Evil. Every human language has a word for it and every human being has a concept of it. Yet theologians, philosophers, and humanity in general have wrestled with how to understand it. In so wrestling, they usually wrestle with a related question: what does God have to do with evil?
Southeastern’s Dean of the College, Jamie Dew, recently published a volume addressing just these issues. Dew co-edited God and Evil: The Case for God in a World Filled With Pain (IVP 2013) with Chad Meister (Professor of Philosophy at Bethel College in Indiana) in order to provide an answer to these two basic human questions.
As they state in the book’s introduction, “people generally believe that God exists and that evil is ubiquitous. The problem is that these two claims seem to conflict” (p. 9). Thus humans often ask the two questions noted above without a way to get at the answer. Only “conflict” remains. Thus co-editors Dew and Meister have pulled together an expert team of philosophers and theologians. Paul Copan, Gary Habermas, William Lane Craig, William Dembski, Win Corduran, Southeastern professors Bruce Little and Dew, and several others address the conflict in four main parts.
Part One asks “what is evil and why is it a problem?” Part Two discusses “some reasons God might allow evil” and engages Augustine, Irenaeus, and Leibniz on the topic. Part Three investigates evil and other themes such as “evil and original sin” and “evil and the resurrection.” Finally, Part Four puts evil in dialogue with other issues such as hell, creation, and evolution. Thus one could read this book straight through or read an individual chapter on the topic most interesting and relevant to him/her. Either way, God and Evil encourages and challenges readers to integrate evil into a world over and in which God reigns.
For its comprehensive and flexible approach, God and Evil will serve well pastors, college and seminary students, and interested laypersons. Pick up a copy here and start reading. Also, if you are a prospective college or seminary student you can study philosophy with the likes of Jamie Dew and Bruce Little at the College at Southeastern and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Click the links and check out the admissions page.