Schellenberg’s deductive argument from horrific suffering

Here’s his argument:

1. If God exists, then horrific suffering does not exist
2. Horrific suffering does exist
3. Therefore, God does not exist

The key support for premise 1 that Schellenberg uses is to note that our greatest good is to be in a relationship with God. But the problem is that horrific suffering is not necessary for our greatest good. We can participate in our greatest good without suffering.


1. Free will is a great good, and that’s why God allows horrific suffering.

Response: Free will can be had in a world without horrific suffering, so it can be had in a world with some suffering. In addition, free will is only a great good, not our greatest good. As such, God would prefer our greatest good. In addition, free will can be had in a relationship with God.

2. For all we know God has a good reason to allow horrific suffering

Response: Appealing to a greater good, for all we know, will not suffice because God would prefer the greatest good over great goods. In addition, God is omnipotent so couldn’t he have these goods or a version of these goods with our greatest good? Not to mention, we can have great goods without horrific suffering, goods like character-building.


#deductive argument from horrific suffering #greatest good #relationship #skeptical theism #free will defense #the wisdom to doubt #the free will defense does not apply to Schellenberg’s argument from horrific suffering #the failure of skeptical theism as an objection to deductive arguments from evil #deepest good


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