The problem of evil is one of the most controversial issues of the philosophy of religion. That is why it is widely discussed by philosophers and theologians. The controversy of the problem is in the question why evil exists in the world if it was created by a perfectly loving God.
A perfect God can be considered as the universe good, but this statement cannot explain the existence and progress of evil as the part of the created world. Answering the question of the origin of evil, John Hick accentuates the peculiarities of the soul-making project and the necessity of evil for the development of the humans’ souls with references to the possibility of the moral choice. Thus, according to Hick, it is possible to say that the project of soul-making explains the existence of evil.
John Hick states that “the origin of moral evil lies forever concealed within the mystery of human freedom” (Hick 125). That is why the concept of the humans’ freedom can be discussed as the decisive factor for explaining the problem of the moral evil. The humans were created as free-willed persons who have the right of moral choice (Hick). Thus, the right of choice is connected with every aspects of their life.
Each thing or phenomenon has two sides, a good one and a bad one. According to Hick, “evil – whether it be an evil will, an instance of pain, or some disorder or decay in nature – has not been set there by God, but represents the distortion of something that is inherently valuable” (Hick 123). With focusing on this statement, it is possible to say that the evil exists as the opposite side of the good. That is why the origin of the moral evil is in the wrong moral choices and wrong actions of a person who cannot resist temptation (Hick).
To explain the existence of nonmoral evil, Hick develops the idea that having created a free human, God realizes such relations with people as parents do with their children (Hick). That is why to teach ‘a child’ to act according to God’s principles of the good and justice, it is necessary to show him the difference between the good and the evil.
A person should understand this difference in order to make the right moral choice. Moreover, it is the necessary factor for the development of the person, for his or her moral growth (Hick). Created to be free, the humans are also free in making their life choices because the inability to make a choice and the possibility to live only a virtuous life rejects the concept of the right of freedom.
Thus, the soul-making process depends on the existence of evil as the necessary aspect for the humans’ moral development. Moreover, Hick accentuates the fact that the possibility to create the world without evil and where all people are just and good rejects the concept of a free will which is the necessary aspect of the personal moral development (Hick).
John Hick’s vision of the problem of evil according to which the existence of evil can be explained from the point of the soul-making project can be considered as credible with references to the concept of the humans’ freedom and the character of relations between God and people.
Hick, John. Philosophy of Religion. Upper Saddle Hill, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1989. Print.