Skills: Reading, researching, and writing.
Topic: Aquinas demonstrates the existence of a God that is altogether good, omnipotent, and omniscient. But some object that the fact of evil in the world stands in clear contradiction to such a God. This is called “the problem of evil.” Aquinas argues that the God he has proven to exist is entirely consistent with the presence of evil in the world. Your paper will present the problem of evil in its strongest possible terms and then resolve it.
In your paper, following closely, step-by-step, the texts and arguments of Aquinas, you will first demonstrate the existence of God from any of the Five Ways or from the De Ente ch. 4 (it is recommended that you use the First Way). Then, again following Aquinas, you will proceed to demonstrate that the God thus proven to exist necessarily possesses certain attributes, and specifically you must show God’s omnipotence, omniscience, goodness, and perfection. You will then present the problem of evil with special attention given to the apparent tension between the presence of evil and these attributes proven to belong to God. Be sure you represent the problem in all of its due force; consider looking up the formulation attributed to Epicurus in David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. You will then solve the problem of evil using research and argumentation from Aquinas and Aristotle, drawing upon contemporary peer-reviewed secondary literature and perhaps other philosophers such as Augustine.
SPECIAL RESTRICTION: You are prohibited from using quotations from any text in the body of your paper. Instead, when you reference material, you may put the quotation in a footnote with the complete Chicago-style reference. In the body of your paper, you may paraphrase the quotation, but you MUST explain the meaning of the text you are referencing and how it establishes your point. You will receive no credit from quoting and paraphrasing alone. Teach the text to your reader, don’t just read it to them.