The problem of evil

In Thomas P. Flint & Michael C. Rea (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Theology. Oxford University Press (2008)
Paul Draper
Purdue University
This article focuses on questions about evil which are both theological and doxastic, and more specifically alethic – i.e., questions about whether what we know about evil can be used to establish the falsity or probable falsity of the belief or proposition that God exists. Such a focus is natural for agnostics. More generally, it is natural for anyone who is engaged in genuine inquiry about whether or not God exists. A specific concept of God is employed – it is assumed that to assert that God exists, or that ‘theism’ is true, is to assert that there exists a supernatural person who created the natural world and who is perfect in power, perfect in knowledge, and perfect in moral goodness. This is obviously a narrow sense of the words ‘God’ and ‘theism’, but it is common in the philosophical literature. The article also uses a common strategy to investigate alethic problems of evil: it constructs and evaluates a variety of ‘arguments from evil’ for the conclusion that God does not exist or that His existence is improbable.
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DOI 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199596539.013.0016
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