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We sometimes wonder why both good and evil are able to exist in this world. In this lesson, we will look at the concept of Theodicy and how one philosopher attempted to explain why we need both good and evil.

Deism and Theodicy

Have you ever wondered about whether or not God really exists? And, if there is a God, how could that being allow for both good and evil to coexist in our world? Religions, such as Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, and even Islam, all have their own views on the existence of God, good, and evil.The philosophical concept of Theodicy came about in a time when science was beginning to overtake religion and new ideas were emerging about the origins of the Earth. One of the new creation philosophies was Deism. Deism was founded during the Age of Enlightenment in Europe (1620s to 1780s) and focused on the ideas of reason and nature.

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Deists believed all things had a creator, but the creator was not in control of the day to day acts of its creations. Deism served as a way to reconcile beliefs for people who believed in both Christianity and the scientific discoveries of the Enlightenment.Did you know that many philosophers and scientists of the Enlightenment era in Europe and America were Deists, including many of America’s Founding Fathers? Another known follower of the Deist philosophy was Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716), who is pictured below. Leibniz was a German mathematician and philosopher who, like Isaac Newton, came up with his own version of calculus.

Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz by Christoph Bernhard Francke, c. 1700
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