God, evil, and occasionalism

Religious Studies 54 (2):265-283 (2018)
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Abstract

In a recent paper, Alvin Plantinga defends occasionalism against an important moral objection: if God is the sole direct cause of all the suffering that results from immoral human choices, this causal role is difficult to reconcile with God’s perfect goodness. Plantinga argues that this problem is no worse for occasionalism than for any of the competing views of divine causality; in particular, there is no morally relevant difference between God directly causing suffering and God indirectly causing it. First, we examine Plantinga’s moral parity argument in detail and offer a critical evaluation of it. Then we provide a positive argument, based on the doctrine of doing and allowing, to show why there is a morally relevant difference between God’s direct and indirect causation of suffering.

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Author Profiles

Scott Ragland
Saint Louis University
Matthew Shea
Franciscan University of Steubenville

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