Duns Scotus on the Goodness of God

Faith and Philosophy 4 (4):486-505 (1987)
Abstract
Over the past thirty years, analytical philosophers of religion have confronted the problem of evil in the guise of the atheistic argument from evil against the existence of God. Many have met it from the posture of defense, constructing logically possible morally sufficient reasons for divine permission of evils from the materials of religion-neutral value-theory. At best, such defenses vindicate divine goodness along the dimension “producer of global goods,” while neglecting the religiously more relevant dimension of His goodness to individual suffering creatures. My methodological recommendation is that we Christian philosophers shift away from defense and concentrate on formulating what we really believe about the goodness of God and how He is solving the problem of evil. If successful, our accounts would not only exhibit how divine permission of evils is logically consistent with His goodness to creatures, but also advertise Him as a character worthy of worship. Failures would pinpoint more precisely where and how evil is a problem for us. I illustrate this method by examining Duns Scotus’ many-faceted conception of divine goodness and measure its power to explain the compossibility of God and evil
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