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God, Freedom, and Evil

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  418 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
In his discussion of natural theology (arguments to prove the existence of God) and natural atheology (arguments for the falsehood of theistic belief) Plantinga focuses on two of the traditional arguments: the ontological argument as an example of natural theology, and the problem of evil as the most important representative of natural atheology. Accessible to serious gene ...more
Paperback, 122 pages
Published March 21st 1989 by Eerdmans (first published November 30th 1973)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,163)
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Winston
May 24, 2013 Winston rated it did not like it
The Problem of Evil is an insurmountable one for Christians (and all other theists who believe in a perfectly loving, all-powerful and all-knowing god). There have been intense and motivated efforts over the past two millennia to defend such a position rationally, and they have all failed. Miserably. Utterly. And in many cases, dishonestly.

Some approached involve invoking an unknown "greater good" defense (which throws god's omnipotence under the bus. An omnipotent deity could simply actualise a
...more
Lee Harmon
Jul 27, 2012 Lee Harmon rated it really liked it
How do I rate a book that will bore most of you but titillate the rest? Half way between two stars and six stars, I guess.

I’m secure in my status as a religion nerd, so I’ll admit I loved it. This is an introduction to philosophical apologetics, a short little book that can be read in a couple hours, and understood in five or six hours. Philosophical reflection, Plantinga assures us, is not that different than just thinking hard. It’s is an excursion into the joy of logic … for the fun of it, no
...more
Avel Deleon
Aug 15, 2014 Avel Deleon rated it really liked it
Alvin Plantinga is a first class philosopher. This book analysis the argument of evil, goes through the cosmological argument, teleological argument, and the ontological argument. Alvin begins by assessing anthology( mainly support by the evil "natural" and personal evil" in the world) and corresponding to this theodicy( Perhaps, God has a very good reason, but that reason is too complicated to understand. Or perhaps he has not revealed it for some other reason.) This are unsatisfactory answers. ...more
Jacob Aitken
Plantinga, summarizing his earlier work in The Nature of Necessity and God and Other Minds, demonstrates that the theist does not face a contradiction in a) asserting God exists and b) evil exists. In this work Plantinga also deals with essences, persons, possible worlds, and logical analysis. While Plantinga uses rigorous logic, this book is well-written and and fairly short.

Is There a Logical Contradiction?

If there is a contradiction between the following three premises, the atheologian has ye
...more
Armin
Jan 18, 2016 Armin rated it really liked it
To summarize, according to Plantinga, 1) the problem of evil does not logically contradict the existence of God, and 2) with a modified version of Anselm's ontological reasoning, it seems we cannot prove the existence of God, but at least we can show its logical possibility. So not much for or against either side of the argument, then? I could say: well, I new *that* before! But I think that wouldn't do justice to this book.

What I like about the analytical approach to philosophy of religion is
...more
Seth Pierce
May 01, 2014 Seth Pierce rated it liked it
I really wanted to get more out of this than I did. The benefit for me was mostly being introduced to the language of moral philosophy and logicians. Otherwise I found the book to be very hard to follow in numerous places, due largely to the amount of letters/numbers representing various premises.

As is mentioned in other reviews, one has to keep turning back and forth to remember what exactly is being discussed, and in many cases things are written to where it can feel like the author is talkin
...more
Wyatt Houtz
Feb 12, 2013 Wyatt Houtz rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
disappointing. arminian theodicy
John
Essential reading--one of the classics in modern philosophy of religion. Plantinga's presentation of the "free will defense" against the problem of evil takes up the first part of the book. Contra philosophers like J.L. Mackie and numerous others who have argued that the existence of evil is logically incompatible with the creation of the world by an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent God, Plantinga forcefully argues for the logical possibility that such a God could not have created a wo ...more
Donovan Richards
Dec 14, 2011 Donovan Richards rated it liked it
The Problem of Evil

Suppose that God, as most Christians believe, is wholly good, all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present. Given this definition, God ought to hate evil and possess the power to eradicate it from the universe. We know, however, that evil does exist. Logically, therefore, we must conclude that God does not exist.

