Evil Revisited

Responses and Reconsiderations

By David Ray Griffin

Subjects: Theology
Paperback : 9780791406137, 277 pages, July 1991
Hardcover : 9780791406120, 277 pages, July 1991

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents



1. The Divine and the Demonic in a Holocaust Universe: A Summary with Reconsiderations

A. The Generic Idea of God

B. Traditional All-Determining Theism

C. Traditional Free-Will Theism

D. Process Theism

E. Eternal Principles of Value and Power

F. The Demonic

G. Meaning and Hope

2. The Task of Philosophical Theology in the Face of Evil

A. Defense or Theodicy? A Response to Alvin Plantinga

B. Divine Power and the Task of Theodicy

3. The Traditional Doctrine of Omnipotence

A. I Omnipotence, the Omnipotence Fallacy, and Plantinga's Position

B. Do Traditional Theologians Exemplify the "Traditional" Doctrine of Omnipotence?

4. Is Traditional All-Determining Theism Intelligible after All?

A. The Problem

B. The Solution of John Knasas: Infinite Power and Compatibilism

C. The Problem Remains

5. Can a Traditional Free-Will Theodicy be Adequate after All?

A. Can the Existence of Genuine Evil be Affirmed?

B. Can the Existence of Theological Freedom be Justified?

C. Can God's Nonintervention to Prevent Evil be Justified?

D. Can Natural Evils be Explained?

E. Evolution, Animal Pain, and Other Remaining Questions

F. Summary of the Argument Thus Far

6. The Coherence of Process Theism's Claim that God Cannot Coerce

A. The Relation of Persuasion and Coercion to Final and Efficient Causation

B. The Metaphysical and Psychological Meanings of Persuasion and Coercion

C. Persuasion and Compulsion

D. David Basinger's Claim that the Process God Could Coerce

7. The Truth of Process Theism's Claim that God Cannot Coerce

A. Nelson Pike's Critique: An Overview

B. Premise X as Meaningless

C. Premise X as Logically False

D. Premise X as Metaphysically False

E. Bruce Reichenbach's Critique and the Experiential Criterion of Meaning

8. Further Questions about Divine Persuasion

A. Why Not a Divine Self-Limitation as Well?

B. Is the Doctrine of God's Great Persuasive Power Falsifiable?

C. Would God Coerce? Process Theism and Pacifism

9. John Hick's Charge of Elitism

A. Hick's Summary and Critique

B. The Roots of Hick's Critique in His Own Position

C. Process Theodicy Considered on Its Own Terms

D. Summary and Conclusion

10. Process Theodicy and Monism: A Response to Philip Hefner

A. Genuine Evil, Rationalization, and Tragedy

B. Biblical Faith, Monism, and Divine Goodness

C. Rapprochement: A Trinitarian Monism

11. Worship and Theodicy

A. Why This Issue is Crucial for Process Theodicy

B. Does Worship Presuppose Perfect Power?

C. Is the God of Process Theism Perfectly Good?

D. Conclusion: Living between Gods


Evil and the Two Types of Efficient Causation: A Response to Madden and Hare

A. Can Divine Power be a Mixture of Coercion and Persuasion?

B. Is the World's Evil Compatible with Great Persuasive Power?

C. Are the Limitations on Freedom Compatible with Great Persuasive Power?

D. Is a Great Evil Persuasive Power Equally Plausible?

E. Is Persuasive Power a Coherent Concept?

F. Earlier Criticisms



Griffin responds to critiques of his earlier work God, Power, and Evil: A Process Theodicy.


In this book Griffin responds to critiques of his earlier work—God, Power, and Evil: A Process Theodicy—and discusses ways in which his position has changed in the intervening years. In so doing, he examines the problem of evil, theodicy, and philosophical theology, and contrasts traditional theism and process theism with regard to the question of omnipotence.

David Ray Griffin is Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Theology at the School of Theology at Claremont and Claremont Graduate School, and Executive Director of the Center for Process Studies. Also published by SUNY Press are his God and Religion in the Postmodern World: Essays in Postmodern Theology; Physics and the Ultimate Significance of Time: Bohm, Prigogine, and Process Philosophy; The Reenchantment of Science: Postmodern Proposals; Sacred Interconnections: Postmodern Spirituality Political Economy, and Art; Spirituality and Society: Postmodern Visions; Primordial Truth and Postmodern Theology (with Huston Smith); Varieties of Postmodern Theology (with William Beardslee and Joe Holland); and Theology and the University: Essays in Honor of John B. Cobb, Jr. (with Joseph C. Hough, Jr. ).


"The book stands as a major contribution to process theology, and beyond that, to the general problem of theodicy in the 20th century. It takes its place beside the work of Plantinga as a major option for rational theology.

"The overall contribution of process theology has been to make clear the necessity of thinking through the categorical assumptions about our concepts of God, world, and evil. Griffin's work is the most original and fully developed of all the process theologians' in this regard. The present volume engages in debate with all the current contenders in the debate, and does so with sophistication and clarity. " — Robert Cummings Neville, Boston University

"I like the topic itself, which is immensely important, and the unusual opportunity to follow an author's argument through battle after battle. The struggle over these great issues is joined with a zest that communicates itself vividly to the reader. " — Frederick Ferré, University of Georgia