Lactantius attributes this trilemma to Epicurus in De Ira Dei: “God,” he says, “either wishes to take away evils, and is unable; or He is able, and is unwilling; or He is neither willing nor able, or He is both willing and able.”. If he killed the first rebels, other intelligent beings–angels per Job 38:4,7–would have thought that the issue raised by Satan, and his human cohorts was true. , Epicurus's teachings were heavily influenced by those of earlier philosophers, particularly Democritus. He claimed that if God cannot stop evil then he is not all-powerful (omnipotent). ", Epicurus distinguishes between three types of desires: natural and necessary, natural but unnecessary, and vain and empty. It almost leaves me to wonder, why bother believing things to stay stable, when it only take a whiff of wind to topple our “peace”. His name is JEHOVAH or YAHWEH. His influence grew considerably during and after the Enlightenment, profoundly impacting the ideas of major thinkers, including John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, Jeremy Bentham, and Karl Marx. Choices have consequences, as most of us know from life experiences. Epicureanism - Epicureanism - Criticism and evaluation: In the first half of the 17th century, at a time when Gassendi was reviving atomistic Epicureanism, René Descartes, often called the founder of modern philosophy, offered arguments that tended to undercut atomism. Evil causes harm and suffering. Then he is malevolent. Yes. 18. 190), Tertullian (c. 155–c.  Prominent critics of his philosophy include prominent authors such as the Roman Stoic Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC – AD 65) and the Greek Middle Platonist Plutarch (c. 46 – c. 120), who both derided these stereotypes as immoral and disreputable. Are there any other reason/s why God would allow evil to exist for the time being? But the wise person sees the usefulness of justice, and because of his limited desires, he has no need to engage in the conduct prohibited by the laws in any case. God is Almighty.  Epicurus and his followers appear in Dante Alighieri's Inferno in the Sixth Circle of Hell, where they are imprisoned in flaming coffins for having believed that the soul dies with the body.  Epicureanism rapidly spread beyond the Greek mainland all across the Mediterranean world. Please forgive my typos. Epicurus was an ardent Empiricist; believing that the s… To receive godly comfort/hope one has to (a) study and apply his counsel found in his inspired word, the Bible, and (b) Throw his/her burdens to him by means of prayer. Just a few centuries before the first Palm Sunday, Greek philosopher Epicurus (341-270 B.C.) , Epicurus and his followers had a well-developed epistemology, which developed as a result of their rivalry with other philosophical schools. 12.  By the end of the seventeenth century, Epicurean atomism was widely accepted by members of the English scientific community as the best model for explaining the physical world, but it had been modified so greatly that Epicurus was no longer seen as its original parent. Go to 21. And if God is illogical he cannot be God, by definition. The “Epicurean paradox” is a version of the problem of evil.  These works, together with Charleton's Epicurus's Morals (1658), provided the English public with readily available descriptions of Epicurus's philosophy and assured orthodox Christians that Epicureanism was no threat to their beliefs.  Diogenes Laërtius records that the number of Epicureans throughout the world exceeded the populations of entire cities. Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher born in 341 BC on the island of Samos. Nothing lasts forever. Is he both able and willing? 6.  Lucretius argues that divine creation and providence are illogical, not because the gods do not exist, but rather because these notions are incompatible with the Epicurean principles of the gods' indestructibility and blessedness.  In the Letter to Herodotus and the Letter to Pythocles, Epicurus summarizes his philosophy on nature and, in the Letter to Menoeceus, he summarizes his moral teachings. God became man and lived with him. Your cheerful and positive conclusion, that “evil is eventually defeated, everywhere” is most heartening, but regretfully I do not agree with you. These are difficult to satisfy because no matter how much one gets, one can always want more.  The Christian Church Father Augustine of Hippo (354–430 AD) declared, "its ashes are so cold that not a single spark can be struck from them. Go to 27.  Epicurus never married and had no known children. Do you believe this? Any reader of the NT will find that God intervened in the most effective, dramatic and visible way by sending Jesus to earth. There is the further question of how an interference would negate and subjugate the concept of free will, or in other words …  In his Letter to Menoeceus, however, Epicurus follows Aristotle and clearly identifies three possible causes: "some things happen of necessity, others by chance, others through our own agency." This has led some philosophers to think that, for Epicurus, free will was caused directly by chance. Yes. 14. It was instigated by a rebellious angel, Satan. The recent pandemic called COVID 19 has brought about wide destruction to the society globally.  