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Soul Making & The Afterlife

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1 Soul Making & The Afterlife

2 John Hick’s Soul Making Theodicy
One of the most important recent contributions to the problem of evil is John Hick’s “soul-making” theodicy Hick claims that God has given humans freedom, they have misused that freedom and thus brought evil on themselves and on creation, and God will justly punish some but save others through the redeeming work of Jesus Christ

3 Hick asks us to conceive of the world as a “vale of Soul-making”
Its purpose is the creation of finite persons who can, and will, freely choose to share in the life of their personal Creator

4 God did not create us with ready-made moral character, because for character to be valuable must be developed through experience So God has created us as morally and spiritually immature creatures, evolved from the lower animals And with the human race beginning in this way, it is no wonder that we should go wrong, for we existed from the first in a “fallen” state and a suffering-filled world And such a world as we find ourselves in is, Hick insists, absolutely necessary for the perfection of our souls A pain-free paradise with no difficulties, perils, and hardships would never allow us to learn and to develop, for moral and spiritual growth comes through the facing and overcoming of challenges

5 Evaluation What do you think of Hick’s theory?

6 The Afterlife Another answer to the problem of evil is the idea of the afterlife This theory states that although we may be suffering in this life, if we are good we will be rewarded in the next Evil and pain exist in this world only This world is only a prelude to the afterlife. Also known as life after death, the afterlife is a generic term referring to a continuation of existence, typically spiritual and experiential, beyond this world, or after death, where no pain will exist.

7 People eventually die anyway, so this allows for final justice for everyone in the end, with the righteous (or “saved”) enjoying everlasting life Imagine a person is saddened after losing ten thousand pounds one morning. In the afternoon however, he unexpectedly earns a million pounds. Losing ten thousand dollars is bad, but on the whole, was this a bad day? Probably not. Potentially, one could see one’s existence in the same way with an afterlife, where the just are rewarded with everlasting life and the guilty are punished. Although the afterlife theory does not remove the problem of evil it lessens it

8 Although it does not make evil any less evil
Although it does not make evil any less evil. In an absolute sense, evil remains equally wrong with or without an afterlife Nonetheless, such an afterlife would make the world less evil. For example, since the afterlife scenario guarantees final justice for all individuals, it would instil justice where there would otherwise be injustice. And while existing with a finite period of pain (as an innocent sufferer in life) is bad, having existence is far more worthwhile, perhaps infinitely so, if there is infinitely more good than harm (as via everlasting life) So on the whole the world could have infinitely more good than evil, while still allowing humanity as whole to choose its own destiny. So the atheist may be right about evil being a problem for theism; however, the atheist may be also wrong about how big the problem is. God allowing evil becomes more plausible if God sets up the world to have infinitely more good than evil.

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