Master of Arts
Date of Defense
Marilyn McCord Adams’s work on the problem of evil offers one of the most creative and sophisticated religious theodicies. Adams relies upon specifically Christian resources to explain how God is able to defeat horrendous evils within the context of an individual’s life by integrating the participant’s experience of suffering into their relationship with God. This strategy rests upon the claim that God has participated in a representative sample of human horrors. I argue that traditional interpretations of the relevant Christian beliefs do not support the idea that Christ experienced the disintegration of his meaning-making capacities characteristic of horrendous evils. I contend that for Adams’s strategy to be successful, a scenario of ‘God hidden from God’ must be posited. Genuine divine solidarity with human horrors means that God somehow experiences the anguish and existential confusion associated with divine hiddenness. To elucidate this claim and defend its plausibility, I employ Stump’s framework for understanding the nature of union in love. Part of my aim is to distinguish and clarify notions of presence, abandonment, and hiddenness central to this discussion, and argue—contra Stump—that the mutual closeness enjoyed between Christ and God can be constrained without implying a moral fault on the part of God or Christ.
Bell, William, "Horrendous Evils and the Problem of Representation" (2016). Theses. 221.