4
Theodicy for Moral Evils

AS DEFINED IN THE PREFACE, moral evils are those evils which result from acts for which human agents can be held morally accountable. In performing such actions, these agents are moral agents. But according to P2, for a person to be a moral agent, he must be at times significantly free. That is, to be a moral agent he must be free with respect to actions which are morally significant for him, such that doing a certain action at a certain time is morally right and refraining from doing it then is morally wrong, or vice versa. According to P1, a world containing significantly free persons making moral choices between moral good and evil and choosing a significant amount of moral good is superior to a world lacking significantly free persons and moral good and evil. Thus, it was consistent with God's goodness that he create a world inhabited by significantly free persons.

But in a world inhabited by significantly free persons whether there is moral evil or not depends upon these free persons. It is up to them whether they will choose to do right or wrong in a morally significant situation. If they are capable of doing right, at the same time they are capable of doing wrong. If they choose to do wrong, God cannot prevent them from doing that wrong, or even choosing it, without removing their significant freedom, and should he consistently do this so as to remove all moral evil, he would then be bringing about an inferior world [P1]. Thus, since to bring about the higher good it was necessary that moral evil be possible, God cannot be held morally ac-

-64-

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Evil and a Good God
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vi
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Notes xv
  • 1 - The Deductive Argument from Evil 1
  • Notes 22
  • 2 - The Inductive Argument from Evil 25
  • Notes 41
  • 3 - Presuppositions 43
  • Notes 60
  • 4: Theodicy for Moral Evils 64
  • 5 - Theodicy for Natural Evils 87
  • Conclusion 117
  • 6 - Must God Create the Best Possible World? 121
  • Conclusion 128
  • Notes 129
  • 7 - Why is God Good? 130
  • 8 - Is God Omnipotent or Finite in Power? 154
  • Index 197
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