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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access June 28, 2019

Panentheisms, Creation and Evil

Robin Attfield EMAIL logo
From the journal Open Theology

Abstract

Can panentheism cope with the problem of evil? This problem is often understood as one for classical theists, who maintain that the cosmos, together with its evils, was created by an all-powerful and benevolent God. For classical theists need to reconcile the world’s evils with divine creation. But corresponding problems re-emerge for theologies of both pantheistic and panentheistic kinds. Thus a problem arises for panentheists, with their teachings about a close relation between God and the cosmos. The closer the relation, the more intense the problem. Thus panentheists who regard the world as necessary to or part of God must hold that its evils are likewise necessary to or part of God. I explore in this paper whether panentheism can overcome the corresponding problem. This exploration involves sifting different varieties of panentheism. While for some varieties the problem is insoluble, this turns out to be less so for others, which retain central features of classical theism, while stressing interaction between God and the created world. In particular, grounds will be offered for holding that the version of panentheism put forward by Jürgen Moltmann and by Arthur Peacocke is defensible and can overcome this problem.

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Received: 2019-03-13
Accepted: 2019-06-03
Published Online: 2019-06-28

© 2019 Robin Attfield, published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License.

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