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Christian Faith and the Problem of Evil

Peter Van Inwagen, ed. (Eerdmans: Oct 1, 2004), 332 pages.

The problem of evil has challenged religious minds and hearts throughout the ages. Just how can the presence of suffering, tragedy, and wrongdoing be squared with the all-powerful, all-loving God of faith? This book gathers some of the best, most meaningful recent reflections on the problem of evil, with contributions by shrewd thinkers in the areas of philosophy, theology, literature, linguistics, and sociology. In addition to bringing new insights to the old problem of evil, Christian Faith and the Problem of Evil is set apart from similar volumes by the often-novel approaches its authors take to the subject. Many of the essays pursue classic lines in speculative philosophy, but others address the problem of evil through biblical criticism, the thought of Simone Weil, and the faith of battered women and African American slaves. As a result, this book will interest a wide range of readers. Contributors: Paul Draper, Eduardo J. Echeverria, Laura Waddell Ekstrom, Stephen Griffith, Del Kiernan-Lewis, Richard T. McClelland, Barbara Omolade, Richard Otte, Alvin Plantinga, John R. Schneider, Robert Stanley, Peter van Inwagen, Carol Winkelmann, and Keith D. Wyma.

Table of Contents

    • Introduction
    • Supralapsarianism, or ‘O Felix Culpa’    1
    • Probability and Draper’s evidential argument from evil    26
    • More pain and pleasure : a reply to Otte    41
    • The argument from evil    55
    • The problem of evil : moral constraints and philosophical commitments    74
    • The problem of pomegranates    85
    • Suffering as religious experience    95
    • The gospel of redemptive suffering : reflections on John Paul II’s Salvifici Doloris    111
    • "In the Bible, it can be so harsh!" : battered women, suffering, and the problem of evil    148
    • Normal narcissism and the need for theodicy    185
    • God, evil, and the thought of Simone Weil    207
    • Seeing God where the wild things are : an essay on the defeat of horrendous evil    226
    • Innocent sinfulness, guilty sin : original sin and divine justice    263
    • Faith confronts evil    277