Posts tagged Divine Intervention
This article was taken by permission from Process Studies, “The Problem of Evil in Process Theism and Classical Freewill Theism,” Vol. 29, Number 2, Fall-Winter, 2000: pp. 194-208.
By William Hasker
No topic in the philosophy of religion seems to be so universally engaging as the problem of evil. This problem can be counted on to hold the attention of practically any audience, regardless of their degree of philosophical sophistication. During the past several decades there has probably been more writing on the problem of evil than on all of the theistic proofs put together, and the flood shows no sign of abating.
This problem is generally regarded as the most powerful weapon wielded by atheists in their attacks on theistic belief. But it also comes into play in the internecine controversies among theists, where different conceptions of God are judged acceptable or otherwise in no small part because of their ability (or lack thereof) to provide a satisfactory solution for the problem of evil. In particular, this is true of the debate between process theists and traditional or “classical” theists. It would be no exaggeration to say that many process theists regard the phenomena of evil as providing the decisive reason why traditional theism should be rejected and their view preferred in its place. Many traditional theists would agree that process theism enjoys a certain advantage at this point, while holding that other benefits of traditional theism are more than sufficient to outweigh the advantage of process theism with respect to the problem of evil.
I have come to see, however, that there is one version of traditional theism that is very much on a par with process theism in its treatment of the problem of evil. The version in question has been described by David Griffin as “classical free will theism”; its adherents usually refer to it as the “open view” of God, or simply as “free will theism.” 1
In what follows I shall begin by briefly characterizing the two views in question; then I shall proceed to examine their respective implications for the problem of evil. For the process approach I shall be relying mainly on the writings of David Ray Griffin, probably the best exponent of the process view of this topic. It is by no means my intention to provide a complete theodicy; but I will be giving special attention to those aspects of the problem where the two types of theism might seem to show major differences.
Click Next Page to Continue