Illogic Primer Quotes Clippings Books and Bibliography Paper Trails Links Film

God, Freedom, and Evil

Alvin Plantinga (WB Eerdmans : Dec, 1997; orig. 1977), 121 pages.

God, Freedom and Evil is a short work, originally published in the mid-1970s, wherein Plantinga addresses issues pertaining to the existence of God. The book draws upon the author’s prior works, “The Nature of Necessity” and “God and Other Minds”. A large part of the book is dedicated the so-called “problem of evil”. That is, the question of whether or not the existence of evil is compatible with the existence of an all-knowing, all-powerful and wholly good God. In addressing this issue Plantinga focuses on the question of whether evil and God can logically co-exist – it is not a theodicy, which seeks to explain the existence of evil. With regard to the former more modest question, Plantinga argues persusasively that evil and God are not incompatible as had been previously argued. Written nearly 30 years ago, his argument has yet to be challenged in any significant way. Plantinga can rightfully take credit in helping this question largely disappear amongst serious thinkers. Arguments in this area now tend to be focused on the level of evil rather than its mere existence (i.e. is there too much evil to be consistent with the existence of God). In the remainder of the book Plantinga offers some brief thoughts on the classic arguments of natural theology. ~ An Reader

Table of Contents

    • Introduction
    • a. The Problem of Evil
    • 1. The Question: Why Does God Permit Evil?
    • 2. Does the Theist Contradict Himself?
    • 3. Can We Show That There Is No Inconsistency Here?
    • 4. The Free Will Defense
    • 5. Was It within God’s Power to Create Any Possible World He Pleased?
    • 6. Could God Have Created a World Containing Moral Good but No Moral Evil?
    • 7. Transworld Depravity and Essence
    • 8. The Free Will Defense Vindicated
    • 9. Is God’s Existence Compatible with the Amount of Moral Evil the World Contains?
    • 10. Is God’s Existence Compatible with Natural Evil?
    • 11. Does the Existence of Evil Make It Unlikely That God Exists?
    • b. Other Atheological Arguments
    • a. The Cosmological Argument
    • b. The Teleological Argument
    • c. The Ontological Argument
    • 1. Gaunilo’s Objection
    • 2. Anselm’s Reply
    • 3. Kant’s Objection
    • 4. The Irrelevance of Kant’s Objection
    • 5. The Argument Restated
    • 6. Its Fatal Flaw
    • 7. A Modal Version of the Argument
    • 8. A Flaw in the Ointment
    • 9. The Argument Restated
    • 10. The Argument Triumphant