Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-vi

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-x

read more

Preface to the Second Edition

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xi-xii

Western culture continues to witness serious and sustained inquiry into the problem of evil as it relates to theistic belief. Since the first edition of this anthology appeared in 1992, the philosophical literature has virtually exploded. This second edition is designed to present the main positions and...

read more

Introduction: The Problem of Evil

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-14

The philosophical problem of evil is the challenge of reconciling belief in God with evil in the world. The theistic concept of God as supremely powerful, intelligent, and good makes the problem very difficult because such a being, it would seem, would make a much better world than this one. All...

Part I. Statements of the Problem

Explorations in Great Literature

read more

1. Job’s Complaint and the Whirlwind’s Answer From the Book of Job

From the Book of Job

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 17-24

An assumption underlying the Old Testament is that we live in a divinely governed, just universe. The prevailing orthodoxy was that God has structured the world so that the righteous and the wicked are rewarded or punished according to what they deserve—a simple principle of moral cause...

2. The Lisbon Earthquake

Voltaire

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 25-30

read more

3. Rebellion

Fyodor Dostoevsky

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 31-41

“I must admit one thing to you,” Ivan began. “I could never understand how one can love one’s neighbors. It’s just one’s neighbors, to my mind, that one can’t love, though one might love those at a distance. I once read somewhere of John the Merciful, a saint, that when a hungry, frozen beggar came...

Treatments in Traditional Philosophy

read more

4. No Evil Comes from God

St. Thomas Aquinas

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 42-49

We next inquire into the cause of evil. Concerning this there are three points of inquiry: (1) Whether good can be the cause of evil? (2) Whether the supreme good, God, is the cause of evil? (3) Whether there be any supreme evil, which is the first cause of all evils...

read more

5. Best of All Possible Worlds

Gottfried Leibniz

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 50-58

I grant the minor of this prosyllogism; for it must be confessed that there is evil in this world which God has made, and that it was possible to make a world without evil, or even not to create a world at all, for its creation has depended on the free will of God; but I deny the major, that is, the...

read more

6. Evil Makes Belief in God Unreasonable

David Hume

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 59-78

It is my opinion, I own, replied Demea, that each man feels, in a manner, the truth of religion within his own breast, and, from a consciousness of his imbecility and misery rather than from any reasoning, is led to seek protection from that Being on whom he and all nature is dependent. So anxious...

Part II. Versions of the Problem

The Logical Problem

read more

7. Evil and Omnipotence

J. L. Mackie

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 81-94

The traditional arguments for the existence of God have been fairly thoroughly criticized by philosophers. But the theologian can, if he wishes, accept this criticism. He can admit that no rational proof of God’s existence is possible. And he can still retain all that is essential to his position, by...

read more

8. The Free Will Defense

Alvin Plantinga

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 95-129

Is Mackie right? Does the theist contradict himself ? But we must ask a prior question: just what is being claimed here? That theistic belief contains an inconsistency or contradiction, of course. But what, exactly, is an inconsistency or contradiction? There are several kinds. An explicit contradiction...

The Evidential Problem

read more

9. Evil, Evidence, and Skeptical Theism—A Debate

William L. Rowe, Daniel Howard-Snyder, and Michael Bergmann

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 130-165

The specific question assigned to us for discussion is this: Grounds for belief in God aside, do the evils in our world make atheistic belief more reasonable than theistic belief? The initial clause in this question is important. For it is one thing to argue that the evils in our world provide such compelling...

read more

10. Christian Theism and the Evidential Argument from Evil

Michael L. Peterson

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 166-192

For several decades, discussions of the “inductive” or “probabilistic” or “evidential” argument from evil have been major fare in philosophy of religion. The target of this type of argument is standard theism—the view that there exists an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being who created...

The Existential Problem

read more

11. On Regretting the Evils of This World

William Hasker

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 193-209

I wish to address what is sometimes termed the “existential” form of the Problem of Evil—the form in which theism is questioned and/or rejected on the basis of moral protest, indignation, and outrage at the evils of this world. In the first section of the paper I shall ask the reader to participate in...

read more

12. Redemptive Suffering as a Christian Solution to the Problem of Evil

Marilyn M. Adams

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 210-232

Christians believe that God is effectively dealing with the problem of evil through the cross—primarily the cross of Christ and secondarily their own. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus follows the prediction of his own martyrdom (Luke 9:22) with a charge to his disciples: “If any man would come after...

Part III. Perspectives in Theodicy

Augustinian Theodicy

read more

13. A Good Creation’s Capacity for Evil

St. Augustine

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 235-241

It is with reference to the nature, then, and not to the wickedness of the devil, that we are to understand these words, “This is the beginning of God’s handiwork”;1 for, without doubt, wickedness can be a flaw or vice only where the nature previously was not vitiated. Vice, too, is so contrary to nature that...

read more

14. Augustine and the Denial of Genuine Evil

David Ray Griffin

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 242-261

Augustine repeatedly affirmed God’s omnipotence and goodness. And he was acutely aware of the problem of evil that is occasioned by this combination of divine attributes and the apparent existence of evil. In his early Christian writings against the Manichaeans, he stressed that God created...

Irenaean Theodicy

read more

15. Soul-Making Theodicy

John Hick

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 262-273

Can a world in which sadistic cruelty often has its way, in which selfish lovelessness is so rife, in which there are debilitating diseases, crippling accidents, bodily and mental decay, insanity, and all manner of natural disasters be regarded as the expression of infinite creative goodness? Certainly all...

read more

16. Paradox and Promise in Hick’s Theodicy

William L. Rowe

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 274-287

John Hick has written extensively concerning the problem of evil.1 His writings on the problem are set within two general restraints. First, he holds constant the conception of God as omnipotent and perfectly good. Hick does not pursue the question of whether the facts about evil necessitate...

