In this examination of the questions posed by the problem of evil, John Feinberg addresses the intellectual and theological framework of theodicy. Beginning with a discussion of the logical problem of evil, he interacts with leading thinkers who have previously written on these themes.
“The free will defense presupposes a broad form of theism that can be called Modified Rationalism.” (Page 67)
“Instead, a charge of contradiction means that there is no possible way for anyone ever to harmonize these views, for they both affirm and deny the same thing at the same time and in the same way.” (Page 28)
“Gottfried Leibniz, unlike theonomists, held that everything happens in accord with the principle of sufficient reason. Thus, everything that is true of our universe is a necessary law; i.e., it had to be the way it is, for there is no adequate reason for it to be any other way than it is. For Leibniz, there is a certain order and logic inherent in things as they are which even God must obey; God dare not change a thing. Since there is a certain logic to the way things are, Leibniz believed that whatever is true of our world, or even possibly true, can be discovered by human reason apart from divine revelation.” (Pages 33–34)
“The problem with such views is that God’s power and love don’t obligate him to do every good thing possible. They only necessitate that whatever he does must be good, and that if he fails to do something good which he apparently should do, he must have a morally sufficient reason for not doing it.” (Page 229)
“Augustine begins On the Free Choice of the Will by asking whether God is the cause of evil. He answers that God isn’t. Instead, each of us is the cause of the evil we willfully commit.4 This answer tells us immediately that this defense incorporates a nonconsequentialist account of ethics.” (Pages 69–70)
Feinberg’s classic treatment of the problem of evil has been a standard treatment of this philosophical issue for some time. Coming from the Augustinian/Reformed tradition, it is a vigorous defense of both God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. This new edition makes an already great book even better, as Feinberg has been able to incorporate new material in his debates and conversation with people like Rowe and Plantinga. This is surely one of the most important books ever written on the problem of evil. Those who ignore it will find their own understanding of the issue impoverished, especially in light of the current discussion.
—Chad Owen Brand, associate professor of Christian theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
The Many Faces of Evil presents an excellent overview and response to the logical, evidential, and existential aspects of the problem. Those who expect insightful, decisive analyses from John Feinberg will not be disappointed. Crossway Books is also to be commended for its ongoing tradition of strong scholarly publications. This is a ‘must read’ text.
—Gary R. Habermas, distinguished research professor and chair, Philosophy Department, Liberty University
In this updated edition, Feinberg continues to press home the message that there are many versions of the problem of evil and that, in fact, there are many successful solutions to these versions as well. Feinberg gives a thorough presentation of the alternatives as well as of his own position. A valuable resource!
—Winfried Corduan, professor of philosophy and religion, Taylor University
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