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Resurrecting Whitehead: A theodicy in the wake of global crisis


The global covid-19 pandemic earnestly reminds us of the fragility of existence in the face of disaster. The question of evil has engaged theologians, philosophers, and ordinary folk either in defense of a belief in a benevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient supreme being or to turn towards atheism. Admitting the presence of evil while insisting on the existence of God requires what has come to be called a theodicy, understood as the task of justifying the role of an ultimate being in the face of evil. We soon realize, while attempting this, that the classical theistic stance presents logical contradictions by holding God to a strict independence and unilateral power. If we pursue the idea that God is independent of the world, determining entirely its reality by sheer volition, we are challenged by the problem of how a benevolent being causes evil to befall a world that he supposedly loves unconditionally. Creating a logically coherent theodicy requires a reassessment of classical attributes of God that disallow a cohabitation of God and an evil-ridden world, such is the aim of process thought. Process philosophy, largely construed, goes as far back as the pre-Socratic era in the ideas of Anaximander, through to Socrates, much later Spinoza, and more systematically elucidated by Alfred North Whitehead. Its leading proponents about the problem of evil are Charles Hartshorne, David Griffin, and John Cobb among a few others. The present paper explores and critically examines process theism with a focus on the relationship between God and natural evil i.e., covid-19. It aims, firstly, to offer an understanding of the metaphysical structure of process philosophy and define the role of God in such a world. Secondly, to contrast this image with classical theology on the nature of God, showing why its notions inevitably lead to contradictions. Lastly, I explain process theodicy as a remedy to the daunting questions of theodicy as well as illustrate its limitations.
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hal-04027718 , version 1 (14-03-2023)




  • HAL Id : hal-04027718 , version 1


Roseline Elorm Adzogble. Resurrecting Whitehead: A theodicy in the wake of global crisis. Global Solidarity Crisis Symposium September 2022, Catholic University of Widya Mandala in Surabaya, Sep 2022, Surabaya, Thailand. ⟨hal-04027718⟩
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