This proof, known as the problem of evil, is logically valid, meaning that its premises lead to its conclusion. In order to prove the existence of God, then, one must p
...more
David
Sep 05, 2011 David rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent book!!! This tiny book took me about a month to read because it says a lot in a very short amount of time. This book is not for the feint hearted as it reads like a philosophy book complete with conditional logical statements. Supposedly this is the "easy" version in comparison to Platinga's other books. :) But it you are able to spend the time on it you will learn a lot.

This book primarily deals with the following question: "If God is omniscient, omnipotent, and wholly go
...more
Michael
Apr 30, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
Another college book down on the way to may goal of reading all (readable) books I already own.
Honestly, I should have read Anselm's Proslogion first, since Plantinga is all about it. I'll read it next at least.

What I like about Plantinga is that he doesn't truly attempt to prove theism, but is content with showing its possibility. This is important in responding to "atheology," which basically dismisses the existence of God with the impossibility of the idea.

After spending a good deal of time s
...more
Stephen Griffin
Oct 03, 2010 Stephen Griffin rated it really liked it
Excellent presentation of both the Free Will Defense for the problem of evil and the Ontological argument for the existence of God. The book begins by dealing the with the question if an all-good, omniscient and omnipotent God exists then why does evil exist. Hume presented this question arguing that if God possesses these qualities then evil would not exist. Plantinga then briefly discusses the cosmological argument and teleological argument which he says are insufficient. He then present a det ...more
Jacob O'connor
Jan 02, 2015 Jacob O'connor rated it really liked it
God exists. It's as obvious as the nose on our faces. Fish might take the water for granted, but without it they can't even be. But if it's so obvious, where is that slam-dunk argument that makes it impossible for an athiest to gainsay?

I believe Plantinga has found just such an argument. Rather, he's reasoned through Anselm's Ontological Argument, and he's formed a version that forces us off the fence. Either God exists necessarily, or He necessarily doesn't exist.

Now the athiest has to take t
...more
John Martindale
I really enjoyed it at first, but eventually it became pretty difficult to follow for there was so many premises and parts to the argument, one has to remember what As, Es, Ss and Ws stand for, and what part of the argument(2)(43) and (56') stand for, like here is a quote from page 53, "(2) S' is included in W but includes neither E's instantiation's prefroming A nor E's instantiation's refraining from A and (3) if S' were actual, then the instantiation of E would have gone wrong with respect to ...more
Adeel Qureshi
Jan 27, 2014 Adeel Qureshi rated it really liked it
An interesting read, I read this in one sitting. For those who are interested in these topics this is a must read. The section concerning evil was very well written. Though difficult in some places it does require one to definitely re - read this. I would recommend this to any serious reader of natural theology.
Jason
May 09, 2014 Jason rated it it was ok
This book is difficult to understand and I often felt like the trouble to following the logic wasn't worth the reward. Interesting, but unsatisfying.
Matthew
Sep 02, 2014 Matthew rated it it was amazing
In this book, Alvin Plantinga takes the time to carefully analyze several theistic arguments for the existence of God. Each one is meticulously described. This book is not for the laity, however. It is a tough read if one is not familiar with philosophy and the rules of logic. Nonetheless, it is a great read that will strengthen your arguments for the Christian faith. I was especially intrigued by Plantinga's Ontological Argument. I had never heard such a grand explanation and defense of this ar ...more
Steven
Feb 05, 2014 Steven rated it really liked it
Good stuff. (I really don't like his epistemology, but Plantinga's still a genius.)
Tara Lnberg
Jan 26, 2015 Tara Lnberg rated it liked it
Very technical, yet does the job well. What job? Good question.
Russell
Oct 18, 2008 Russell rated it it was ok
Plantiga built a very clever logical argument here, but there are flaws (e.g., certain assumptions about things like free will). But cleverness aside, it's ultimately just a castle without a foundation. By his own admission at the end of the book, nothing in these arguments prove that god exists. Why go to all this trouble defending someone whose very existance completely lacks evidence? Christian reviewers who think this book offers some kind of blow to atheism are just engaging in wishful thin ...more
Ben Nasmith
May 30, 2012 Ben Nasmith rated it it was amazing
Very interesting yet concise book. Clearly articulated views. The author demonstrates that God's existence and attributes are logically compatible with the existence of evil. This is a modest discovery that plays an important role of forcing the objector to switch to probabilistic arguments against God's existence in light of evil. There will be no purely logical contradition.
Prof. Branco
Jun 26, 2014 Prof. Branco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lidos-em-2014
Em primeiro lugar desejo ressaltar minha grande felicidade ao descobri que livros de grandes pensadores como William Lane Craig e Alvin Platinga começam a surgir em língua portuguesa. Sem dúvida que Alvin Platinga tem revolucionado a filosofia com sua perspectiva teísta. Recomendo o livro vivamente!
Jimmy
Aug 19, 2013 Jimmy rated it it was amazing
This book made me understand why philosophy might be a worthwhile subject to study. He gives a great, philosophical working out of how God is good and sovereign, how people are free, and how evil fits into the whole thing. He is more on the Arminian side of things and his arguments are solid.
Joel McDaniel
Mar 29, 2007 Joel McDaniel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: christian thinkers
Shelves: owned, philosophy
One of Plantinga's early works, but it shows his ingenuity in crafting wonderful arguments against the so-called problem of evil. Plantinga lays waste to many of the preconceived ideas that agnostic and atheistic thought have spewed since David Hume wandered the Earth. Brilliant.
Terence
Dec 13, 2012 Terence rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-read
This book isn't for everyone. I read it in conjunction with The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis, to research evil and suffering. It made some great points but many times it gets into academic logic arguments that almost converts the faith argument into a calculus formula.

