The ‘‘Loving Parent’’ analogy
Received: 2 December 2016 / Accepted: 28 February 2017 / Published online: 11 March 2017
Ó Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017
Abstract A crucial part of William Rowe’s evidential argument from evil implies
that God, like a loving parent, would ensure that every suffering person would be
aware of his comforting presence. Rowe’s use of the ‘‘loving parent’’ analogy
however fails to survive scrutiny as it implies that God maximally loves all persons.
It is the argument of this paper that no one could maximally love every person; and
whatever variation there is in the divine love undercuts the claim that every suf-
fering person would be aware of the divine presence.
Keywords Problem of evil Á William Rowe Á Divine love Á Loving parent analogy Á
Much of the discussion on the evidential argument from evil concerns arguments
presented by William Rowe. Professor Rowe presented at least three versions of an
evidential argument from evil, with the earliest version the most discussed:
1: There exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient,
perfectly good being could have prevented without thereby preventing the
occurrence of any greater good. And, 2: an omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good
being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could
not do so without thereby preventing the occurrence of some greater good.
Therefore, 3: there does not exist an omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good being.
Although (1)–(3) is a deductive argument, the evidential aspect of it comes with
the support offered by Professor Rowe for premise (1): we know of innocent beings
suffering for no known justifying reason. Consider, for example, a fawn, trapped in
& Jeff Jordan
Department of Philosophy, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA
Rowe (1979); reprinted in Trakakis (2007).
Int J Philos Relig (2017) 82:15–28