The Process of Theodicy and The Free Will Defence

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Who Developed The Process of Theodicy?

The process theodicy was initially developed by A.N. Whitehead, and then later by David Griffin, and is a radical viewpoint that argues God, as a reality, is not fixed, and is still developing.

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What Does the Theory of Theodicy Say?

  • God is not an omnipotent being.
  • He did not create our universe because the universe in itself is an uncreated process, in which God forms a part, meaning He is bounded by natural laws.
  • The result of this is freeing God from the responsibility of evil that He would otherwise have to face, whilst still allowing Him to be personal and involved in our lives.
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Under the process theodicy, God could be described as...

  • Dipolar, in that he has two separate “poles”, one a mental state and one a physical.
  • The physical “pole” is the material world itself, which acts as God’s body, and he is partly distinct and also immersed in the world, as we are in our bodies.
  • Therefore, because God is involved with the world, He suffers also when evil is committed, and A.N. Whitehead described him as “a fellow sufferer who understands”.
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What, according to Theodicy, Was God’s role in Creation?

  • It was to begin the evolutionary process which resulted in man as he is today, but He doesn't have total control over us as a race or individuals and we can freely choose to ignore Him.
  • David Griffin states that “God does not refrain from controlling his creatures because he chooses not to but because he cannot” – and this is due to the idea that he isn't omnipotent. This means that God is not responsible in whole for the evil in the world, but has to face some responsibility for beginning the evolutionary process knowing that He couldnt control it.
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Therefore, What Does God Try To Do?

  • Help people to live in the best way they can and to maximise the harmony in the universe, to prevent evil and keep it dominated by the good that exists, through His use of “persuasion and lure” but He is unable to force them to anything.
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Theodicy as a whole tries to explain...?

  • Why God took such a risk in his creation of humanity, and it does so by arguing that the universe He, and we, are a part of, has managed to outweigh the evil present with the goodness and harmony we create.
  • We are the best possible option for the universe, and without us it would be far worse off.
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What Does the Word 'Theodicy' Mean?

  • “A justification of a deity, or the attributes of a deity, especially in regard to the existence of evil and suffering in the world; a work or discourse justifying the ways of God”
  • One criticism calls into question whether the theory is a theodicy at all.
  • Since the theory removed the omnipotence of a God, then it does not justify anything at all.
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