Process Theodicy

read more

17. Divine Persuasion Rather than Coercion

David Ray Griffin

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 288-300

This is a [treatment of ] the theoretical problem of evil as it appears in the Western philosophical and theological traditions. . . . [It is] written from the perspective of the “process” philosophical and theological thought inspired primarily by Alfred North Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne...

read more

18. Evil, Omnipotence, and Process Thought

Bruce R. Reichenbach

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 301-326

Strategically placed at the core of the problem of evil—of how suffering, dysfunction, the unnecessary triviality of unrewarding experiences, and discord1 can exist in the presence of a God who has perfect power, knowledge, and goodness—lies an understanding of what God is able to do and...

Openness Theodicy

read more

19. God, Evil, and Relational Risk

John Sanders

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 327-343

Open theism is a view of the divine nature and the God-world relationship that arises out of what may be called the free will tradition of Christian thought. Although this theology of openness is not new in most respects compared to traditional Christian theism, it contains particular emphases...

read more

20. God’s Providence Takes No Risks

Paul Helm

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 344-362

This essay is a contribution to theodicy—the justifying of God’s ways to humankind—in the face of the many evils of our world. But it is offered as a modest contribution to such a project, in fact, a very modest contribution.
One kind of evil consists of the personal evils that occur in a life which...

Felix Culpa Theodicy

read more

21. Supralapsarianism, or “O Felix Culpa”

Alvin Plantinga

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 363-389

Among the tenets of a certain sort of Calvinism is supralapsarianism, a claim about the order of the decrees of God. God has decreed to permit humanity to fall into sin; he has also decreed to save at least some of the fallen.1 Does the former decree precede or succeed the latter? According to supralapsarianism...

read more

22. Are Sin and Evil Necessary for a Really Good World?

Kevin Diller

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 390-410

In the words of Adam, who has been given by the Archangel a view of God’s redemptive plans, this is the locus classicus of Milton’s expression of the Felix Culpa, the fortunate fall or happy sin, in response to which God brings about a greater paradise than the one lost—a...

Part IV. Issues in the Problem of Evil

God and the Best Possible World

read more

23. Must God Create the Best?

Robert M. Adams

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 413-427

The best world that an omnipotent God could create is the best of all logically possible worlds. Accordingly, it has been supposed that if the actual world was created by an omnipotent, perfectly good God, it must be the best of all logically possible worlds...

read more

24. God, Moral Perfection, and Possible Worlds

Philip L. Quinn

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 428-443

According to the theistic religions, human persons are called upon to worship God. Theists typically hold that reverence and adoration are the appropriate human responses to him. This view presupposes that God deserves or merits worship. If a being were not worthy of worship, then surely...

Natural Evils and Natural Laws

read more

25. Natural Evils and Moral Choice

Richard Swinburne

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 444-458

The problem of evil is the difficulty raised for theism, the belief that there is a God, by the existence of evil. God is, by definition, omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good. He is omnipotent in the sense, roughly, that he can do whatever it is logically possible to do. He is omniscient in the sense...

read more

26. Knowledge, Freedom, and the Problem of Evil

Eleonore Stump

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 459-472

In his book The Existence of God,1 Richard Swinburne offers a sophisticated, promising solution to the problem of evil. Why is there evil in the world if there is an omniscient, omnipotent, perfectly good God? If God is perfectly good, he wants to prevent all the evil he knows about and is able to prevent...

Gratuitous Evil and God’s Relation to the World

read more

27. God and Gratuitous Evil

William Hasker

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 473-487

If a good God allowed evil in a world he had created, how much evil would he allow? A little? A lot? As much as exists in our actual world? How could we tell? A widely accepted answer to this question is as follows: God would allow just those evils which are conducive to a “greater good,” some good...

read more

28. Theism and Gratuitous Natural Evil

David O’Connor

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 488-504

Gratuitous evil is incompatible with the existence of God. Until recently this idea was assumed to be too obvious to need justification. But William Hasker, Michael L. Peterson, George N. Schlesinger, and Peter van Inwagen have independently provided good reason to take a second look...

Skeptical Theist Defense

read more

29. Skeptical Theism and Rowe’s New Evidential Argument from Evil

Michael Bergmann

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 505-529

Recently, however, Rowe has concluded that his attempt to defend the inductive inference from P to Q in the above argument is “weak” and “inadequate.” It is inadequate, he says, because its adequacy requires what he hasn’t given us, namely, a “reason to think it likely that the goods we know...

read more

30. The Skeptical Theist Response to Rowe’s Evidential Argument from Evil

Nick Trakakis

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 530-552

For over two decades William Rowe has been articulating, defending, and refining the evidential argument from evil—the argument that the presence of evil in the world inductively supports or makes likely the claim that the theistic God does not exist. His argument has received much attention...

Theism, Naturalism, and the Explanation of Pain and Pleasure

read more

31. The Distribution of Pain and Pleasure as Evidence for Atheism

Paul Draper

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 553-575

I will argue in this paper that our knowledge about pain and pleasure creates an epistemic problem for theists. The problem is not that some proposition about pain and pleasure can be shown to be both true and logically inconsistent with theism. Rather, the problem is evidential. A statement...

read more

32. The Problem of Evil, the Problem of Air, and the Problem of Silence

Peter van Inwagen

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 576-608

It used to be widely held that evil—which for present purposes we may identify with undeserved pain and suffering—was incompatible with the existence of God: that no possible world contained both God and evil. So far as I am able to tell, this thesis is no longer defended. But arguments for...