Religious Studies


Plantinga's version of the free-will argument: the good and evil that free beings do


a1 Department of Philosophy, Seattle Pacific University, 3307 Third Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119


According to Plantinga's version of the free-will argument (FWA), the existence of free beings in the world who, on the whole, do more good than evil is the greater moral good that cannot be secured by even an omnipotent God without allowing some evil and thereby shows the logical compatibility of God with evil. In this essay, I argue that there are good empirical and moral reasons, from the standpoint of one plausible conception of Christian ethics, to doubt that Plantinga's version of the FWA succeeds as a theodicy. In particular, I argue that, given this understanding of Christian ethics, it seems reasonable to think it false that free beings are doing more good than evil in the world. While there are surely possible worlds in which free beings do more good than evil, this material world seems clearly not one of those. Thus, while Plantinga's version might succeed as a defence against the logical problem of evil, it will neither rebut the evidential problem of evil nor, without more, ground a successful theodicy that reconciles God's existence with the evil that occurs in this world.


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