Works on the Problem of Evil

The problem of evil has been described as the “single greatest argument” against Christianity. The problem can be divided up into three categories: the logical problem of evil, the evidential problem of evil, and the emotional problem of evil. The emotional problem of evil can be found within the Bible itself in various pericopes (Job; Lamentations; Psalm 37, 49, and 73). Anyone who thinks that the argument has no merit or carries no weight runs the risk of seeming deluded. Frederick Buechner describes his emotional prompting for God to move and the despair he felt when God failed to act. He said:

Driving home from church one morning full of Christ, I thought, giddy in the head almost and if not speaking in tongues at least singing in tongues in some kind of witless, wordless psalm, I turned on the radio for the twelve o’clock news and heard how a 4-year-old had died that morning somewhere. The child had kept his parents awake all night with his crying and carrying on, and the parents to punish him filled the tub with scalding water and put him in. These parents filled the scalding water with their child to punish him and, scalding and scalded, he died crying out in tongues as I heard it reported on the radio on my way back from of all places church and prayed to almighty God to kick to pieces such a world or to kick to pieces Himself and His Son and His Holy Ghost world without end standing there by the side of that screaming tub and doing nothing while with his scrawny little buttocks bare, the hopeless little 4-year-old whistle, the child was lowered in his mother’s arms. I am acquainted with the reasons that theologians give and that I have given myself for why God does not, in the name of human freedom must not, by the very nature of things as he has himself established that nature cannot and will not, interfere in these sordid matters, but I prayed nonetheless for his interference.

The emotional strength of the argument cannot be ignored. Christian thinkers have worked to access and address the issue for the past two centuries. I hope the following works will help you as you work through these problems. The list below is mixed with both scholarly and pastoral works on the subject. It covers all three types of the problem of evil.

  • Adams, Marilyn McCord. Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1999. Print.
  • Adams, Marilyn McCord, and Robert Merrihew Adams. The Problem of Evil. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990. Print.
  • Ahern, M. B.. The Problem of Evil. New York: Schocken Books, 1971.
  • Alcorn, Randy C.. If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil. Colorado Springs, Colo.: Multnomah Books, 2009.
  •  Alston, William P. 1996. “Some (Temporarily) Final Thoughts on the Evidential Arguments from Evil,” in Daniel Howard-Snyder (ed.), The Evidential Argument from Evil. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, pp.311-32.
  • Aquinas, Thomas (Compendium Theologica, Summa Theologica)
  • Ascol, Thomas K. 2001. “Pastoral Implications of Open Theism,” in Douglas Wilson (ed.), Bound      Only Once: The Failure of Open Theism. Moscow, ID: Canon Press, pp.173-90.
  • Augustine (Against the Epistle of the Manicheans, The City of God, On the Nature of the Good, On true Religion)
  • Bergmann, Michael. Divine evil?: The Moral Character of the God of Abraham. Oxford: New York :, 2011.
  • Boyd, Gregory A.  Is God to Blame? Moving Beyond Pat Answers to the Problem of Evil. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press;, 2003.
  • Carson, D. A.. How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1990.
  • Craig, William Lane. On Guard: Defending your Faith with Reason and Precision. Colorado Springs, Colo.: David C. Cook, 2010.
  • Crenshaw, James L.. Defending God: Biblical Responses to the Problem of Evil. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • Davies, Brian. Thomas Aquinas on God and Evil. Oxford [England: Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • Davies, Brian. The Reality of God and the Problem of Evil. London: Continuum, 2006.
  • Dembski, William A.. The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World. Nashville, Tenn.: B & H Academic ;, 2009.
  • Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. New York: The Modern Library, 1929.
  • Erickson, Millard J.. Christian Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1985. 436-456.
  • Evans, G. R.. Augustine on Evil. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: Cambridge University Press, 1982.
  • Feinberg, John. “Divine Causality and Evil: Is There Anything Which God Does Not Do?” Christian Scholar’s Review 16 (1987): 394-402.