Jonathan
Dec 31, 2009 Jonathan rated it really liked it
Analytical look at the problem of evil from the deductive standpoint that God and the coexistence of evil are not incompatible. The classic FW Defense is used a chapter on the Ontological argument make this a good but challenging read.
Jelle de Jong
toch wel sterk verhaal dat een omnipotent en goed God niet logisch inconsistent is. Vraag is hoeveel dat helpt in een discussie. Zelfde geldt voor de bespreking van het Gods bewijs van Anselmus (ontologisch godsbewijs); 0
Mad_d_ind
Jul 29, 2007 Mad_d_ind rated it really liked it
The best book to explain the relationship of God, human freedom, and the problem of evil. However, the book is very difficult to understand; It needs a thorough contemplation. :)
Keith
May 20, 2008 Keith added it
Good for anyone who wants to arm themselves against people who think belief in God is irrational. No good for anyone interested in God, freedom, or evil.
Simon
Nov 14, 2011 Simon rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, philosophy
A great little book - will read it again, in order to fully understand it. Well written, and accessible. You have to think hard - good!
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Christian Theolog...: God, Freedom, and Evil Chapters 1-5 28 19 Jul 21, 2012 03:48AM  
  • The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology
  • Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview
  • The Existence of God
  • Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God
  • Apologetics to the Glory of God: An Introduction
  • Life's Ultimate Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy
  • Christian Apologetics
  • The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism
  • Defense of the Faith
  • Five Views on Apologetics
  • God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?
  • The Philosophy of Jesus
  • Philosophy of Religion: An Introduction
  • The Historical Reliability of the Gospels
  • The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss
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He is an American analytic philosopher, the John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame and the inaugural holder of the Jellema Chair in Philosophy at Calvin College.

Plantinga is widely known for his work in philosophy of religion, epistemology, metaphysics and Christian apologetics.

He has delivered the Gifford Lectures three times and was described by TIME mag
...more
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“The mere fact that a belief is unpopular at present (or at some other time) is interesting from a sociological point of view but evidentially irrelevant.” 3 likes
“Is it a fact that those who believe in a Heavenly Father do so because or partly because their earthly fathers were inadequate? I doubt it. If it is a fact, however, it is of psychological rather than theological interest. It may help us understand theists, but it tells us nothing at all about the truth of their belief; to that it is simply irrelevant.” 2 likes
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