a1 Professor of Philosophy, University of California at Irvine
Some philosophers have argued that a world created by an omnipotent, omniscient and perfectly good being would not contain evil. Since the world contains evil in fact, it follows (so it is claimed) that the world was not created by an omnipotent, omniscient and perfectly good being. One of the replies frequently given to this argument is that the world contains evil only because it is populated with free creatures (men and devils) who perform morally wrong action. This is the centre of the so-called ‘Free Will Theodicy’ - a favourite not only of technical theologians such as Thomas Aquinas but of practising believers of the least sophisticated sort. On this view, evil results from the illicit exercise of created free will. The fault thus lies with his creatures and not with the omnipotent, omniscient and perfectly good creator.