Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
PhilosophyPart of Humanities

God and Evil - Malebranche

It sounds like you’re a committed Leibnizian rational theodicist!

Nicolas Malebranche
Nicolas Malebranche

Leibniz was impressed by the idea that the modern scientific method, which was really only being properly invented in his day, could uncovered the rationality of God’s creation. That rationality built into nature, which we slowly realise through science, is all we need to be reassured that the world was created according to some kind of well ordered plan.

He liked the idea of a fellow rationalist philosopher Nicolas Malebranche (1638-1715) who said that investigation into the laws of nature is a kind of “natural prayer”. It brings us closer to God, strengthens our belief in God’s wisdom, and makes us love God all the more.

However, it has seemed to many other philosophers that order isn't everything, and the world could be overall better by containing less pointless suffering.


To learn more about this topic, you might like to read Susan Neiman’s Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy, or the online Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy entry on ‘The Problem of Evil’.
At Southampton, you can learn about the problem of evil as well as the nature of God, faith and belief as part of the first-year module Faith and Reason. You can also learn more about famous philosophers interested in question of evil, suffering, and religion on modules such as Existentialism and its Origins, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard. Southampton lecturers with expertise in these topics include Dr. Genia Schönbaumsfeld, Prof. Chris Janaway, Prof. Aaron Ridley, Dr. Alex Gregory, and Dr. David Woods.


Back to the start of this puzzleBack to the very start
Privacy Settings