Bruce A. Little was a pastor for 30 years before taking his post as Professor of Philosophy at SEBTS. Throughout his time as a pastor Little was confronted with the pain and suffering that Christians endure. This suffering is often used by atheists as evidence for a less than holy God, and thus the absence of God. Little’s most recent book, God, Why this Evil? is written to countermand this claim.
This book builds upon his previous work, Creation-Order Theodicy (University Press America, 2005), arguing that it is possible to affirm gratuitous evil and that such does not count against the moral perfections of God. Rather than claim all evil has a purpose to bring about a greater good, Little claims that Christians have warrant to see evil as gratuitous-having a reason but not a purpose-but this does not count against the moral perfections of God.
In the realm of apologetics, Little believes his argument has greater weight in counteracting the claims of the atheist. While the greater good argument may require the Christian to provide evidence of the good to the atheist, Little’s position aims to undercut the atheist’s appeal to an evidential argument from evil. For Little, it is not that we must show which evil is gratuitous, only that it is possible that gratuitous evil exists and does not count against the moral perfections of God.
Those interested in philosophy, apologetics and pastoral ministry alike will find Little’s book a stimulating work. Although one may not agree with all of his conclusions, the thesis is thought-provoking and invites the reader to shore up his or her own beliefs on the place of evil and suffering in God’s creation among his people.