In 1647, Gassendi published his book De vita et moribus Epicuri (The Life and Morals of Epicurus), a passionate defense of Epicureanism.  He may have had access to the now-lost writings of the historian and ethnographer Megasthenes, who wrote during the reign of Seleucus I Nicator (ruled 305–281 BC).  Nonetheless, anything contrary to a person's experience can be ruled out as false. All occurrences in the natural world are ultimately the result of atoms moving and interacting in empty space. Lactantius attributes this trilemma to Epicurus in De Ira Dei: God, he says, either wishes to take away evils, and is unable; or He is able, and is unwilling; or He is neither willing nor able, or He is both willing and able.  He remained the most simultaneously admired and despised philosopher in the Mediterranean for the next nearly five centuries. , Epicurus promoted an innovative theory of justice as a social contract. then is he malevolent.  One of the most prolific defenders of atomism was the chemist Robert Boyle (1627–1691), who argued for it in publications such as The Origins of Forms and Qualities (1666), Experiments, Notes, etc.  In 1685, Sir William Temple (1628–1699) abandoned a promising career as a diplomat and instead retired to his garden, devoting himself to writing essays on Epicurus's moral teachings.  Nonetheless, "Epicureanism" remained a pejorative, synonymous with extreme egoistic pleasure-seeking, rather than a name of a philosophical school. He openly allowed women to join the school as a matter of policy. Is he able, but not willing? An issue of right to rule (sovereignty) was raised. , During the Middle Ages, Epicurus was remembered by the educated as a philosopher, but he frequently appeared in popular culture as a gatekeeper to the Garden of Delights, the "proprietor of the kitchen, the tavern, and the brothel. Yes. (Genesis 2:16,17). Would it have been better if God killed the first rebels–Satan, Adam & Eve started all over again? But this would mean that he is not the God of the Bible since the God of the Bible does whatever he desires to do ( Eph.  In his De vita beata, Seneca states that the "sect of Epicurus... has a bad reputation, and yet it does not deserve it."  This book, however, has not survived, nor does any other text that fully and clearly explains Epicurean epistemology, leaving only mentions of this epistemology by several authors to reconstruct it. If you're not familiar with it, here's how it goes: Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want … No. And I beg you to take care of the children of Metrodorus, in a manner worthy of the devotion shown by the young man to me, and to philosophy. Like Democritus, Epicurus taught that the universe is infinite and eternal and that all matter is made up of extremely tiny, invisible particles known as atoms. And it often comes down to choices made by man. He advocated humane treatment of mental disorders, had insane persons freed from confinement and treated them with natural therapy, such as diet and massages.  In a rare departure from Democritus's physics, Epicurus posited the idea of atomic "swerve" (παρέγκλισις parénklisis; Latin: clinamen), one of his best-known original ideas. Go to 19 Just the same…. 23. 17.  He further warned that believing that the gods control natural phenomena would only mislead people into believing the superstitious view that the gods punish humans for wrongdoing, which only instills fear and prevents people from attaining ataraxia. No one can refute or deny your thoughts here Peter. Only three letters written by him—the letters to Menoeceus, Pythocles, and Herodotus—and two collections of quotes—the Principal Doctrines and the Vatican Sayings—have survived intact, along with a few fragments of his other writings. If He is willing and is unable, He is feeble, which is not in accordance with the character of God; if He is able and unwilling, He is envious, which is equally at variance with God; if He is neither willing nor able, He is both envious and feeble, and therefore not God; if He is both willing and able, which alone is suitable to God, from what source then are evils? Our growing ability to learn and develop our own existence. This quotation does indeed bring “comfort and joy.”.  Scholars first began attempting to unravel and decipher these scrolls in 1800, but the efforts are painstaking and are still ongoing.. He provides escape so those who truly love him. Hope I find can bring strength and help us to live and believe things to work out, but it could be a mask for our stupidity when the truth is, you can’t fix what is beyond repair.  