Can God Promise Us a New Past? A Response to Lebens and Goldschmidt

Open Theology 6 (1):167-174 (2020)
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Abstract
Samuel Lebens and Tyron Goldschmidt provided original theodicies, which suggest that at one time God will change the past, either by erasing/substituting the sins of humans or erasing the whole entirety of evils. Both theodicies imply the idea that God can completely change the past without leaving any traces. In this paper, I argue that Lebens’ and Goldschmidt’s preferred model, which they call the scene-changing theory, is problematic. First, its complex metaphysical foundation could be replaced with presentism (roughly, the view in the ontology of time that only present things exist) without losing any substantial heuristics. Second, their theory either implies a controversial theory of truthmaking under presentistic and hyper-presentistic ontology or implies controversial views on the counting of events under presentistic and hyper-presentistic ontology. Thirdly, I will argue that any theory of elimination/substitution of evils of the past implies that there are unnecessary evils, which is inconsistent with God’s goodness.
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