Monday, August 02, 2004

God, Freedom, and Evil

Alvin Plantinga, God, Freedom, and Evil
Is it possible, in slightly over one hundred pages, to destroy the logical problem of evil and rehabilitate the ontological argument for God's existence? If Plantinga's arguments are credible, then yes. In this slight volume by an intellectual heavyweight, Plantinga explores what he considers the fundamental objection to theism--how does evil exist if God is all-powerful and wholly good? Though I find his argument ultimately unconvincing because of its undefended presuppositions, it is clear, defensible, and entertaining.

On the way to rejuvenating the ontological argument--that a "being of maximal greatness," God, has been instantiated in one possible world (and, by logical extension, all possible worlds). Plantinga earns my respect for two reasons: first, he dispenses with the cosmological and teleological arguments on the way to restoring the ontological argument, showing that he is above casuistry in the cause of apologetics; and second, he admits that even if his rendition of the ontological argument is acceptable, it "establishes, not the truth of theism, but its rational acceptability" (p. 112). Only a combative anti-theist could find fault with that.


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