, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 45-49
Date: 10 Oct 2012

The Argument from Evil and the God of ‘Frightening’ Love

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Andrew Gleeson’s A Frightening Love (2012) situates the Argument from Evil (AfE) in its dialectical home – as an argument not for atheism but for the inadequacy of a certain conception of God. This article focuses on a critique of Gleeson’s positive alternative – the conception of God as ‘Love Itself’. But first some remarks about Gleeson’s use of the ‘Ivan Karamazov’ challenge in deploying AfE.

The challenge is that there are evils – in Ivan’s example, the torture of children – for which no consequent ultimate benefit could provide an agent who could have prevented them with a morally adequate reason for permitting them. This challenge relativises AfE to a normative stance many find compelling, thus blocking for them belief in a personal God who is both all-powerful and perfectly good.

Theists may, however, resist the normative stance of Ivan’s challenge. The person with responsibility for creating a Universe arguably may rightly sustain suffering for the sake of otherwise logically uno ...