Theodicy

Theodicy (/θˈɒdɪsi/) means vindication of God. It is to answer the question of why a good God permits the manifestation of evil, thus resolving the issue of the problem of evil. Some theodicies also address the evidential problem of evil by attempting "to make the existence of an all-knowing, all-powerful and all-good or omnibenevolent God consistent with the existence of evil or suffering in the world".[1] Unlike a defense, which tries to demonstrate that God's existence is logically possible in the light of evil, a theodicy attempts to provide a framework wherein God's existence is also plausible.[2] The German philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Leibniz coined the term "theodicy" in 1710 in his work Théodicée, though various responses to the problem of evil had been previously proposed. The British philosopher John Hick traced the history of moral theodicy in his 1966 work, Evil and the God of Love, identifying three major traditions:

  1. the Plotinian theodicy, named after Plotinus
  2. the Augustinian theodicy, which Hick based on the writings of Augustine of Hippo
  3. the Irenaean theodicy, which Hick developed, based on the thinking of St. Irenaeus
Gottfried Leibniz coined the term "theodicy" in an attempt to justify God's existence in light of the apparent imperfections of the world.

The problem was also analyzed by pre-modern theologians and philosophers in the Islamic world. German philosopher Max Weber (1864–1920) saw theodicy as a social problem, based on the human need to explain puzzling aspects of the world.[3] Sociologist Peter L. Berger (1929–2017) argued that religion arose out of a need for social order, and an “implicit theodicy of all social order” developed to sustain it.[4] Following the Holocaust, a number of Jewish theologians developed a new response to the problem of evil, sometimes called anti-theodicy, which maintains that God cannot be meaningfully justified. As an alternative to theodicy, a defense has been proposed by the American philosopher Alvin Plantinga, which is focused on showing the logical possibility of God's existence. Plantinga's version of the free-will defence argued that the coexistence of God and evil is not logically impossible, and that free will further explains the existence of evil without threatening the existence of God.[not verified in body]

Similar to a theodicy, a cosmodicy attempts to justify the fundamental goodness of the universe, and an anthropodicy attempts to justify the goodness of humanity.