Critical Review of Eleonore Stump's Wandering in Darkness: Narrative and the problem of suffering

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In her widely acclaimed Wandering in Darkness, Stump (2010) argues that the suffering of mentally fully functioning adult humans can be explained by God's love for them, a love which consists of a twofold desire for their good and for union with them. This love, then, constitutes a morally sufficient reason for God's allowing suffering, even horrendous suffering, and so serves either as a defence against the evidential problem of evil or a theodicy, depending on whether one takes the conditions described in the account to be either actual or merely possible.1 (Adopting the weaker assumption, we will take Stump's account to be a defence, though nothing hangs on this.) In what follows, we will summarize Stump's defence, what we take to be the strongest objection to it, namely, Draper's (2011) objection concerning the role of consent in suffering for some future benefit, and how she might reply to it.2 We will conclude with what we take to be the lessons of the debate, namely, lessons concerning the processes of justification and of sanctification and their limits.547
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-558
Number of pages12
JournalPhilosophical quarterly
Issue number260
Early online date4 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


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