Are sin and evil necessary for a really good world?: Questions for Alvin Plantinga's Felix culpa theodicy

Faith and Philosophy 25 (1):87-101 (2008)
Abstract
Arguably, the most philosophically nuanced defense of a Felix Culpa theodicy, born out of serious theological reflection, is to be found in Alvin Plantinga’srecent article entitled “Superlapsarianism, or ‘O Felix Culpa.’” In this paper I look at Plantinga’s argument for the necessity of evil as a means to God’s fargreater ends and raise four objections to it. The arguments I give are aimed at the theological adequacy of explaining the emergence of evil as a functionalgood. I conclude that Plantinga’s Felix Culpa approach fails to demonstrate the necessity of evil for heightened intimacy with God, and collides with agent-centeredconsiderations. Moreover, I argue that all Felix Culpa theodicies reverse the apparent value God places on means and ends in the economy of salvation, while lending to evil a potentially morally and theologically distorting rational legitimacy
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