Spring 2023

Problem of Evil

Listed in: Philosophy, as PHIL-229  |  Religion, as RELI-218

Moodle site: Course


Andrew C. Dole (Section 01)


(Offered as RELI 218 and PHIL 229). Christian religious traditions have assumed that God is omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent.  But attributing these attributes to the creator of the universe makes the existence of evil puzzling.  If God is omnibenevolent, then God would not want any creature to suffer evil; if God is omniscient, then God would know how to prevent any evil from occurring; and if God is omnipotent, then God would be able to prevent any evil from occurring. Does the obvious fact that there is evil in the world, then, give us reason to think that there is no such God? Alternatively: if an omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent God does exist, then what could possibly motivate such a God to permit the existence of evil? This course will survey classical and recent philosophical discussions of these questions.  Among other topics, we will explore the free-will defense and its recent revisions, skeptical theism, open theism, and the "multiverse theodicy."

Spring semester. Professor A. Dole

How to handle overenrollment: Priority will be given to Religion majors, Philosophy majors, and Seniors.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Close reading and analysis of unfamiliar texts; brief written reflections; classroom discussions and presentations; formally written papers.


2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
Other years: Offered in Spring 2015, Fall 2018