Essay On Alvin Plantinga's Free Will Defense

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Philosophy of Religion – Term Paper

IVLE Name: Lim Jin Ling Claire Marie
Matriculation No.: A0130474M
Module Code: PH2211
Tutorial Class: D5
Title of Paper: Plantinga’s Free Will Defense and Natural Evil

My paper discusses one criticism of Alvin Plantinga’s Free Will Defense: that it does not properly account for the existence of natural evil. ‘Natural evil’ refers to evil that has non-human causes e.g. natural disasters. This is in contrast to ‘moral evil’, which refers to evil stemming from human action or inaction.

As summarized by Plantinga (1977, p. 58), his defense suggests that God must create free beings capable of moral evil in order to create free beings capable of moral good. These beings cannot be prevented from doing evil because then they would not have free will, i.e. God cannot force them to do only good. Ultimately, some beings wrongly exercised their freedom, causing moral evil. This, nevertheless, does not contradict God’s omnipotence or omnibenevolence, as the only way God could have prevented moral evil is by removing the possibility of moral good. Another philosopher Reichenbach appositely puts
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But if free non-human beings are blamable for pointless evil, then it would not be consistent with them having free will if God were to stop them from, for instance, causing a tsunami to wipe out thousands of people. This is comparable to how God does not stop humans from, say, committing homicide, which appears to be an evil from which a greater good does not result. Additionally, because God created beings that could do as much good as they wish, these beings could also do as much bad as they wish, so it is entirely conceivable that an unquantifiable amount of evil exists in the world, and not because God is not all-powerful or morally
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