Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 August 2009
Perhaps it is worth saying at the outset that I do not attach very much importance to arguments from evil. At best, arguments from evil create problems for the hypothesis that there is a perfect being, that is, a being that is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good. It is a controversial question whether all orthodoxly conceived monotheistic gods have these properties; at the very least, there is clearly a case to be made for the contention that the monotheistic gods that are described in the scriptures of the major monotheistic religions fall far short of perfect goodness. But, in any case, I think that there are no supernatural beings of any kind; and, moreover, I do not think that I need to have special reasons for supposing that there is no omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good supernatural being; my reasons for supposing that there are no supernatural beings are, in themselves, good reasons for supposing that there is no omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good supernatural being.
Despite the fact that I have no personal investment in the success of arguments from evil – at least insofar as we are interested solely in the conclusion of those arguments, that is, in the claim that there is no omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being – I do think that it ought to be possible to make a pretty strong case for the claim that no arguments of this kind are successful.