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TFBW's Forum • View topic - infinitesimal evil

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 Post subject: infinitesimal evil
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 5:15 pm 
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)


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:13 am 
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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.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 3:17 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: infinitesimal evil
PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:46 am 
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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