Religious Studies 11 (1):49 - 71 (1975)
AbstractTraditional theism maintains the view that the world is created by a God who is at once omnipotent and perfectly good. One of the most persistent challenges to this view is that known as the problem of evil. The challenge consists in the allegation that the manifest imperfections of the world are incompatible with its having been created by a God who is both perfectly good and has the power to carry out his will. In the face of this challenge some theists have sought to defend theism by drawing a sharp distinction between human goodness and divine goodness and claiming that the goodness of God is different from human goodness not merely in degree but in kind, and that God's goodness cannot be understood by men. As a consequence of this, they contend, the created world can be judged to be imperfect only if it is measured against the inferior standards of human goodness, which because they are inferior are inappropriate for judging the works of the almighty and infinitely perfect God. The sharp distinction between God's goodness and man's thus allows the theist to maintain that God is perfectly good even while recognising that there is a great deal of evil in the world. Hence, if the distinction can be successfully defended, it provides a neat way of getting out of the problem of evil
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