Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 34, 2009

Eric Silverman
Pages 329-343

John Hick’s Soul-Making Theodicy and the Virtue of Love

John Hick attempts to justify evil’s existence by claiming it is necessary for the process of “soul-making,” which allows for the development of a more valuable type of moral character than a world without evil. Hick’s theodicy has ramifications for ethics as well as philosophy of religion. His theodicy commits him to a conception of virtue theory that significantly departs from the ethical theories held by many theists. An explication of Hick’s ethical theory and comparison with relevant aspects of Thomas Aquinas’s ethical theory shows how Hick’s ethical theory makes this departure. At stake in this paper is whether Hick’s ethical theory and account of the virtue of love make his theodicy less plausible.