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God and Evil: A View from Swansea

Authors


Department of Philosophy, Flinders University of South Australia, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia, Andrew.Gleeson@flinders.edu.au

Abstract

Herbert McCabe and Brian Davies defend an Aquinas-inspired, anti-anthropomorphic natural theology that emphasises the mysterious distance between the Creator and his creation. This theology gives rise to a powerful response to the problem of evil, powerful enough to scuttle the academic problem of evil that is based on a confused anthropomorphic understanding of God. But that does not dispose of the problem of evil per se. The McCabe–Davies natural theology can succeed only by appropriating a personal understanding of “the ultimate question” (why is there something rather than nothing?), which is at odds with their reluctance to give up on a metaphysical argument to establish the reality of God from outside religious faith and practice. But if that same personal understanding is applied to the problem of evil we find it generates “the unprecedented charge,” a form of the problem that does not depend on an anthropomorphic conception of God. The way forward for the McCabe–Davies natural theology is to follow Dewi Phillips in his rejection of philosophy's aspiration to find “external justifications” for our religious lives.

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