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Atonement’s Axiological Boundaries

Yishai Cohen

Abstract

According to the Felix Culpa Theodicy (FCT), worlds containing atonement and incarnation are of such great value that God is justified in actualizing such a world, despite all of the moral evil that has accompanied it. Focusing upon Alvin Plantinga’s articulation of this theodicy, I argue against FCT on the basis of normative ethical considerations. On the one hand, the deontic status of at least some actions depends upon the consequences of those actions. On the other hand, the existence of atonement depends upon the deontic status of at least one action. Under certain circumstances, this two-way dependence yields a contradiction if atonement has the kind of value conferred upon it by FCT. I conclude by discussing some implications for Molinism and evidential arguments from moral evil.

Keywords

Atonement; Theodicy; Evil; Plantinga

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