Wikipedia 10K Redux by Reagle from Starling archive. Bugs abound!!!

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A ''theodicy'' is a theory about why God allows evil to exist in the world.  In other words, a theodicy contains speculations about God’s actual purposes in allowing evil to exist in the world.  In order to be a successful theodicy, the purposes stated must be wholly consistent with the notion that God is all-loving.  So what is called for is an explanation of the purposes that a loving God might have in permitting evil to exist.

The word is taken from the title of a work that supplied one theodicy, namely that this is TheBestOfAllPossibleWorlds: the ''TheoDicee'' by GottfriedLeibniz (q.v.).  See also TheProblemOfEvil.