Evil and Embodiment: Towards a Latter-day Saint Non-Identity Theodicy

Religious Studies (forthcoming)
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Abstract

We offer an account of the metaphysics of persons rooted in Latter-day saint scripture that vindicates the essentiality of origins. We then give theological support for the claim that prospects for the success of God’s soul making project are bound up in God creating particular persons. We observe that these persons would not have existed were it not for the occurrence of a variety of evils (of even the worst kinds), and we conclude that Latter-day saint theology has the resources to endorse a strong soul-making non-identity theodicy. We then introduce two complications for this account rooted in the problem of horrendous evils. First, horrendous evils threaten to undermine our confidence that God is good to each created person within the context of their life. And second, horrendous evils raise concerns about the value of persons whose existence depends on the occurrence of those evils. We may wonder whether those whose existence depends on the occurrence of horrendous evils are valuable enough to motivate God’s allowance of those evils. We show that by attending to important structural features of a post-mortem, pre-eschatological state called the spirit world, Latter-day Saints can ameliorate these concerns about horrendous evils

Author Profiles

Taylor-Grey Miller
Brigham Young University
Derek Haderlie
Brigham Young University

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