The free will defence: a good god vs the problem of evil

2 minutes

How could a benevolent god allow evil? Is it really just a matter of free will?

The question of evil has troubled theologians and philosophers for millennia. How could a just and loving god allow for human-inflicted evils such as genocide and torture? Are these painful parts of the human experience the inevitable outcome of god-given free will? Part of BBC Radio 4’s A History of Ideas series, this animated short uses comic book-style animations to explore one of philosophy’s most challenging and ubiquitous questions, examining the ‘free will defence’, which some believers in a good god have put forward to explain why we still suffer at each other’s hands.

Video by BBC Radio 4

Script: Nigel Warburton

Animation: Andrew Park

Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter
Aeon is not-for-profit
and free for everyone
Make a donation
Essay/
Meaning & the Good Life
Hume the humane

Hume believed we were nothing more or less than human: that’s why he’s the amiable, modest, generous philosopher we need now

Julian Baggini

Essay/
Values & Beliefs
The unreality of luck

Optimists believe in good luck, pessimists in bad. But if it’s all a matter of perspective, does luck even exist?

Steven Hales