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The Many Faces of Evil (Revised and Expanded Edition): Theological Systems and the Problems of Evil Paperback – May 6, 2004
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"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
"This latest edition of The Many Faces of Evil is a gem. It provides extensive analyses of various statements of the problem of evil as well as responses that can be offered from a variety of Christian perspectives. Feinberg shows that both the problem and the response to the problem will vary, depending on one's understanding of God and of evil. His own position is offered in dialogue with major classic and contemporary discussions of the problem of evil."
—Ronald J. Feenstra, Director of Doctoral Studies, Calvin Theological Seminary
"The Many Faces of Evil is a thorough, clear, and highly competent treatment of a perennial problem. At times, it is painful and moving to read. All of us can learn much from it."
—Keith E. Yandell, Julius R. Weinberg Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, University of Wisconsin Madison
About the Author
John S. Feinberg (PhD, University of Chicago) is department chair and professor of biblical and systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is the author of Ethics for a Brave New World (with Paul D. Feinberg) and is general editor of Crossway’s Foundations of Evangelical Theology series.
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Top customer reviews
Generally, Feinberg states his goal as that of refuting a particular atheistic assertion concerning the theist’s problem of evil. In the text, J. L. Mackie is the champion of the allegation that is the primary target of Feinberg’s refutation, but there are others who share Mackie’s common atheistic opposition to theism. Feinberg wrote, “Mackie believed the traditional problem of evil deals a devastating blow to all theistic positions committed to God’s omnipotence and benevolence and evil’s existence… [Mackie] maintained to the end that the existence of evil poses an unresolvable problem for traditional theism. I believe these claims are mistaken and that it is possible to demonstrate so. That is the major burden of this book.” From this launching pad, Feinberg sets numerous artillery shells to flight in a direct assault on Mackie’s claim.
Feinberg, it seems to me, did a fine job of logically presenting his own goal and that of any theist who seeks to defend his or her position against such an attack. He made clear, the “theistic defender need only show a possible way for the various propositions held to be true. Hence, theists need not claim to have the explanation as to why an omnipotent, all-loving God would allow evil. They need only offer a possible explanation” (italics added). In stating the task in these terms, Feinberg shifts the theist’s burden from impossible (after all, God has only answered this question with a mysterious thundering – for His good pleasure) to achievable.
I've augmented my reading by a book about the Dalai Lama, which shows that the Buddhist theological perspective is quite different, yet the Dalai Lama is great friends with, for example, Bishop Desmond Tutu and (past tense) Pope John Paul II. Also, the Transcendentalists were greatly influenced by Hindu and Buddhist thought, and the view that "what goes around comes around" has found favor with many people in our own time. Why evil exists is a more complicated problem, perhaps.