I was reading the book Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, and stumbled upon this paragraph on Chapter 12 (translation is mine because the book is in spanish):

And thus, monotheism explains order, but is perturbed by evil. Dualism explains evil, but is perturbed by order. There's a logical way of solving the riddle: argue that there exists only one omnipotent God which created the whole universe and that He is a wicked God. But nobody in history has had the stomach for a creed like this.

This prompted my curiosity: Is there any philosopher/mathematician that has formulated the existence of an unique, omnipotent wicked God as the only possible logical (not necessarily first order logic) inference? (which is what Harari concludes in non formal terms).

In this answer in a related post the issue of what is logically possible is mentioned. The reference I look for, should it exist, ideally would have delimited the problem of evil with the rigor of Godel's ontological proof, but not necessarily the same axioms or logical setting, and conclude that the only possible inference is that God is wicked.

EDIT.- A previous comment provided a useful, recent, non-formal reference, so I am copying it here because it was moved to chat: Why God is most assuredly evil: Challenging the evil God challenge.

This article argues that in fact evil God theodicies are more reasonable than good God theodicies by expanding upon arguments offered by David Benatar regarding the nature of existence, and David Hume regarding the asymmetry in our sensations of pain and pleasure.


3 Answers 3


Carl Jung's Answer to Job is not anywhere near as rigorous as Gödel's derivation, but it is more analytically precise than a stereotypical work of literature (that's a stereotype, seeing as there are many analytical fictions). But so a historical problem with what you're looking for, and some guesses:

  1. Gödel's derivation is a reformulation of Kant's discourse on the ens realissimum in the Transcendental Dialectic (this can be seen in the reference, by both Gödel and Kant, to "positive properties"). As Kant noted, sometimes moral theorists will go with a metaphysical perfectionism that makes goodness into something that a generic positive being would sustain; it is hard to see how the kinds of abstract or idealistic principles that go into the ontological argument might be repurposed modulo a concept of evil.

  2. Still, suppose one worked with a Plantingan argument scheme, only this time around one spoke of "a possible necessarily evil being."

  3. A First-Causal argument: evil is an effect; every local effect is formally contained in the First Cause; therefore if there is great evil in the world, there must be great evil in the First Cause.

  4. A design argument: the world seems designed to frequently reward great evil; ergo...

But again, it might take too much effort to rig a logic game to deliver the conclusion, "God is evil" (if one were trying to make a Gödelian move, one would have to figure out what it would mean to talk of evil properties on the appropriate level of generality/formality) or too little (one could, after all, straightaway define some a priori conditional such that when combined with an empirical premise about evil, the target conclusion is reached). Regarding the former, I do wonder how a dialethic theology would proceed accordingly, but a quick Google search didn't turn up any relevant results.

  • Thank you. Although you don't provide a philosopher, I found really helpful all the information you provided on the answer. I did last night a thorough search on PhilPapers and found none either. So unless someone provides a concrete reference later (which I doubt) this is the best answer for me.
    – user64708
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 7:43
  • @irecorsan you're welcome! I will continue looking, too, sometimes Reformed theologians say the darndest things so maybe I can find something there (they're pretty analytical so a decent chance there'd be rigorous wording, at least). Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 9:49

Gnosticism views the physical world as a creation by a powerful but not omnipotent being called the Demiurge. Adherents seek to escape from the physical world similar to many Eastern Religions. The Demiurge is a morally imperfect creature, and this can be an explanation for the evil in the world.

  • I did not mention formal logic.
    – Daron
    Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 14:38
  • 1
    Yes, but it's a subordinate being to a good God.
    – Mary
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 2:01
  • @Mary That is not important here.
    – Daron
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 12:56
  • @Daron It is indeed important since the context of my question is for the ultimate superior entity.
    – user64708
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 14:08
  • And we now have a chat for discussions
    – user64708
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 14:11

The problem is that the part of philosophers are assert that the good exist, and evil (exist or not exist), but evil can be controlled by the good.

Thou art evil, because the good is exist. If good is not exist who art thy?

Harari is a cute whisperer of transhumanism, looks creepy.

i donno about philosophers that believed in evil gods, but satanism looks close - evil is good, God is the true evil.

Problem that evil is a baby only of west christian's tendency - mostly from Catholics and Protestans lines. Orthodox not trying to use evil power for good things creation like demon ex machina concept, or in other contracts with evil/devil. Muslims too not playing wiht evil, Hinduism and Buddhism haven't evil-good concepts, same as Tao, confucian's moral and ethic have only good and bad, not an evil.

Greeks haven't any "evil god", all gods wasn't good or evil as the only one side.

Harari tells only the part of the Story, only that side he needed for creating fairy metanarrative of some kind of progress the thought. No mind progress, antropos evolution is not so fast, nothing new just trying to control others behavior by the logic proof and drugs/hi-tech features, it is new because they are really working. The transhumanist's new collar will be very-very softevil (because the world is more evil), so soft that sapiens will not see it's homo(roman latin homo means slave) nature.

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