Troost en theodicee | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 41, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 2542-6583
  • E-ISSN: 2590-3268



This paper examines the objection that theodicy arguments like the free will defence, which try to reconcile human suffering with the love of God, fail to provide consolation for the afflicted. For those who suffer, such arguments are both morally insensitive, since they do not take suffering seriously enough, and incoherent, since they ascribe this moral insensitivity to a loving God. After examining Richard Swinburne’s argument for the free will defence and why D Z. Phillips considers this to be morally insensitive, I discuss two responses to the charge of moral insensitivety and show why these are inadaquate. I then examine the concept of love and show in what sense the idea of a loving God, far from contradicting the free will defence, necessarily entails it. Finally I show what follows from this for our concept of moral sensitivity and for the reasons why theodicy arguments often fail to provide consolation.


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