Leibniz's Theodicy is one of the major theosophical works in history

Gottfried Leibniz was not only the creator of matanalysis, but also a great philosopher and theosophist. One of his concepts deals with what he defined as the “three kinds of evil”. 
This concept is the subject of the book Theodicy, which was written in the late 17th century and has become one of the most important texts on religion not only of that time, but of all time. Even now many philosophers and theologians oppose or agree with Leibniz. Basically, this concept of theosophy can be included in the top ten most influential books on Christianity and Western theology.

Theosophical explanations of evil

Leibniz explained the reason why evil exists is because it exists metaphysically. Metaphysics is a philosophical discipline whose goal, among other things, is to find and prove the underlying causes that determine physical reality, that is, why the world is the way it is. To be clearer, god is a metaphysical being, he has no physical embodiment. The soul is also a metaphysical thing, although the consequence of its existence is also physical things, e.g. a person's soul is poisoned by sin and it breaks someone else's thing (consequences in the physical world). 

According to Leibniz, just as the soul, god, exists metaphysically, unfortunately evil also exists, and thus it is impossible to get rid of evil. During life, the world educates us, god sends us trials, the environment and our original soul nurture good and evil in us. Suffering, though evil, is also created by God as a punishment or test. Evil can also emphasize for us the good itself. Only by recognizing evil and something bad can we understand the value of good. 

Another kind of evil is moral evil, and its cause is the existence of moral laws. There cannot be what is right without what is wrong.

Interpretations of «Theodicy»

The interpretation of Leibniz's Theodicy is an important aspect of philosophical thought, and each philosopher gives this text its own unique meaning. For example, French philosopher and theologian Pierre Bayle, who criticized many of Leibniz's ideas, views his theosophy in terms of the problem of evil. Bayle argued that Leibniz's theodicy, despite its attempts to justify God, faces insoluble contradictions, especially when it comes to the existence of evil in the world. He believed that Leibniz's rational explanations could not fully explain the suffering and injustice that existed in the world, and therefore Leibniz's theosophy needed a deeper revision.

Another philosopher, Immanuel Kant, also made a significant contribution to the interpretation of the Theodicy. He believed that Leibniz's Theosophy, despite its logical structure, could not definitively prove the existence of the best possible world. Kant believed that human reason has its limits, and therefore any theosophical system that seeks to fully explain the divine design inevitably encounters metaphysical difficulties. In his critique, Kant emphasized that faith and moral conviction play a key role in theosophy, in addition to purely rational analysis.

The modern philosopher John Hick offered his interpretation of Leibniz's Theodicy, viewing it through the lens of the process of theosophy. Hick developed the concept of “soul building” in which he argued that suffering and evil were necessary for the spiritual growth and moral development of humanity. He saw Leibniz's theosophy as an opportunity to explain the world as a process of continuous becoming and perfection, where each trial and difficulty contributes to the attainment of a higher purpose.

Neoclassical philosopher Charles Hartshorne also offered an original interpretation of Leibniz's Theodicy, integrating it into his philosophy of process. Hartshorne believed that Leibniz's theosophy could be understood through the dynamic process of the relationship between God and the world. He believed that Leibniz's theodicy reflects God's constant interaction and complicity in world processes, where evil and suffering are temporary phenomena within the larger context of divine design. Hartshorne emphasized that theosophy must take into account variability and evolution as fundamental aspects of reality.

Interpretations of the Theodicy in analytic philosophy

Interpretations of Leibniz's Theodicy by analytic philosophers emphasize the logical structure of the arguments and their coherence. Analytic philosophy, known for its commitment to clarity and precision, illuminates many aspects of Leibniz's theosophy in a new way.

Richard Swinburne, one of the most prominent analytic philosophers of religion, has focused on the probabilistic aspects of the Theodicy. In his interpretation, he uses probability theory to evaluate the plausibility of God's existence in light of the evil in the world. Swinburne argues that despite the existence of evil, the probability of the existence of an all-good God remains high because evil can serve a higher good such as moral and spiritual development. His theosophy is based on the idea that evil is a necessary condition for the attainment of the highest good.
The analytic philosopher Pieter van Inwagen also made a significant contribution to the interpretation of Leibniz's Theodicy. Van Inwagen develops the concept of “free will,” arguing that the existence of evil in the world is justified by the freedom of choice given by God to human beings. He believes that without free will, truly moral actions and attitudes are impossible. In the context of Leibniz's theosophy, van Inwagen emphasizes that free will, although leading to the possibility of evil, is a necessary condition for the existence of moral good.

Eleanor Stump, another prominent representative of analytic philosophy, offers her view of Leibniz's Theodicy through the lens of personal relationships and a theology of suffering. Stump believes that Leibniz's theosophy can be complemented by the idea that suffering plays a key role in the development of a personal relationship between God and human beings. She argues that through suffering people can come to a deeper understanding and intimacy with God, making evil an important aspect of theosophy.

Alvin Plantinga, another influential analytic philosopher, is known for his “freely satisfied theodicy.” He argues that the logical problem of evil is not an insurmountable obstacle to belief in God. Plantinga introduces the concept of “possible worlds,” similar to Leibniz, and argues that a world in which evil exists may be the best possible world if it includes free will. His theosophy is based on the idea that God could create a world in which humans are free, and this freedom inevitably leads to the possibility of evil.

These analytic philosophers, by examining Leibniz's “Theodicy,” attempt to find 
rational and logically sound explanations for the existence of evil in the world using modern philosophical tools and approaches. Their interpretations enrich Leibniz's “Theosophy”, emphasizing its relevance and significance for contemporary philosophical discussions.


The book “Theodicy” is a great way to learn and understand Western theology because the other great and most popular books on Western theology and Christianity are direct “ancestors” or “descendants” of “Theodicy.” In other words, the “Theodicy” itself builds much of its theory on earlier works, and later works build on the “Theodicy.” You may be confused by complicated terms like “metaphysics”, but as you can see, there is nothing complicated about them. We wish you good luck and interesting reading!


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