Gratuitous evil and divine providence

Religious Studies 46 (3):281-302 (2010)
Abstract
Discussions of the evidential argument from evil generally pay little attention to how different models of divine providence constrain the theist's options for response. After describing four models of providence and general theistic strategies for engaging the evidential argument, I articulate and defend a definition of 'gratuitous evil' that renders the theological premise of the argument uncontroversial for theists. This forces theists to focus their fire on the evidential premise, enabling us to compare models of providence with respect to how plausibly they can resist it. I then assess the four models, concluding that theists are better off vis-à-vis the evidential argument if they reject meticulous providence
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