1. Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion was first published in 1779. A second edition appeared in the same year.

3. I quote from David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, ed. Stanley Tweyman (Routledge: London and New York, 1991), p. 152. All my subsequent quotations from the Dialogues are from this edition.

8. Ibid., p. 157. Epicurus lived from 342/1 to 270 bc. He is quoted by Lactan-tius (c. 260-c. 340) thus: '(rod either wishes to take away evils, and is unable; or he is able, and is unwilling; or he is neither willing nor able; or he is both willing and able. If he is willing and able, he is feeble, which is not in accordance with the character of God; if he is able and unwilling, he is malicious, which is equally at variance with God; if he is neither willing nor able, he is both malicious and feeble and therefore not God; if he is both willing and able, which is alone suitable to God, from what source then are evils? Or why does he not remove them?' Patrologia Latina, 7, 121; I quote from the translation offered in M. B. Ahern, The Problem of Evil (Routledge & Kegan Paul: London, 1971), p. 2.

9. I take a theist to be someone who believes in God (and theism to be the belief that there is a God). For the moment, however, I pass over the question 'What is God?' As we shall see, one's approach to the topic of God and evil will be much affected by how one construes the term 'God'.

10. I find it hard to believe that planes can get off the ground and stay in the air. Jilted lovers often find it hard to believe that their former 'others' can have treated them as they did.

Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, p. 158. Ibid.

I am not here assuming, of course, that acting well on some occasion makes one a morally good person. One might do a good deed one day and a bad one the next. And so on. Hume, Dialogues, p. 160.

As readers of the Dialogues will quickly discover, Hume certainly seems to think that there is no good proof of the existence of a morally good and all-powerful God.

Books by Mackie in which much reference is made to Hume include: The Cement of the Universe (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1974), Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong (Penguin Books: Harmondsworth, 1977), and Hume's Moral Theory (Routledge & Kegan Paul: London and Boston, 1980). Mackie's 'Evil and Omnipotence' originally appeared in Mind 64 (1955). It has been reprinted a number of times. My page references to this text are linked to the conveniently available reprint of it in Marilyn McCord Adams and Robert Merrihew Adams (eds), The Problem of Evil (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1990). Mackie, 'Evil and Omnipotence', p. 25. Ibid., p. 26. Ibid. Ibid.

In ch. 9 of The Miracle of Theism (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1982), Mackie softens his charge of contradiction and argues, instead, that evil renders God's existence unlikely.

Rowe's paper was first published in American Philosophical Quarterly 16 (1979). It is reprinted in Adams and Adams (eds), The Problem, of Evil. My page references are linked to this text. Although, as I say, Rowe's position is comparable to that of Hume, it is developed somewhat differently and is worth drawing attention to since it has been taken very seriously by a large number of thinkers.

Rowe, 'The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism', pp. 127f. Ibid., p. 129. Ibid,, p. 131. Ibid.

The reader should recognize that I focus on Mackie and Rowe because they present in a clear form arguments offered by a variety of contemporary non-theistic critics of theism writing with respect to the topic of God and evil.

What I am calling the 'We Know that God Exists' Argument is implicit in a great deal of Christian philosophical thinking. I take it to be evident, for instance, in the writings of Augustine of Hippo (354-430) and Thomas Aquinas. In recent years, it has been (briefly) defended by Nelson Pike and (at greater length) by Alvin Plantinga (though by others also). See Nelson Pike (ed.), God and Evil (Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1964), pp. 97f. For Plantinga, see, for example, 'Epistemic Probability and Evil', rep. in Daniel Howard-Snyder (ed.), The Evidential Argument from Evil (Indiana University Press: Bloomington, Ind. and Indianapolis, 1996). I shall be defending the 'We Know that God Exists' Argument in this book, but not in the terms in which Pike and Plantinga seem to do so.

32. Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (Christian Science Board of Directors: Boston, 1971), p. 257.

33. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, la. 48.1.1 quote from vol. 8 of the Blackfriars edition of the Summa Theologiae (Eyre and Spottiswoode: London and McGraw-HiE: New York, 1967).

34. Augustine expresses the same line of thought; see Enchiridion, 11 and Confessions, Ill.vii. 12. For contemporary defences of the view that evil is an absence of a due good {privatio boni) see Paul Helm, The Providence of God (Inter-Varsity Press: Leicester, 1993), pp. 168ff. and Herbert McCabe, God Matters (Geoffrey Chapman: London, 1987), pp. 27ff.

35. Alvin Plantinga, 'God, Evil, and the Metaphysics of Freedom', ch. 9 of The Nature of Necessity (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1974), reprinted Adams and Adams, The Problem of Evil, p. 106. Plantinga's position is echoed by many contemporary philosophers of religion. Cf., for example, William Alston, according to whom 'It is logically impossible for God to create free beings with genuine freedom of choice and also guarantee that they will always choose the right' ('The Inductive Argument from Evil', in Howard-Snyder (ed.), The Evidential Argument from Evil, p. 112).

36. Plantinga, 'God, Evil and the Metaphysics of Freedom', in Adams and Adams (eds), The Problem of Evil, pp. 84f.

37. Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God, 2nd edn (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 2004). Swinburne has developed a position on God and evil in Providence and the Problem of Evil (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1998).

38. Swinburne, The Existence of God, p. 252.

41. Evil and the God of Love was first published in 1966. A second edition appeared in 1977. I quote from the 1985 reissue of the second edition (Macmillan Press: Basingstoke and London, 1985).

43. Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, p. 158.

44. This argument has defenders earlier than Alston. It can be found, for example, in An Essay on Man by Alexander Pope (1688-1744).

45. William P. Alston, 'The Inductive Argument from Evil and the Human Cognitive Condition', in Howard-Snyder (ed.), The Evidential Argument from Evil, p. 98.

47. Alston's line of reasoning may be compared with that found in Peter van

Inwagen's "The Problem of Evil, the Problem of Air, and the Problem of Silence', ibid., pp. 151ff. For thinking similar to Alston's see also Stephen Griffith, 'The Problem of Pomegranates' in Peter van Inwagen (ed.), Christian Faith and the Problem of Evil (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, Mich., and Cambridge, 2004). Griffith writes: 'Not even the wisest among us is capable of understanding things in the manner that our Creator understands them ... We are thus free to believe that there is some reason for all the evils in the world, even if we do not always know what that reason might be. To claim that there is not, much less that there cannot be, such a reason, is to claim to know more than any human being could possibly know' (p. 94).

48. C. J. F. Williams, 'Knowing Good and Evil', Philosophy 66 (1991), p. 238.

49 George N. Schlesinger, New Perspectives on Old-Time Religion (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1988), ch. 2.

50. Thomas Aquinas, De Interpretations, 1.14.

51. Herbert McCabe, 'God:l - Creation', New Blackfriars 61 (1980), p. 412. This article is reprinted in Herbert McCabe, God Matters (Geoffrey Chapman: London, 1987).

52. Examples of such theists would be Augustine, Boethius (c. 480-c. 524), Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109), and Aquinas. The teaching that God is immutable is a matter of faith (de fide) for Roman Catholics. On this see Vatican I's Dogmatic Constitution Concerning the Catholic Faith (Constitutio dogmatica defide catholica), ch. 1. The text is conveniently available in Norman P. Tanner (ed.), Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, vol. 2 (Sheed & Ward and Georgetown University Press: London and Washington, DC, 1990).

53. Jon Sobrino, Christology at the Crossroads (SCM Press: London, 1978), p. 197. For Moltmann, see his The Crucified God (SCM Press: London, 1974).

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