  • Feinberg, John S.. The Many Faces of Evil: Theological Systems and the Problems of Evil. Rev. and expanded ed. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2004.
  • Fitch, William. God and Evil: Studies in the Mystery of Suffering and Pain.. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967.
  • Flew, Antony. God, Freedom, and Immortality: A Critical Analysis. New York: Prometheus, 1984.
  • Geach, P. T.. Providence and Evil. Cambridge [Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1977. Print.
  • Geisler, Norman L.. If God, Why Evil?: A New Way to Think about the Question. Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany House Publishers, 2011.
  • Geisler, Norman L.. The Roots of Evil. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House, 1978.
  • Geivett, R. Douglas. Evil and the Evidence for God: The Challenge of John Hick’s Theodicy. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993.
  • Gentry, Kenneth L. Perilous Times: A Study in Eschatological Evil. San Francisco, CA: International Scholars, 1998.
  • Gerstner, John H. “The Problem of Pleasure.” In Primitive Theology: The Collected Primers of John H. Gerstner, edited by Don Kistler, 415-442. Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria, 1996.
  • Gerstner, John H. The Problem of Pleasure: Why Good Things Happen to Bad People. Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria, 2002.
  • Guinness, Os.. Unspeakable: Facing up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2005.
  • Guthrie, Nancy. Be Still, My Soul: Embracing God’s Purpose & Provision in Suffering . Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2010.
  • Hartley, Donald E. “Destined to Disobey? Isaiah 6:10 in John 12:37-41.” Calvin Theological Journal 44 (2009): 263-287.
  • Hasker, William. The Triumph of God over Evil: Theodicy for a World of Suffering. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2008.
  • Hick, John. Evil and the God of Love. 1st ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1966.
  • Hughes, Philip Edgcumbe. Hope for a Despairing World: The Christian Answer to the Problem of Evil. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1977.
  • Inbody, Tyron. The Transforming God: An Interpretation of Suffering and Evil. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997.
  • Inwagen, Peter. Christian Faith and the Problem of Evil. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 2004.
  • Inwagen, Peter. God, Knowledge & Mystery: Essays in Philosophical Theology. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995.
  • Inwagen, Peter. The Problem of Evil: The Gifford Lectures Delivered in the University of St. Andrews in 2003. Oxford: Clarendon Press ;, 2006.
  • Jones, E. Stanley. Christ and Human Suffering. New York: Abingdon, 1933.
  • King, Albion Roy. The Problem of Evil: Christian Concepts and the Book of Job.. New York: Ronald Press Co., 1952.
  • Kelly, Joseph F.. The Problem of Evil in the Western Tradition: From the Book of Job to Modern Genetics. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2002.
  • Kushner, Harold S., and Harold S. Kushner. When Bad Things Happen to Good People. New York: Schocken Books, 1981.
  • Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm, and Austin Farrer. Theodicy: Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man, and the Origin of Evil. La Salle, Ill.: Open Court, 1985.
  • Lewis, C.S.. A Grief Observed. New York: HarperCollins, 1961.
  • Lewis, C. S.. The Problem of Pain. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001.
  • Little, Bruce A.. God, Why this Evil?. Lanham, Md.: Hamilton Books, 2010.
  • Michaelsen, Johanna. The Beautiful Side of Evil. Eugene, Or.: Harvest House Publishers, 1982.
  • Morgan, Christopher W., and Robert A. Peterson. Suffering and the Goodness of God. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2008.
  • Murray, Michael J.. Reason for the Hope Within. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans, 1999.
  • Murray, Michael J… Nature Red in Tooth and Claw. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • Neiman, Susan. Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2002.
  • Peterson, Michael L.. God and Evil: An Introduction to the Issues. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1998.
  • Peterson, Michael L.. The Problem of Evil: Selected Readings. Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992.
  • Pike, Nelson. God and Evil: Readings on the Theological Problem of Evil.. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1964. Print.
