1. What is Johnson’s response to these theist claims? (1) God permits evil because people have free will, (2) God’s intervention to prevent evil would make people dependent on outside power, and (3) God’s interference in disasters would destroy moral urgency. Are Johnson’s replies plausible?
2. How does Johnson answer theists who say that “in a world without suffering there would be no occasion for the production of such virtues as courage, sympathy, and the like”? Do you think it would be possible for an omnipotent God to produce virtues in people without permitting as much suffering as exists now in the world? Why or why not?
3. Do you think that evil is a necessary by-product of the laws of nature and that we cannot expect God to regularly bend the laws just to ease suffering? What does Johnson say about this contention? Do you agree?
4. According to Johnson, what would be the consequences of supposing that we cannot judge God for the evil he permits because he has a “higher morality” by which his actions must be measured?