A Brief History of Theodicies (500BCE

Time: 399 BCE.
Place: The porch of the
King Archon's Court in
Socrates: Defendant against
charges of corrupting the
youth and failing to worship
the state’s gods.
Euthyphro: Religious
authority, prosecutor in
lawsuit against his father for
allowing a slave to die from
“I should say that what all
the gods love is pious and
holy, and the opposite which
all hate, impious.”
That which all gods
That which all gods
That which some gods love
and some gods
Do the gods love piety
because it is pious?
Is it (piety) pious because
they love it?
Do the gods approve
of/like something because
it is good?
Is something good because
the gods approve of/like
Is piety inherent in an act
or thing—that is, an
intrinsic aspect of its
Or are acts and things
valueless until the gods
grant them value?
Where does value come
Where does good come
What makes something
Nothing is inherently
right/wrong or good/bad.
Humans are slaves, gods
are masters.
Without divinity there
would be no right and
Humans do good
Moral values are
arbitrary—that is, they
depend on the gods’
What, in this framework,
is the meaning of
Values of right and wrong
are absolute and lie
outside of the gods’
Values are determined by
Natural Law of Reason
that even the gods must
conform to.
The gods are not
Morality is accessible to
human reason.
Fall of Satan
Fall of Man
Manichaeism (man-uh-key-ism)
@230 CE, Ancient Iran.
Christianity +
Dualism: Light/Dark,
An attempt to provide a
framework in which the
existence of God is probable
by reconciling the divine
characteristics of
omnipotence, and
omniscience with the
occurrence of evil or
suffering in the world.
Different from a defense,
which tries to
demonstrate that God's
existence is logically
possible in the light of evil.
Serves a social function by
providing a framework for
making sense out of things
that don’t otherwise seem
to make sense in the world.
Protects social orders based
on religion by protecting
the logic of religion from
the phenomena of the
Anti-Theodicy: God
cannot be meaningfully
“Evil desires are due
to our natural failings,
but that the
conceptions of any
wicked mind should
prevail against
innocence while God
watches over us
seems to me
unnatural.” (65)
What are these “natural
Why would it be
“unnatural” for the wicked
to prevail over the
“Providence is the very divine
reason which arranges all
things, and rests with the
supreme disposer of all.”
“Fate is that ordering which is
a part of all changeable things,
and by means of which
Providence binds all things
together. In their own order.”
God’s mind and plan.
The unfolding of events in that
“There seems to me to be
such incompatibility
between the existence of
God’s universal
foreknowledge and that of
any freedom of judgment.
For if God foresees all
things and cannot be
mistaken, that, which His
Providence sees will
happen, must result.”(66)
How do fate and freewill
seem to be in conflict
What does it mean to say
that something “must”
“But he
does not sit because the
opinion is true, but rather the
opinion is true because his
sitting down has preceded
it…yet there is common
necessity in both parts.” (67)
“In like manner we must reason
of Providence and future events.
For even though they are
foreseen because they are about
to happen, yet they do not
happen because they are
foreseen. None the less, it is
necessary that either what is
about to happen should be
foreseen of God, or that what
has been foreseen should
happen; and this alone is
enough to destroy all freewill. ”
“For I think not that there
is any man who will say
this, that things, which are
done in the present, were
not about to be done in
the past, before they are
done. Thus, these
foreknown events have
their own free results.”
At what point does one
“decide” to do something?
Once something has been
done, can we trace back
the origin point of the
“Eternity is the
simultaneous and complete
possession of infinite life.
What we should rightly call
eternal is that which grasps
and possesses wholly and
simultaneously the fullness
of unending life, which lacks
naught of the future, and
has lost naught of the
fleeting past; and such an
existence must be ever
present in itself….” (67)
How is eternity
different from
How would an eternal
perceiver (i.e. God)
experience the past,
present, and future?
How would an eternal
perceiver experience the
unfolding of an event?
How would an eternal
perceiver experience
freewill in others?
How does such an
argument provide a
framework that allows for
both the existence of
suffering and an
omnipotent, omnipresent,
all-knowing God?

similar documents