  • Piper, John. God’s Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards with a Complete Text of The End of Which God Created the Worlds. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1998.
  • Piper, John, and Justin Taylor. Suffering and the Sovereignty of God. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2006.
  • Plantinga, Alvin. God, Freedom, and Evil. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 19771974.
  • Reichenbach, Bruce R.. Evil and a Good God. New York: Fordham University Press, 1982.
  • Rowe, William L.. God and the Problem of Evil. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2001.
  • Silvester, Hugh. Arguing with God: The Problem of Evil. Leicester: Inter-Varsity, 1996.
  • Snyder, Daniel. The Evidential Argument from Evil. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  • Snyder, Daniel. Inscrutable Evil and the Silence of God. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992. Print.
  • Sproul, R. C. Surprised by Suffering. Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust, 2009.
  • Stackhouse, John G.. Can God be trusted?: Faith and the Challenge of Evil. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.
  • Swinburne, Richard. Providence and the Problem of Evil. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.
  • Swinton, John. Raging with Compassion: Pastoral Responses to the Problem of Evil. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2007.
  • Tada, Joni Eareckson. A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2010.
  • Tada, Joni Eareckson, and Steve Estes. When God Weeps: Why our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997.
  • Wainwright, William J.. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • Waters, Larry J., and Roy B. Zuck. Why, O God?: Suffering and Disability in the Bible and the Church. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2011.
  • Williams, Thaddeus J. Love, Freedom and Evil: Does Authentic Love Require Free Will? Currents of Encounter. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2011
  • Wolterstorff, Nicholas. Lament for a Son. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1987. Print.
  • Wright, Christopher J. H.. The God I Don’t Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2008.
  • Wright, N. T.. Evil and The Justice of God. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Books, 2006.
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3 responses to “Works on the Problem of Evil

  1. Here is a few others:

    • Adams, Marilyn McCord. 1996. “Redemptive Suffering: A Christian Solution to the Problem of Evil,” in Robert Audi and William J. Wainwright (eds), Rationality, Religious Belief, and Moral Commitment. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, pp.248-67.
    • Adams, Marilyn McCord. 1999. Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.
    • Alston, William P. 1991. “The Inductive Argument from Evil and the Human Cognitive Condition,” Philosophical Perspectives 5: 29-67.
    • Alston, William P. 1996. “Some (Temporarily) Final Thoughts on the Evidential Arguments from Evil,” in Daniel Howard-Snyder (ed.), The Evidential Argument from Evil. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, pp.311-32.
    • Ascol, Thomas K. 2001. “Pastoral Implications of Open Theism,” in Douglas Wilson (ed.), Bound Only Once: The Failure of Open Theism. Moscow, ID: Canon Press, pp.173-90.
    • Basinger, David. 1996. The Case for Freewill Theism: A Philosophical Assessment. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
    • Blumenthal, David R. 1993. Facing the Abusing God: A Theology of Protest. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.
    • Boyd, Gregory A. 2000. God of the Possible: A Biblical Introduction to the Open View of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
    • Boyd, Gregory A. 2003. Is God to Blame? Moving Beyond Pat Answers to the Problem of Evil. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
    • Brown, Patterson. 1967. “God and the Good,” Religious Studies 2: 269-76.
    • Christlieb, Terry. 1992. “Which Theisms Face an Evidential Problem of Evil?” Faith and Philosophy 9: 45-64.
    • Chrzan, Keith. 1994. “Necessary Gratuitous Evil: An Oxymoron Revisited,” Faith and Philosophy 11: 134-37.
    • Davis, Stephen T. 1987. “What Good Are Theistic Proofs?” in Louis P. Pojman (ed.), Philosophy of Religion: An Anthology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, pp.80-88.
    • Draper, Paul. 1989. “Pain and Pleasure: An Evidential Problem for Theists,” Nous 23: 331-50.
