The Christian Theodicist's Appeal to Love

Religious Studies 29 (2):185 - 192 (1993)
Abstract
Many Christian theodicists believe that God's creating us with the capacity to love Him and each other justifies, in large part, God's permitting evil. For example, after reminding us that, according to Christian doctrine, the supreme good for human beings is to enter into a reciprocal love relationship with God, Vincent Brummer recently wrote: In creating human persons in order to love them, God necessarily assumes vulnerability in relation to them. In fact, in this relation, he becomes even more vulnerable than we do, since he cannot count on the steadfastness of our love the way we can count on his steadfastness.... If God did not grant us the ability to sin and cause affliction to him and to one another, we would not have the kind of free and autonomous existence necessary to enter into a relation of love with God and with one another.... Far from contradicting the value which the free will defence places upon the freedom and responsibility of human persons, the idea of a loving God necessarily entails it. In this way we can see that the free will defence is based on the love of God rather than on the supposed intrinsic value of human freedom and responsibility.1 And Peter van Inwagen recently put the same point this way.
Keywords God  evil  suffering  theodicy  love  free will defence  theism  atheism
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