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Chapter 8

PHIL 201 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Richard Swinburne, Natural Evil, Moral Evil

Course Code
PHIL 201
C. Kenneth Waters

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March 27, 2019
Swinburne, Richard (1977) Problem of Evil
o Richard Swinburne offers an answer to one of the most difficult problems of religious belief: why
does a loving God allow humans to suffer so much?
o Swinburne’s aim is to respond to the problem of evil by constructing “a theodicy, an
explanation of why God would allow evil to occur.” In order to do this, he divides
o evil into two different kinds:
- moral evil and
- natural evil
(Moral evil) includes “all evil caused deliberately by human beings doing what they ought
not to do and also the evil constituted by such deliberate actions or negligent failure.” Swinburne’s first
aim is to construct a theodicy which explains the presence of moral
o “A world in which agents can benefit each other but not do each other harm is
one where they have only very limited responsibility for each other. A God
who gave agents only such limited responsibilities for their fellows would not
have given much. God would have reserved for himself the all-important choice
of the kind of world, it was to be, while simply allowing humans the minor
choice of filling in the details. A good God will delegate responsibility.
In order to allow creatures to share in creation, he will allow them the choice
of hurting and maiming, or frustrating the divine plan.”
(Natural evil) includes “all evil which is not allowed by human beings to occur as a result
of their negligence.” (97)
o Natural Evil, Argument:
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