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The Problem of Evil, Modern Calvinism Etc - Abstract - Obanla

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ABSTRACT THE PROBLEM OF EVIL, MODERN CALVINISM AND THE DOCTRINE OF FREE WILL: IS JOHN FEINBERG’S THEODICY A COHERENT RESOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM OF TRAGIC MORAL EVIL? Michael Olaseni Obanla, M.Div. Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, 2012 Advisor: Dr. Edward N. Martin Reader: Dr. John Morrison Chair, M.Div. Program: Dr. Kevin L. King The thesis examines and evaluates Feinberg’s theistic defense against the problem of evil with a view to determining whether it represents a co
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  ABSTRACT THE PROBLEM OF EVIL, MODERN CALVINISM AND THE DOCTRINE OF FREE WILL: IS JOHN FEINBERG’S THEODICY A COHERENT RESOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM OF TRAGIC MORAL EVIL? Michael Olaseni Obanla, M.Div. Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, 2012 Advisor: Dr. Edward N. Martin Reader: Dr. John Morrison Chair, M.Div. Program: Dr. Kevin L. King The thesis examines and evaluates Feinberg’s theistic defense against the problem of evil with a view to determining whether it represents a coherent and consistent resolution to the  problem of tragic moral evil. The thesis relies on three criteria for the evaluation: the internal consistency of Feinberg’s theistic defense, its exegetical accuracy, and epistemic adequacy. Chapter 1 states the statement of purpose and position of the thesis, as well as, the limitations and the methodology of the study. This chapter introduces the basis of our evaluation. Chapter 2 provides a theological and philosophical review of the literature on the  problem of evil. The chapter defines the concept of evil and explains multidimensionality of the  problem of evil: the logical problem, the evidential problem, and the religious problem. It also explores the concepts of free will, moral responsibility, and soft determinism from a compatibil ist’s perspective, and highlights the various arguments for and against compatibilism, including such arguments as Consequence Argument and the Principle of Alternate Possibilities (PAP). The chapter then presents a general overview of how contemporary Modified Rationalists see the problem of evil. Chapter 3 highlights Feinberg’s theodicy (or defense, as he prefers to call it), underscoring his theological belief as a moderate Calvinist with compatibilistic metaphysics and   ii   his theistic system as a Calvinistic version of Modified Rationalism with a non-consequential ethic. The chapter then highlights Feinberg’s defense against the logical problem of evil as the  background to his theistic defense against the evidential problem of tragic moral evil. The chap ter further highlights Feinberg’s arguments against the evidence from evil by focusing on his arguments against induction and probability as well as on the limitation of human knowledge, the problems of gratuitous evil, and quantity of evil. Chapter 4 ev aluates John Feinberg’s theodicy on tragic moral evil on the basis of its internal consistency, exegetical accuracy and epistemic adequacy. The chapter affirms the internal consistency of Feinberg’s theistic defense against the problem of evil, but reveal s some theological disagreements by this author with Feinberg on the exegetical accuracy of his theistic defense against the problem of tragic moral evil. Such disagreements center on what kind of man God intended to create and whether He created man with a non-glorified body in a morally imperfect state. The chapter affirms the epistemic adequacy of Feinberg’s theistic defense against the atheologian arguments from evil. Chapter 5 summarizes the materials of the first four chapters and presents the conclusion of the thesis: that the existence of evil does not negate in any way the omnipotence, omniscience, or omnibenevolence of God; neither does it make God to be malevolent nor impotent. Rather, the existence of evil is a logical and necessary outcome of the doctrine s of God’s sovereignty and  human freedom, the transcendence, and the righteousness of God. The chapter demonstrates that the existence of evil and its manifestation in pain and suffering has a purpose in the divine economy and that human beings can experience justice only by developing personal and intimate relationships with God. The chapter further argues that rather than hold God responsible for the effects of evil, the culpability should be laid at the doorsteps of moral agents (humans and Satan)   iii   and that no matter how much Satan tries, he cannot negate the eternal plan of God for the salvation and redemption of humanity, which God already sealed with the atoning death of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Finally, the chapter encourages humankind to pursue a loving relationship with God. It is by so doing that they can be able to overcome evil with good and have hope of blissful existence in the new world to come.   iv  
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