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Personalistic Theism, Divine Embodiment, and a Problem of Evil

Chad Meister

Abstract

One version of the problem of evil concludes that personalistic forms of theism should be rejected since the acts that one would expect a God with person-like qualities to perform, notably acts that would prevent egregious evils, do not occur. Given the evils that exist in the world, it is argued, if God exists as a person or like a person, God’s record of action is akin to that of a negligent parent. One way of responding to this “argument from neglect” is to maintain that there is a good reason for the apparent neglect—namely, that God could not intervene even once with respect to suffering (the “not-even-once principle”) without thereby incurring the responsibility of doing so on every occasion, which would be deleterious. So God never responds to evil. It is argued in this paper that a profoundly integrated, personalistic model of God and the God-world relation—one that is reflected in a soul-body analogy—provides a way of addressing the argument from neglect without affirming the not-even-once principle.

 

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