Natural evil as a test of faith in the abrahamic traditions

Sophia 49 (1):15-28 (2010)
This paper critically examines what I call the ‘testing theodicy,’ the widely held idea that natural evil exists in order to test our faith in God. This theodicy appears numerous times in the scriptures of all three Abrahamic faiths. After examining some of these scriptural passages, we will argue that in light of these texts, the notion of faith is best understood as some type of commitment such as trust, loyalty or piety, rather than as merely a belief in God’s existence. After carefully showing the form this theodicy must take, I argue that the testing theodicy suffers from serious difficulties and fails to adequately account for the existence of natural evil.
Keywords Evil  God  Religion  Test  Faith  Natural evil
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DOI 10.1007/s11841-009-0151-2
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R. E. Ewin (1992). Loyalty and Virtues. Philosophical Quarterly 42 (169):403-419.

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