    • Evans, C. Stephen. 1982. Philosophy of Religion: Thinking about Faith. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
    • Griffin, David Ray. 1976. God, Power, and Evil: A Process Theodicy. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press.
    • Griffin, David Ray. 1991. Evil Revisited: Responses and Reconsiderations. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
    • Hasker, William. 2004. Providence, Evil and the Openness of God. London: Routledge.
    • Hick, John. 1966. Evil and the God of Love, first edition. London: Macmillan.
    • Hick, John. 1968. “God, Evil and Mystery,” Religious Studies 3: 539-46.
    • Hick, John. 1977. Evil and the God of Love, second edition. New York: HarperCollins.
    • Hick, John. 1981. “An Irenaean Theodicy” and “Response to Critiques,” in Stephen T. Davis (ed.), Encountering Evil: Live Options in Theodicy, first edition. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, pp.39-52, 63-68.
    • Hick, John. 1990. Philosophy of Religion, fourth edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
    • Hoffman, Joshua, and Gary S. Rosenkrantz. 2002. The Divine Attributes. Oxford: Blackwell.
    • Howard-Snyder, Daniel, and Frances Howard-Snyder. 1999. “Is Theism Compatible with Gratuitous Evil?” American Philosophical Quarterly 36: 115-29.
    • Howard-Snyder, Daniel, and Paul K. Moser (eds). 2002. Divine Hiddenness: New Essays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • Jordan, Jeff. 2001. “Blocking Rowe’s New Evidential Argument from Evil,” Religious Studies 37: 435-49.
    • Mackie, J.L. 1955. “Evil and Omnipotence,” Mind 64: 200-212.
    • Mavrodes, George I. 1970. Belief in God: A Study in the Epistemology of Religion. New York: Random House.
    • McCloskey, H.J. 1960. “God and Evil,” Philosophical Quarterly 10: 97-114.
    • McNaughton, David. 1994. “The Problem of Evil: A Deontological Perspective,” in Alan G. Padgett (ed.), Reason and the Christian Religion: Essays in Honour of Richard Swinburne. Oxford: Clarendon Press, pp.329-51.
    • Moore, G.E. 1953. Some Main Problems of Philosophy. London: George Allen & Unwin.
    • Morris, Thomas V. 1987. Anselmian Explorations: Essays in Philosophical Theology. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.
    • Morris, Thomas V. 1991. Our Idea of God: An Introduction to Philosophical Theology. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
    • Nelson, Mark T. 1991. “Naturalistic Ethics and the Argument from Evil,” Faith and Philosophy 8: 368-79.
    • O’Connor, David. 1998. God and Inscrutable Evil: In Defense of Theism and Atheism. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
    • Otte, Richard. 2002. “Rowe’s Probabilistic Argument from Evil,” Faith and Philosophy 19: 147-71.
    • Pereboom, Derk. 2001. Living Without Free Will. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • Peterson, Michael L. 1982. Evil and the Christian God. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
    • Peterson, Michael L. 1998. God and Evil: An Introduction to the Issues. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
    • Pinnock, Clark H., Richard Rice, John Sanders, William Hasker, and David Basinger. 1994. The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
    • Plantinga, Alvin. 1974. The Nature of Necessity. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
    • Plantinga, Alvin. 1977. God, Freedom, and Evil. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
    • Quinn, Philip L., and Charles Taliaferro (eds). 1997. A Companion to Philosophy of Religion. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.
    • Reichenbach, Bruce R. 1976. “Natural Evils and Natural Law: A Theodicy for Natural Evils,” International Philosophical Quarterly 16: 179-96.
    • Reichenbach, Bruce R. 1982. Evil and a Good God. New York: Fordham University Press.
    • Reitan, Eric. 2000. “Does the Argument from Evil Assume a Consequentialist Morality?” Faith and Philosophy 17: 306-19.