Epicurus's popular appeal among non-scholars is difficult to gauge, but it seems to be relatively comparable to the appeal of more traditionally popular ancient Greek philosophical subjects such as Stoicism, Aristotle, and Plato. First of all, if God is willing to prevent evil but not able, then it would be true that he is not omnipotent. The Bible based algorithm below solves/disputes the Epicurean Paradox  According to George K. Strodach, Epicurus could have easily dispensed of the gods entirely without greatly altering his materialist worldview, but the gods still play one important function in Epicurus's theology as the paragons of moral virtue to be emulated and admired. Influenced by Democritus, Aristippus, Pyrrho, and possibly the Cynics, he turned against the Platonism of his day and established his own school, known as "the Garden", in Athens. Your definition of evil is question begging. I am courteous and therefore have to take your information as accurate, even if I have never seen such an assertion before. He ordained in his will annual memorial feasts for himself on the same date (10th of Gamelion month). Is he able, but not willing? Epicurus agreed, and said it is to these last things that praise and blame naturally attach. (Matthew 5:45). OP should have specified what sort of God they thought it disproves. God’s name was derived from an ancient Hebrew word that means ‘he causes to become’. If it did come from from Epicurus or another theist, it was likely an argument for God's being removed from human affairs. Most knowledge of his teachings comes from later authors, particularly the biographer Diogenes Laërtius, the Epicurean Roman poet Lucretius and the Epicurean philosopher Philodemus, and with hostile but largely accurate accounts by the Pyrrhonist philosopher Sextus Empiricus, and the Academic Skeptic and statesman Cicero. Again, one might expect evidence of intervention at the present moment, with the planet in peril, with so-called “strong men” taking control over countries throughout the world, with inequality, mass migration, hunger, the breakdown of liberal democracy and the end of American hegemony, which did at least guarantee a measure of order. These desires are inculcated by society and by false beliefs about what we need.  The Romans therefore often stereotyped Epicurus and his followers as weak and effeminate. The source of Gods existence is all around us. For I have been attacked by a painful inability to urinate, and also dysentery, so violent that nothing can be added to the violence of my sufferings. If you don’t recognise this then you Re making the same mistake as many did in the 1930s, to their horrific cost.  For instance, he argued that atoms were not eternal, uncreated, and infinite in number, instead contending that an extremely large but finite number of atoms were created by God at creation.  Despite being in immense pain, Epicurus is said to have remained cheerful and to have continued to teach until the very end.  However, the vast majority of Epicurus's writings have been lost and it is possible that some form of this argument may have been found in his lost treatise On the Gods, which Diogenes Laërtius describes as one of his greatest works.  He left Syntagma philosophicum (Philosophical Compendium), a synthesis of Epicurean doctrines, unfinished at the time of his death in 1655. God destroyed an evil world in the days of Noah. He taught that people should behave ethically not because the gods punish or reward people for their actions, but because amoral behavior will burden them with guilt and prevent them from attaining ataraxia. Actually, Epicurus was a Greek, so he wasn't considering the God of the bible. In the ancient Greek story of the first woman,Pandora, we learn she opens all the plagues of the world, including the unbelieving deceitful hope. Quiet to the Sound of Many Waters, Listen to the Wind.. Rejoice in the Wisdom of Gods presence. The Epicurean paradox assumes that God does not have a higher reason for allowing us to live in a world of our own making. scene i; c. 1607) and "such an epicure was Potiphar—to please his tooth and pamper his flesh with delicacies" from William Whately's Prototypes (1646).  Instead, he presented the treatise as a discussion on the nature of the highest good between an Epicurean, a Stoic, and a Christian.  However, clear evidence of an Epicurean hero cult, as well as the cult itself, seems buried by the weight of posthumous philosophical interpretation. Go to # 6. Plutarch elaborated on this theme in his essay Is the Saying "Live in Obscurity" Right? I can't find references quickly, sorry, I am neither priest nor seminary student. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. It is not after the lesson that enjoyment comes: learning and enjoyment happen at the same time.  His image was worn on finger rings, portraits of him were displayed in living rooms, and wealthy followers venerated likenesses of him in marble sculpture.  Gassendi modified Epicurus's teachings to make them palatable for a Christian audience. That's it. Is he neither able nor willing? The Epicurean paradox or riddle of Epicurus or Epicurus' trilemma is a version of the problem of evil.  