Religious Studies

Non-human animals and process theodicy

a1 School of Business and Management, La Sierra University, Riverside, CA 92515-8247

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I argue that that the suffering of non-human animals poses some potentially knotty difficulties for process theodicy. To respond satisfactorily to the problem of evil as it involves animals, process theists will, I argue, need either to defend some form of consequentialism or make a number of potentially plausible but certainly contestable empirical claims. I begin this internal critique by explaining the nature of the process response to the problem of evil. I explain how process thought can respond with reasonable effectiveness to the general problem of the suffering of non-human animals while highlighting the special difficulty predation might be thought to pose for the process thinker. Then, I elaborate alternative consequentialist and non-consequentialist process accounts of divine goodness in the face of the harm to non-human animals caused by predation. After summarizing my analyses in the conclusion, I underscore the costs associated with these alternatives.