    • Rogers, Katherin A. 2000. Perfect Being Theology. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
    • Roth, John K. 2001. “A Theodicy of Protest”, in Stephen T. Davis (ed.), Encountering Evil: Live Options in Theodicy, second edition. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, pp.1-20.
    • Rowe, William L. 1978. Philosophy of Religion: An Introduction, first edition. Encino, CA: Dickenson Publishing Company..
    • Rowe, William L. 1979. “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism,” American Philosophical Quarterly 16: 335-41.
    • Rowe, William L. 1986. “The Empirical Argument from Evil,” in Audi and Wainwright (eds), Rationality, Religious Belief, and Moral Commitment, pp.227-47.
    • Rowe, William L. 1988. “Evil and Theodicy,” Philosophical Topics 16: 119-32.
    • Rowe, William L. 1991. “Ruminations about Evil,” Philosophical Perspectives 5: 69-88.
    • Rowe, William L. 1995. “William Alston on the Problem of Evil,” in Thomas D. Senor (ed.), The Rationality of Belief and the Plurality of Faith: Essays in Honor of William P. Alston. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, pp.71-93.
    • Rowe, William L. 1996. “The Evidential Argument from Evil: A Second Look,” in Daniel Howard-Snyder (ed.), The Evidential Argument from Evil, pp.262-85.
    • Rowe, William L. 2001a. “Grounds for Belief Aside, Does Evil Make Atheism More Reasonable than Theism” in William Rowe (ed.), God and the Problem of Evil. Malden, MA: Blackwell, pp.124-37.
    • Rowe, William L. 2001b. “Reply to Howard-Snyder and Bergmann,” in Rowe (ed.), God and the Problem of Evil, pp.155-58.
    • Russell, Bruce. 1989. “The Persistent Problem of Evil,” Faith and Philosophy 6: 121-39.
    • Russell, Bruce. 1996. “Defenseless,” in Daniel Howard-Snyder (ed.), The Evidential Argument from Evil, pp.193-205.
    • Sanders, John. 1998. The God Who Risks: A Theology of Providence. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
    • Sennett, James F. 1993. “The Inscrutable Evil Defense Against the Inductive Argument from Evil,” Faith and Philosophy 10: 220-29.
    • Stump, Eleonore. 1997. “Review of Peter van Inwagen, God, Knowledge, and Mystery,” Philosophical Review 106: 464-67.
    • Swinburne, Richard. 1977. The Coherence of Theism. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
    • Swinburne, Richard. 1978. “Natural Evil,” American Philosophical Quarterly 15: 295-301.
    • Swinburne, Richard. 1987. “Knowledge from Experience, and the Problem of Evil,” in William J. Abraham and Steven W. Holtzer (eds), The Rationality of Religious Belief: Essays in Honour of Basil Mitchell. Oxford: Clarendon Press, pp.141-67.
    • Swinburne, Richard. 1991. The Existence of God, revised edition. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
    • Swinburne, Richard. 1998. Providence and the Problem of Evil. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
    • Tooley, Michael. 1980. “Alvin Plantinga and the Argument from Evil,” Australasian Journal of Philosophy 58: 360-76.
    • Trakakis, Nick. 2003. “What No Eye Has Seen: The Skeptical Theist Response to Rowe’s Evidential Argument from Evil,” Philo 6: 263-79.
    • Van Inwagen, Peter. 1988. “The Place of Chance in a World Sustained by God,” in Thomas V. Morris (ed.), Divine and Human Action. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, pp.211-35.
    • Ware, Bruce. 2000. God’s Lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open Theism. Wheaton, IL: Crossways Books.
    • Wykstra, Stephen J. 1984. “The Humean Obstacle to Evidential Arguments from Suffering: On Avoiding the Evils of ‘Appearance’,” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 16: 73-93.
    •Wykstra, Stephen J. 1986. “Rowe’s Noseeum Arguments from Evil,” in Daniel Howard-Snyder (ed.), The Evidential Argument from Evil, pp.126-50.

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