Exploring Mormon Thought: Volume 4, God's Plan to Heal Evil
Available November 5, 2020 in hardcover, paperback, and ebook.
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The problem of evil is perhaps the greatest challenge to belief in a loving and personal God. The challenge naturally leads us to ask, “Why, God, has this happened to me, to my loved ones, to my enemies?” Or, to ask with the Psalmist, “Where art thou God?” Or, to perhaps echo Jesus, “My God, my God, why hast thou abandoned me?”
In this fourth volume of the Exploring Mormon Thought series, God's Plan to Heal Evil, Blake T. Ostler examines how others in the Christian and Mormon traditions have attempted to provide solutions to this challenge and the shortcomings they contain. Ostler then looks to Mormon theology to offer what he calls the Plan of Agape, or what is perhaps the most robust explanation of how belief in a loving, personal God can be had in light of all of the suffering that exists in the world.
Comprehensive Table of Contents:
WHAT WE LEARN FROM THE PROBLEM OF EVIL
The Problem of Evil: The Argument
Human Cognitive Limitations
The Problem of Moral Quietude for Skeptical Theism
The Problem of Moral Quietude and Meticulous Providence
THE NO MINIMUM EVIL DEFENSE
THE FREE WILL DEFENSE
THE LESS EVIL OPTIONS ARGUMENT
NATURAL LAW THEODICIES
God’s Relation to Natural Regularities in the Tradition of Creation Out of Nothing
Prospects of a Natural Law Theodicy in the Tradition of Ex Nihilo Creation
A MORMON FINITISTIC THEODICY
A MORMON PROCESS THEODICY
Precedents in Mormon Thought for a Process Theodicy
Basic Commitments of a Mormon Process Theodicy
An Outline of a Mormon Process Theodicy
Criticisms of Process Theodicy
A RELATIONAL AGAPE THEODICY
The Nature of God’s Providence
An Outline of the Agape Theodicy
THE PLAN OF AGAPE
Can Radical Evils Benefit the Victims as an Essential Feature of God’s Plan of Agape?
IS IT JUSTIFIABLE TO PERMIT CONSENT TO PERSONALITY-DESTROYING EVILS?
Is General Consent Sufficient or Must There Be Specific Consent to the Particular Evils That We Will Actually Experience?
How Can the Purpose of Life be to Become United with God When Most Never Hear of Christ in this Lifetime?
ARE RADICAL EVILS ESSENTIAL TO THE PLAN OF AGAPE?
God and Natural Evils
ATONEMENT IN MORMON THOUGHT
A. Desiderata for a Theory of Atonement
B. Does Mormonism Add Anything to the Penal-Substitution Theory?
C. Mormon Theories of Atonement
D. A Brief Summary of the Compassion Theory of Atonement
E. Response to Critiques of the Compassion Theory
HEALING EVIL: A CONCLUSION
SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR PROCESS THEODICY
Praise for the Exploring Mormon Thought series:
“These books are the most important works on Mormon theology ever written. There is nothing currently available that is even close to the rigor and sophistication of these volumes. B. H. Roberts and John A. Widtsoe may have had interesting insights in the early part of the twentieth century, but they had neither the temperament nor the training to give a rigorous defense of their views in dialogue with a wider stream of Christian theology. Sterling McMurrin and Truman Madsen had the capacity to engage Mormon theology at this level, but neither one did.” — FARMS Review, Neal A. Maxwell Institute, Brigham Young University
“This may be the most exciting volume to come out on Mormon theology ever. I eagerly await it as I think it will demonstrate a maturity of Mormon theology in that it will take ‘as given’ a presentation of the basics of Mormon thought. One hopes that other authors will present engagements with other major thinkers such as Heidegger, Gadamer, Derrida, or others. However clearly before one can move on to this more ‘mature’ level of discourse, the beginnings have to be established. While I'm sure other writers may take exception to some of Blake's positions in this first volume, he clearly is blazing the trail in an exciting way. Further it opens up to non-Mormons a clear and lucid presentation of Mormon theology that one can't get from most other writings.” — Clark Goble, Association for Mormon Letters“I hope that Ostler’s work finds a wide audience within the Church. Anyone who thinks seriously about the meaning of LDS doctrine should read it. It is a book that will take some time to unpack and some time for its influence to be felt.” — James McLachlan, BYU Studies
Other Volumes in the Exploring Mormon Thought Series:
About the Author:Blake T. Ostler is a practicing attorney specializing in educational law, employment law and intellectual property. He has published widely on Mormon philosophy in journals such as Religious Studies, International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion, Dialogue: Journal of Mormon Thought, BYU Studies, Element, and FARMS Review of Books.
More Information:255 pages
ISBN 978-1-58958-191-3 (hardcover); 978-1-58958-648-2 (paperback)