God, Horrors, and Our Deepest Good

Faith and Philosophy 37 (1):77-95 (2020)
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J.L. Schellenberg argues that since God, if God exists, possesses both full knowledge by acquaintance of horrific suffering and also infinite compassion, the occurrence of horrific suffering is metaphysically incompatible with the existence of God. In this paper I begin by raising doubts about Schellenberg’s assumptions about divine knowledge by acquaintance and infinite compassion. I then focus on Schellenberg’s claim that necessarily, if God exists and the deepest good of finite persons is unsurpassably great and can be achieved without horrific suffering, then no instances of horrific suffering bring about an improvement great enough to outweigh their great disvalue. I argue that there is no good reason, all things considered, to believe this claim. Thus Schellenberg’s argument from horrors fails.
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