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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The problem of evil - solved (if dryly)., 28 Mar 2009
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This review is from: God, Freedom and Evil (Paperback)
If you are looking for a thorough, logical, philosophical explanation of various reasons a good God can permit evil, this is it. It is well explained, and while full of complex logic, does explain it all for the philosophical beginner. This is an absolutely seminal work which has changed the way philosophy approaches this problem, and indeed has convinced many philosophers that it is entirely logical to believe in a good God who yet permits evil. It shows that belief in God is a credible, logical, sensible position.

It does takes a long time and a lot of attention to read - it is not fast-paced!

It does a good job of showing various ways in which belief in God is a credible, logical, sensible position.

That said, if you are looking for an emotionally satisfying explanation of why God permits evil - if you want more than a bare explantion - you will not be satisfied. This is a book based on logic, and doesn't ever engage with the sheer awfulness of evil, or give you the impression that these explanations are really meant to be lived. So it isn't pastoral, nor will the answers here help you bear evil and suffering. But it is wonderful to have such a powerful demonstration of Christian belief all the same.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Apr 2010 17:15:18 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Jul 2010 13:37:09 BDT
A. Bolos says:
Three stars? Really? You state that Plantinga does not present an "emotionally satisfying explanation of why God permits evil". Why would you expect him to? Plantinga is attempting to answer the *logical problem of evil* and nothing else. This was one of the major problems in philosophy of religion. And until Plantinga, this (the logical problem) was one of the main arguments used against the coherence of traditional theism. Because of the book (or the longer, more academic version "The Nature of Necessity") philosophers have all but stopped discussing the logical problem of evil. This rarely rarely happens in philosophy which is a testament to Plantinga and his book. Buy it, read it and spread the word. It is not logically inconsistent to believe that a good God would allow evil.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jul 2010 19:25:22 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 21 Oct 2011 08:23:45 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Sep 2010 21:26:06 BDT
B. T. Martin says:
Out of curiosity, did you read the book?
I've just ordered it so no, I haven't read it yet before you ask!

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Aug 2011 15:56:59 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Aug 2011 15:57:48 BDT
A. P. Wilson says:
Pangaea, if you read the book you will indeed see that by applying a rigorous philosophical argument to the "problem of evil" there is no contradiction between God being all good and all powerful and yet allowing this particular world to exist. Being all powerful simply does not mean that God has the power to do anything that is logically impossible. So for example, God not being able to create a pair of parallel lines that meet in no way undermines his omnipotence it just says that he is not able to bring about a logically impossible state of affairs. Plantinga elegantly shows that it is not logically possible for God to create a world with the potential for moral goodness without the concomitant existence of moral evil. The indoctrination of atheists may well insultate them from accepting this conclusion but that doesn't stop it being true.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Apr 2012 00:02:10 BDT
Hi Pangea

As someone who follows several online discussion groups about Christianity, God, etc. I have considerable empathy with your review which I found very useful.

The fact is that for many people - as far as I can tell - the need for an "emotionally satisfying" answer to this problem is very real for many atheists, and for many Christians who are re-assessing their faith.

Personally I am entirely comfortable with Plantinga's approach. But then, I've been a Christian for over three decades, I nursed my mother through terminal cancer, I've had problems in my own life, and I recently "cared for" another relative who had a cancer on the spine which was within days of turning them into a quadraplegic before the doctors finally recognized what they were seeing on the X-rays. (That person is now completely clear of cancer, though due to the position of the growrth it is taking quite a time to regain full use of their arms.)

In short, if I hadn't gained an emotionally satisfying view of "evil" by now I don't think it would ever have happened at all.

So thank you for your review. And after all, the person who imagines they can please all of the people all of the time is .... a twit!


Posted on 24 May 2013 18:01:09 BDT
Dean, London says:
The problem of evil is not, and never has been, the problem of why a good, all powerful God would allow evil. If this is how the problem is presented, Plantinga has indeed found a logical solution, based essentially on the free will defence. Those who are inclined to think that the only evil in the world is that caused by human beings exercising free will may be convinced by this argument. But there is a more fundamental problem which is far more threatening to religious belief of any kind. Granted that there must be a first cause of all that exists in nature (as Aristotle argued), and that this first cause must exist necessarily (because there is nothing powerful enough to take away its being), what reason do we have to believe that this necessary being is morally good in the sense human beings understand that term? Why can't the necessary being people call God be utterly indifferent to the fate of finite beings? This is the real problem to which unfortunately there appears to be no theological or philosophical solution.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jul 2013 11:59:20 BDT
I'm sorry to involve a very Christian concept here, but I really do think that the answer to your question is the "Trinity". Assuming that God really is a relationship in itself, explains why God relates to other beings and also the "goodness". Just my five cents..
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