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Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion Volume 4$
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Jonathan Kvanvig

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199656417

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199656417.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 13 June 2021

Meticulous Providence and Gratuitous Evil

Meticulous Providence and Gratuitous Evil

(p.65) 4 Meticulous Providence and Gratuitous Evil
Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion Volume 4

Neal Judisch

Oxford University Press

The argument from gratuitous evil may be the most significant challenge to theism. It states that some evils are simply pointless or purposeless, in the sense that they are neither needed for nor productive of any greater goods, and that, if there were a morally upright deity with the wherewithal to prevent them, such evils would not be permitted to occur. Because many apparently gratuitous evils seem preventable enough, this argument provides powerful evidence against the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good God. According to the so-called General Thesis: theories of General Providence make it easier for the theist to rebut the argument from gratuitous evil than do theories of Meticulous Providence; other things equal, therefore, theories of General Providence are preferable to theories of Meticulous Providence. This chapter discusses a specific instance of this thesis, which invokes a particular theory of general providence and a particular theory of meticulous providence, namely, Open Theism and Molinism. It considers the claim that Open Theism makes it easier to rebut the argument from gratuitous evil than does Molinism, and that (other things equal) Open Theism is therefore to be preferred over Molinism. The chapter calls this the Specific Thesis. It analyzes the relations between risk, luck, and control, as they have arisen within the contest between Open Theists and Molinists. This analysis makes way for a diagnosis of why the Specific Thesis fails, and also why some of the more enthusiastic Molinist expressions of divine providential control are overdrawn.

Keywords:   God, divine providence, Open Theism, Molinism, general providence, risk, luck, control

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