As such, according to Norman Wentworth DeWitt, "it is inconceivable that he would have escaped the Platonic training in geometry, dialectic, and rhetoric. , I have written this letter to you on a happy day to me, which is also the last day of my life.  Although later texts, such as the writings of the first-century BC Roman orator Cicero, portray Epicureanism and Stoicism as rivals, this rivalry seems to have only emerged after Epicurus's death. No.  Epicurus shared this view with his contemporary, the comic playwright Menander. He instead advocated not drawing attention to oneself. He then founded a school in Lampsacus before returning to Athens in c. 306 BC, where he remained until his death. ", Epicureanism was a notoriously conservative philosophical school; although Epicurus's later followers did expand on his philosophy, they dogmatically retained what he himself had originally taught without modifying it. For Epicurus, the "swerve" of the atoms simply defeated determinism to leave room for autonomous agency.  Gordon characterizes anti-Epicurean rhetoric as so "heavy-handed" and misrepresentative of Epicurus's actual teachings that they sometimes come across as "comical".  Epicurus agreed with the Cynics' quest for honesty, but rejected their "insolence and vulgarity", instead teaching that honesty must be coupled with courtesy and kindness. What source allows us to learn and grow. 7. Aristotle said some things "depend on us" (eph'hemin).  He idiosyncratically defined "pleasure" as the absence of suffering and taught that all humans should seek to attain the state of ataraxia, meaning "untroubledness", a state in which the person is completely free from all pain or suffering. That’s illogical. (Jude 7) Epicurianism was developed around 370 BC by Epicurus, this is the theoretical paradox of God: "God either wants to eliminate bad things and cannot, or can but does not want to, or neither wishes to nor can, or both wants to and can.  They came to exert profound influence on later writings about Epicurus. The "Epicurean Paradox" June 10, 2011 04:30PM Moderator Registered: 13 years ago ... it's only until the world is remade. , Epicurus's Letter to Menoeceus, possibly an early work of his, is written in an eloquent style similar to that of the Athenian rhetorician Isocrates (436–338 BC), but, for his later works, he seems to have adopted the bald, intellectual style of the mathematician Euclid. He advocated that people were best able to pursue philosophy by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. Since creation, the devil has been trying to defeat God by offering mankind choices that are more comfortable. And therefore exists because of the good. If God stops all sorts of evil in this present world, then he would be working for Satan as policeman, emergency relief worker, etc. Then chooses to punish And torture men for eternity for choosing wrong? Go to 24.  According to DeWitt, Epicurus's teachings also show influences from the contemporary philosophical school of Cynicism. He has shown how this turning can be done. Thanks for enlightening the people who interacted here. 54 in Smith's edition). To deny the existence of God is itself a dark place with little light to follow. The problem of evil, also known as the Riddle of Epicurus, states: If God is willing to prevent evil, but is not able to. It would be impossible to love what is good unless one knew the difference between good and evil. Yes. He taught that the root of all human neurosis is death denial and the tendency for human beings to assume that death will be horrific and painful, which he claimed causes unnecessary anxiety, selfish self-protective behaviors, and hypocrisy. Epicurus was curious about the “body-guard god” who doesn’t exist, then nor now. Evil is that which transgresses the laws of God.  A person who is kind and just to others, however, will have no fear and will be more likely to attain ataraxia. ", By the early fifth century AD, Epicureanism was virtually extinct. God will eliminate all evil in the future. Go to 27. He rescued his people – The Jews – only to have them turn their backs on him at the earliest sign of trouble. Impatient, they could not even wait for Moses to come off the mountain. Epicureanism reached the height of its popularity during the late years of the Roman Republic. So as if we are in a excruciatingly painful season of evil, like all seasons, it’ll pass eventually, if we hope and continue to live. It prefers self-interest, dubious dealings, lies, bullying and filling its own pockets at our expense. These are easy to satisfy, difficult to eliminate, bring pleasure when satisfied, and are naturally limited. Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? 15. Consider what the paradox says in the very first sentence: either God cannot abolish evil or God chooses not to. Give him a stick and he will use it for bad or good. I consider the genuine (not imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greece and Rome have left us. (Matthew 5:5; Psalm 37:29). Posts about Epicurean Paradox written by Rising Window. Our ability to care for ourselves in a healthy manner and see the good in things.  