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Encountering Evil [New Ed] [Paperback]

By Paul K. Davis (Author) & Stephen T. Davis (Editor)
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Item description for Encountering Evil [New Ed] by Paul K. Davis & Stephen T. Davis...

Eight prominent philosophers and theologians confront the problems posed by natural and human evil for theistic belief. Each thinker sets out his or her theodicy and its connections to current social and philosophical debates. Other contributors then offer critiques of each theodicy, to which its author subsequently responds.

Publishers Description
In this text, five of the world's leading philosophers of religion - Stephen T. Davis, David R. Griffin, John Hick, D.Z. Phillips and John K. Roth - present their answers to the problem of evil, taking into account ethnic cleansing, political repression, social violence, new work in Holocaust studies, and other issues and events that bear on the subject of evil in the world today. The other contributors offer a critique of each of these answers, to which its author subsequently responds. Helpful and perceptive postscripts are also included from John Cobb, Frederick Sontag and Marilyn Adams.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Running Time: 5.00 minutes
Pages   60400
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.06" Width: 6.08" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 14, 2004
Publisher   Westminster John Knox Press
Age  27-72
Edition  anded)  
ISBN  066422251X  
ISBN13  9780664222512  

Availability  0 units.

More About Paul K. Davis & Stephen T. Davis

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Patrick A. Davis is the national and "New York Times" bestselling author of six previous novels: "The Commander, A Slow Walk to Hell, A Long Day for Dying, The Colonel, The General, " and "The Passenger." He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and the Army Command and General Staff College, and a former Air Force major who flew during the Gulf War. He helped plan and direct U-2 surveillance operations for Operation Desert Storm and flew eleven combat sorties. He is a former pilot with a major airline.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Philosophy

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Encountering Evil [New Ed]?

Dealing with the Real Issue  Jul 17, 2005
Theodicies sometimes address the problem of the co-existence of God and evil in what might be considered a sufficient manner, yet in the final analysis the views change God into something that is not God, or even a god. The Christian issue of theodicy presents a special problem for Christians, which I'm not sure has ever been addressed. The Bible, for Jew and Christian, makes clear what God is like (though not exhaustively). But it does give enough information to analyze the issue of theodicy (or does it and we've just missed it by addressing the wrong issues?).

It is common that Biblical theodicy is dealt with by actually avoiding the issue. Sure, we can say that a good and omnipotent God deals with evil by love, redemption, spiritual warefare, and many others. But by addressing the possible cures for evil, we outright fail to address theodicy at all.

Theodicy is only addressed when we question why God, good and omnipotent and unable to sin, or to accept sin, and able to create virtuous being without falling into sin, chose the OPTION to create mankind in such a way that he would certainly fall and then suffer true and often torturous outrages. The requirement of free will doesn't provide an answer. We can initially say that without free will, there is not virtue; but God doesn't have free will in that way; so does God lack virtue? Are the saints in heaven, which can never fall again, without freedom of will and thus without virtue?

Obviously, to deal with theodicy, we have to avoid the avoidance of the real issue, and rather address directly why God even allowed the fall of Man and the subsequent suffering (including what often amounts to torturous conditions even of the repentant) since He didn't have to do it this way. That issue is the truly sole point of theodicy and its understanding, and an issue that, again, I don't believe has ever been addressed or even honestly faced (of course, maybe it has but such essays are difficult to find).

This book addresses, as do others, theodicy in a pseudo fashion, making the use of the word "theodicy" in the title misleading. It is important in what it reveals, but in the final result, theodicy has not been discussed. Only how to get around the problem of solving the problem of theodicy has.
Very well done  Jun 14, 2000
Although there are probably as many theodicies as there are people in the world, Stephen Davis does a fine job selecting scholars who represent various, major viewpoints on the classic problem of evil to elucidate their positions. John Roth represents a theodicy of protest whereby it is insinuated that God may not be totally good. God, says Roth, has a dark side and so must be persuaded by human protest and prayer to do what is right. Hick, of course, represents the position of an Irenean theodicy where God is portrayed as simply unable to stop all evil since evil is born our of free will and God cannot contradict the free will He gave us (lest it cease being free will). More than that, however, God has created a world in which trouble and evil exist in order that, by virtue of our free will, we might grow in character through the hardship. God, says Hick, is in the business of soul-making and has an overall plan for us as His creation to grow into spiritual maturity through the joys and sufferings of this life. Davis takes the classic Christian perspective position that evil is the result of human sin, that Jesus died to redeem us of that sin. We are responsible for the evil in the world, but God has created a way to redeem the world by taking sin on Himself in the form of Jesus Christ. By recieving Christ into our lives, not only are we promised a future in eternity without evil, but we are able to grow through the sufferings of life instead of shun them as worthless. He argues that there is no logical contradiction between the Biblical God (omnipotent and omnibenevolent) and the existence of evil in the world. Griffin represents the process theology position that God is evolving with the creation and so is learning as He goes. Matter, says Griffin, is eternal like God and has its own kind of "free will." Complexity in the arrangement of matter, furthermore, is tied to the amount of free will something has. Thus a rock can do less evil and yet God is less able to use it for good, but something as complex (and thus having more free will) as a human is capable of doing much more evil by resisting God and much more good by submitting to God. Finally, Sontag takes a highly skeptical position about God's goodness. God is unpredictable and violent at times and all we can do is hope for the best. We must acknowledge God's existence and power, but Sontag's god is semi-demonic in nature which explains evil in the world and why he doesn't stop it.

Of course, this small review doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the indepth and well written arguments of each of these scholars. The book is complex enough for college and graduate classes but written with the lay-person in mind as well (the writers are careful to define their terms in most cases). Also, I really enjoyed the fact that each contributor has the opportunity to critique the other's theodicies and then the chance to defend against the other's critiques. This point/counterpoint approach was excellent and informative.

My only critique of this book is the subtitle ("Live Options in Theodicy"). While the five views represented in this book are indeed reflective of five major worldviews of the problem of evil, they are not the only *live* options. To suggest so implies that any theodicy significantly different than those represented in the book is not a valid option. But because the problem of evil is more of a mystery and less of a logical problem to be solved with a fancy syllogism, it can be approached in a number of ways -- not just five.


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