God and Prepunishment

Philosophical Papers 40 (1):105-127 (2011)
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The belief that some misfortunes are punishments sent from God has been affirmed by many different cultures and religions throughout human history. The belief has proved a pervasive one, and is still endorsed today by many adherents of the great western religions of the Judaeo-Christian tradition. Invariably, what is believed is that a present misfortune is divine punishment for a past sin. But could a present misfortune in fact be divine punishment for a future sin? That is, could God prepunish people for their future transgressions? The aim of this paper will be to show that there are solid philosophical grounds for supposing that he could and would do so
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