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Flashcards in Evil and Suffering Deck (14)
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FWD: 1st order good/evil

Good: experience of happiness and pleasure
eg: yummy food

Evil: experience of misery and pain
eg: breaking leg


FWD:second order good/evil

Good: respond to suffering with love, kindness and compassion
Exists to maximise first order goods

Evil: respond to suffering with cruelty, hate and spite
Exists to maximise first order evil


FWD: 3rd order good

Free will allows humans to choose between 2 things.

Pain and suffering are needed to help develop sympathy etc ... thus spiritually and morally grow


FWD: 4th order good

God created humans with free will, therefore morally responsible


Mackie’s rejection:

-logically impossible for someone to freely choose good at every point of choice
-therefore, god could have made people so they have true free choice yet always choose good
-he didn’t so...
He lacks power or
Lacks love or
Does not exist


Plantingas defence of FWD:

3 possible worlds give 3 options:

World as it is with ‘morally significant free will’ and no causal determinism from god, which permits evil and suffering

World without ‘morally significant free will’ but with Gods causal determinism to make people choose good, so no evil

Both ‘morally significant free will’ and causal determinism to make people choose good so no evil



1: logically possible
2: also logically possible but would make humans robots. Easy to see why god would choose first scenario.
3:logically impossible. Genuine free will is incompatible with causal determinism. Therefore mackies argument fails.

Natural evil:

Tied up in the fall of man (Genesis), and is a punishment of that.
Logically possible that god created or permits evil because of human sin in the garden of Eden.


Hick’s soul making theodicy:

Part 1

Humans are the pinnacle of evolution(Darwin):

Long evolutionary process willed by God as the source of all life —> personal human development
Human telos =conscious/personal relationship with God.
Can only be achieved through a free and willing response based on experience of the world including good and evil


Part 2:

John Keats: world is a “vale of soul making”

World that enables spiritual growth, rather than:

Augustine: soul deciding world where humans choice of good or evil decides their eternal fate.

World is geared to enable spiritual growth. Thus not a “paradise of pets” but one that will enable humans to become children of God


Part 3:

Like Iranaeus, Hick had a 2 stage concept of humanity:

Creation of man in gods image means humans have special character
Thus potential for a conscious and personal relationship with god.
This is fulfilled after death (eschatological verification)


Part 4:

God set an epistemic distance (distance of knowledge):

World is religiously ambiguous (ie as if there were no god)

This allows humans to have freedom to choose to have personal relationship with god

Only authentic if freely chosen

Means world has to contain full range of moral and natural evils, allowing humans to develop second order virtues.
ie evil exists to enable human to achieve relationship with God.


Step 5:

Sin is inevitable:
Sin=failure to live in right relationship with god, which affects all human relationships with god

God permits this out of respect for human free will

God makes it right through Christ’s redeeming life, death and resurrection.

Hick= universalist
Therefore, rejected hell and eternal punishment as incompatible with gods omnipotence and benevolence. Thus, all humans go to heaven.


Griffin process theology:

Rejection of:

Creation ex nihilo

Gods omnipotence

Impossible “truths” of the bible.



God and universe have necessary, pantheistic and eternal existence.

God is not transcendent:
God =soul of the universe
Universe is in god, both existing necessarily and eternally as ‘God and a world’.

Mind cannot dictate how body works, God cannot control his ‘body’ the universe. Thus, over billion years of years god persuaded universe into increasing order and complexity.

No problem of evil because God cannot intervene or answer prayer, instead just a long process of divine persuasion.

Increased complexity —->
Increased and increasing capacity for suffering
Increased and increasing capacity for pleasure
More complex creature, greater potential to either work with god or reject his purpose.

Thus, God= culpable not responsible for sparking evolutionary process that has resulted in so much suffering:
Had god avoided the process that lead to evil would have left a world without value
Better to have universe with mixed experiences and possibility of worse suffering than no universe at all
God shared our suffering (“God is the ‘fellow sufferer who understands” A.N. Whitehead)