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Wandering in DarknessNarrative and the Problem of Suffering$
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Eleonore Stump

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199277421

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199277421.001.0001

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Theodicy in Another World

Theodicy in Another World

(p.371) Chapter 13 Theodicy in Another World
Wandering in Darkness

Eleonore Stump (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter uses the narratives in the preceding chapters as well as the worldview of Aquinas outlined in earlier chapters to present Aquinas's theodicy. Taken in the context of the biblical narratives and encompassed in Aquinas's whole worldview but especially his account of love, Aquinas's theodicy is the heart of the defence promised at the outset of the book. On Aquinas's theodicy, God is justified in allowing the suffering of a mentally fully functional adult human person by one or the other or both of two possible benefits, where Aquinas's scale of value is the measure of the benefits. For a person whose suffering is entirely involuntary, suffering is defeated in virtue of its contributing to warding off a greater harm for her. For a person whose suffering is involuntary only in a certain respect, suffering is defeated in virtue of its contributing to providing a greater good for her. The chapter concludes with an argument that Aquinas's theodicy is incomplete as it stands and in need of further development.

Keywords:   Thomas Aquinas, theodicy, defence, biblical narrative, narrative and philosophy, love, human flourishing

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