Faith and Philosophy

Volume 25, Issue 2, April 2008

Marilyn McCord Adams
Pages 123-140


In “Supralapsarianism, or ‘O Felix Culpa,’” Alvin Plantinga turns from defensive apologetics to the project of Christian explanation and offers a supralapsarian theodicy: the reason God made us in a world like this is that God wanted to create a world including the towering goods of Incarnation and atonement—goods which are appropriate only in worlds containing a sufficient amount of sin, suffering, and evil as well. Plantinga’s approach makes human agents and their sin, suffering and evil, instrumental means to the end of God’s cosmic aims. I press the objection that means/end conceptuality is inadequate to explain how God is loving and merciful (as opposed to abusive) towards human sinners and sufferers. Plantinga’s theodicy remains under-developed without an explanation of how Incarnation and atonement benefit them.