An Axiological-Trajectory Theodicy

Sophia 59 (3):577-592 (2020)
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I develop a new theodicy in defense of Anselmian theism, one that has several advantages over traditional and recent replies to the Problem of Evil. To make my case, I first explain the value of a positive trajectory: a forward-in-time decrease in ‘first-order-gratuitous’ evil: evil that is not necessary for any equal-or-greater first-order good, but may be necessary for a higher-order good, such as the good of strongly positive axiological trajectory. Positive trajectory arguably contributes goodness to a world in proportion to the magnitude of this trajectory, and worlds that contain first-order-gratuitous evil thereby have the potential to contain a strongly positive trajectory. This would arguably explain why God would permit first-order-gratuitous evils: he may be indifferent between a world with no first-order-gratuitous evil and a world with some first-order-gratuitous evil but a strongly positive trajectory. Next, I answer the most salient objections to this theodicy. Finally, I explain how this theodicy is superior to some common theodicies.
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