theodicy. The justification of God [theo + Greek, dike = justice] . Within a Christian cultural context, the philosophical attempt to vindicate the goodness and omnipotence of God in respect to the existence of evil. The existence, on the one hand, of a God who is all-powerful and, on the other hand, of a manifestly imperfect world naturally implies that God, who made this world, is not good. In traditional Christian theology two main arguments were used to rebut this inference. First, evil springs from man, not from God, for man was created free and used his freedom disastrously; Adam, not God, removed us all from a state of blessedness. For English readers the principal representation of this tradition is Milton. Secondly, God's creation would have been imperfect, that is, it would have fallen short, if he had not filled his universe with all the possible beings. This implies that both higher and lower creatures must exist; creation itself implies degrees of subordination and subordination itself implies degrees of evil, for that which is low is less good than that which is high. The technical term for a universe so filled is plenum. The idea survives vestigially in the common phrase, 'It takes all sorts to make a world'. The principal names in this second tradition are those of Augustine (354-430) and Leibniz (1646-1716). The notion of the plenum can indeed be traced back as far as Plato, but it flourishes most vigorously in the later seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The ordinary culture of the period was in any case enamoured of hierarchy. Poets and preachers delighted to explain how the universe was an immense, graduated system: plants were higher than stones, animals were higher than plants, human beings were higher than animals, angels higher than human beings. The effect of the specifically theological argument on this worldview was to invest it with a feeling of necessity; the great, analogical, ordered dance of nature turns into a chain of being, in which each littk is necessaty to the subsistence oithe whole. [from: A.D. Nuttall, Pope's 'Essay on Man'. London: George Allen. 1984].