Free Will and Soul Making: Comparing Two Responses to the Problem of Evil
Abstract: Two popular responses to the problem of evil are the free will defense (cf. Alvin Plantinga and Bruce Reichenbach) and the soul-making theodicy (cf. John Hick and Marilyn McCord Adams). Both are essentially “higher good” approaches to the problem, as each argues that God is justified in permitting evil because of something else that is valuable. In the former case it is human freedom, and in the latter it is character development. In this paper I consider which, if either, of these approaches is superior. My aim is not to show that either actually succeeds in defeating the evidential objection from evil but only to compare (and contrast) them. In examining the two approaches, I discuss their respective ends in view, why each is valuable, and the preconditions for their attainment.