evil, some say. Could such a god tolerate an infinitesimal evil?

I ask because there's a sticking point around calling god good, if there is no evil. And if there is evil, does it exist somehow apart from god and detract from his omniscience. If he permits evil to exist, can that be considered perfectly holy?

But, perhaps, if he let's an infinitesimal amount of evil exist, it could be enuf to call him good in comparison to it, but small enuf to not actually exist. Perhaps, then, evil exists somehow on the boundary of existence and non-existence.

"Infinitesimal" seems to capture that concept.

(my son is funny, he likes to say when doing inequalities that the answer is x<=1.9bar instead of x<2)

Author:  TFBW [ Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:13 am ]
Post subject: 

First up, I'm not sure there's a valid mathematical way to measure evil, let alone apply a specialised mathematical concept like "infinitesimal". Still, you may have something of a point: if God is both infinite and perfectly good, and the amount of evil in the universe is finite, then the portion of all existence which can be described as evil is literally infinitesimal.

Whether that observation is significant in any way is a different question.

The stricter question is whether any non-zero quantity of evil is tolerable for a good God. I think it is, but only conditionally. I think it must be possible to compensate for evil. Evil must not only be temporary, but undoable. If the effects of evil can be undone in the same way that a debt can be paid off, then the presence of evil is not a catastrophic problem in and of itself: it merely creates an obligation for a good God to deal with the problem sooner or later.

Author:  anon [ Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:03 pm ]
Post subject: 

This could be a point that denies the existence of god then?
If God's goodness is infinity, then how come there's evil?

That becomes tricky when one comes to think about the concept of evil, and god itself. And not just mathematics. Because, if a sum is almost 0, it still means that is something in the end. Or maybe not like you're saying right?

God, in the christian concept (lets use this as a basis since is the most known), is sometimes a vengefull God, that doesn't allow evil to exist, and punishes the evil-doer. And sometimes is a inert God, that allows evil to exist, kinda like saying, "i love you so much, that i let you choose between evil and good, and leave you unpunished."

And the concept of evil varies too, not only from religion to religion, but from people to people, and that becomes intricate with the concept of right and wrong.

So the answer to if that serves to prove God's existence or not, depends on the personal beliefs of each people:

If you believe in "free will" (that god lets you do anything and doesn't influence your life in any way whatsoever) then this point is useless since God can't really do anything, until you die of course (judgment). Meaning, you can't use this as a proof, our counter-proof.

And if you believe in the "providence" (that God interferes in your life, punishing or rewarding you based on how good or bad you are) then, this means that god, (not even "God" anymore) doesn't exists.

Of course, my concepts of "free will" and "providence", are there just to name this diferent beliefs, and i don't know if they are the same that the bible and diferent churchs use.

Author:  TFBW [ Thu Oct 11, 2007 3:17 pm ]
Post subject: 

The problem of evil (as a problem for those who believe in a good and powerful God) is as old as the hills, of course. I'm not quite sure I understand your take on it here, though. I suppose the key to establishing it as a problem is to show that the existence of evil necessarily excludes the possibility of such a God, on the grounds that such a God would necessarily not allow it to exist, or some such. I'm not sure how your models of "free will" and "providence" work towards this goal.

Author:  Guest [ Sat Oct 20, 2007 3:36 am ]
Post subject: 

yeah, i just thought about it myself, and it has nothing to do with infinitesimal evil.

is just the paradox between the authoritative and punishing god and the god that lets you do what you want, until you die of course.
its still about good and evil, but not mathematics.

Author:  Guest [ Sat Oct 20, 2007 5:51 am ]
Post subject: 

yes yes yes, god coexists with evilness because his goodness has no affect on us whatsoever.
i mean, that is the point that i tried to say, i remember now.
this is the free will, is like god loves us so much that he is willing to let us do anything that we want, including "evil stuff".

i hope im not sounding like a religious freak here, but this is what i heard being said by religious people that i've been discussing with. so they have this "comeback" everytime that someone try to use this "infinite goodness" thinggy. or other points, but all around the influence of god on our daily lives.

Author:  Guest [ Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: infinitesimal evil

Good and evil are not on opposite ends of the same spectrum. Just as cold is nothing more than the lack of heat and darkness is nothing more than the absence of light. Evil is not substantive in and of itself. It is only the observed contrast in the absence of good...a vacuum of sorts.

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