(a) NATURAL EVIL – This type of evil, which Hicks calls “non-moral,” is used to refer to things like “suffering or pain, both physical and mental.” (106) In other words, those things which are unpleasant to experience without necessarily being willfully caused.
(d) PERSON or HUMAN – The idea of a person in Hicks is tied to the ability to be “responsible for one’s own decisions,” which he says causes one to be “a finite center of freedom.” (106) A working definition in the context of the essay might perhaps be that a person or human is a being created by Judeo-Christian God and given the ability to exercise the power of free will. He also makes the point that this means persons are not necessarily good due to these “moral freedoms,” and that this is why “persons” are the only ones “capable of entering into a personal relationship with their Creator by a free and uncompelled response to his love.” (108)
(e) FREE WILL – Free Will in Hicks means a will that decides things in a way that cannot be analyzed on a strictly causal level. Hicks gives the example of a patient who has received hypnosis therapy, and that “his volitions of actually been predetermined by another will … in relation to whom the patient is not a free agent.” (107) This, he says, is not truly free will. Therefore, true free will, even if given by God, must not contain any pre-conditions like a mind “infallibly guaranteed always to act rightly.” (107)
The argument put forward for this is that non-moral or natural evil acts as a sort of character-building process which helps people to become successful (Christian) people and enables them to truly ascend to a higher plane of spirituality. Because Christianity has “never supposed Gods purpose in the creation of the world was to construct a paradise,” the fact that natural evil exists does not contradict the idea of a benevolent, omnipotent deity. (109) Hicks paraphrases Irenaeus, who believed that although Man was made in the image of God, the suffering and hardships of the world were a necessary evil to help turn man into the “finite likeness of God, which is revealed in Christ.” (109) In other words, it is only through suffering that Man can become ...
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