......In the Spring I happened upon Tim Mawson’s recent paper in Int. J. Philos. Relig. (which was essentially the second chapter of his 2005 introduction to the philosophy of religion), and the theodicy—renamed the Odyssey theodicy—became the final part of my refutation of his arguments for the timelessness of God. I’d finished writing a response to Mawson’s paper (which was essentially this version) by the time of my talk in Aberdeen in July; and its rejection arrived in November, along with three reasons for its rejection, which were so weak as to be interesting.
......The first objection was to my use of the term ‘theodicy’ (as opposed to ‘defence’) on the grounds that, while the reviewer conceded that my speculations might be possible, she (or he) didn’t find them at all plausible. But when atheists find no (so-called) theodicy plausible, are all theodicies thereby misnamed? Hardly, and so (similarly) that she found my theodicy implausible hardly stops it being a theodicy. It should’ve been obvious that I’m not trying to demonstrate the logical compatibility of God’s existence and evil’s occurrence (which is surely trivial) but to maximise the explanatory power of Open theism, by trying to give a good account of why a perfect being would make an imperfect world.
......So her first objection amounted—at best (it may just have been incompetent, in view of the quality of the other two)—to no more than the claim that I’d failed to give a good account of that. As for why I had so failed, there were only the following two objections. Since philosophy ought to be more like amateur science than a professional game, I’d rather add that had she been able to ask me, I could’ve easily cleared up her confusions. Such is blind reviewing.
......Her second objection was that, while one of the aims of Open theism is to bring the philosophical picture of God closer to the Biblical picture, my theodicy would forfeit that aim. However, she said nothing about why it would. And having read the Bible inclusivistically (e.g. with metaphysical humility) and found no incompatibility with my theodicy, I don’t know which verses she was thinking of (or how). If the readers of this post have any ideas of what they might be, I’d be very interested in any possibilities. My theodicy could hardly take us further from the Biblical picture(s) than the doctrine of God’s timelessness has traditionally taken us.
......But what’s most apposite, from the point of view of reviewing a submission, is that even were this objection sound the first half of my submission would still have shown that a perfect person might be everlasting (contra Mawson) and indeed, would be (according to Mawson’s own methodology), while the final half would still have further increased the likelihood of Open theism.
......The final objection was basically a Straw Man fallacy, and was (in full) as follows.
There are several arguments in the literature that it is not possible that there be two omnipotent beings. The relevance of these arguments to the author’s project is obvious. But the soundness of these arguments is no where contested in the paper. If these arguments are sound, then God, as omnipotent, can be quite confident that there are no other unknown deities about.God presumably is omnipotent but, as I’d argued, it hardly follows that he could be fully justified in being completely sure that he is. And clearly, if God is only fairly confident (and fully justified in being so) then there is, for him, the epistemic possibility that grounds my theodicy. None of those arguments of mine were criticised by her, as though she was unaware of them (despite their obvious relevance). But a trivial consequence of them is that the arguments she mentioned are none of them relevant (not even the one published alongside Mawson).