Epicurus had a low opinion of sex and marriage, regarding both as having dubious value. There is no evidence that God caused the first evil.  For Epicurus, static pleasures are the best pleasures because moving pleasures are always bound up with pain.  Epicureans often used analogies to everyday experience to support their argument of so-called "imperceptibles", which included anything that a human being cannot perceive, such as the motion of atoms. Evil is almost like a parasite, requiring good to feed upon. Yes. Therefore any pain and suffering caused is a direct cause from God. Why evil?  Instead, the word "epicure" began to refer to a person with extremely refined taste in food. He can know what the future lies. Jesus Christ whom God sent ressurected the dead, cured diseases, and even stopped a stormy sea. No. , Epicurus himself criticizes popular religion in both his Letter to Menoeceus and his Letter to Herodotus, but in a restrained and moderate tone. Epicurus and his followers were known for eating simple meals and discussing a wide range of philosophical subjects. Then why call him God?” Problem of evil Lactantius attributes this trilemma to Epicurus in De Ira Dei: God, he says, either wishes to take away evils, and is unable; or He is able, and  The British poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892) praised "the sober majesties / of settled, sweet, Epicurean life" in his 1868 poem "Lucretius". Epicurean Paradox The problem of evil, also known as the Riddle of Epicurus, states: If God is willing to prevent evil, but is not able to Then He is not omnipotent. You just have to choose. 4.An omniscient being knows every way in which evils can come into existence. Yes. Flavius Philostratus, Vita Apollonii 8.28.12. Majority of those who truly love God will inherit paradise earth and live there forever. It only considers two options; it doesn't consider (for sake of argument) that maybe God is allowing evil or perhaps there's a reason why the evil is there in the first place. But the cheerfulness of my mind, which comes from the recollection of all my philosophical contemplation, counterbalances all these afflictions. In the epicurean paradox, Epicurus' states that God is malevolent if he is 'able' to get rid of evil but isnt 'willing'. We can choose to starve or grow in ways of faith and mercy. In his mercy and justice to humans he allowed Adam and Eve to have children. , None of the Quattrocento Humanists ever clearly endorsed Epicureanism, but scholars such as Francesco Zabarella (1360–1417), Francesco Filelfo (1398–1481), Cristoforo Landino (1424–1498), and Leonardo Bruni (c. 1370–1444) did give Epicureanism a fairer analysis than it had traditionally received and provided a less overtly hostile assessment of Epicurus himself. (Revelations 5:9,10).  On the twentieth day of every month, admirers of his teachings would perform a solemn ritual to honor his memory. " He also taught that philosophy is itself a pleasure to engage in. 'Twere meet to name all causes of a death, , Academic interest in Epicurus and other Hellenistic philosophers increased over the course of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, with an unprecedented number of monographs, articles, abstracts, and conference papers being published on the subject. 3.A perfectly good being would want to prevent all evils. Natural and necessary desires include the desires for food and shelter.  Marx viewed Democritus as a rationalist skeptic, whose epistemology was inherently contradictory, but saw Epicurus as a dogmatic empiricist, whose worldview is internally consistent and practically applicable. If God used his power to know things in advance (omniscience) and prevent humans from committing evil everytime, then man’s freedom of choice/free will would be greatly impaired–thus making humans mere robots. Go to # 12. Epicurus, about 300 BC.  As such, while Plato and Aristotle enjoyed a privileged place in Christian philosophy throughout the Middle Ages, Epicurus was not held in such esteem. Accepting our mortality is the beginning of Wisdom.  The first scholarly dissertation on Epicurus, De voluptate (On Pleasure) by the Italian Humanist and Catholic priest Lorenzo Valla was published in 1431.  "Moving" pleasures occur when one is in the process of satisfying a desire and involve an active titillation of the senses. Epicureanism continues to revive itself in the almost undeniable fact that there are many sufferings of humanity. It is not Gods choice to live a dismal existence. , Epicurus rejected the conventional Greek view of the gods as anthropomorphic beings who walked the earth like ordinary people, fathered illegitimate offspring with mortals, and pursued personal feuds.  Both kinds of motion are real and not illusory. God wants a free man for some reason; evil and suffering are a side effect of this freedom. 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