The Problem of Genuine Evil

  • C. Robert Mesle


John Hick’s classic study, Evil and the God of Love, offers one of the most creative and important of modern attempts to reconcile classical theism with the reality of evil. Regretfully, critics of his theodicy often seem to have lost their force by misunderstanding or neglecting basic elements of his view. Hick, in turn, has misunderstood at least one of his major critics, David Griffin, who has charged that Hick’s theodicy, like other classical efforts, leads to a denial of ‘genuine evil’. The task of the present study is twofold. First, I want to show how Hick has misunderstood Griffin’s argument and explain why that mistake is of fundamental importance. Second, having clarified what is at stake for Hick, I want to show the inadequacies of Hick’s Irenaean theodicy in ways dealing directly with the most powerful forms of his arguments. In order to set the stage for these efforts, I will begin by outlining the relevant positions of both Griffin and Hick.


Critical Study Great Good Slippery Slope Human Freedom Eternal Life 
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  1. 1.
    David Griffin, God, Power and Evil: A Process Theodicy, (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976).Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Stephen Davis, ed., Encountering Evil: Live Options in Theodicy (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1981).Google Scholar
  3. 9.
    John Hick, ‘Coherence and the God of Love Again’, Journal of Theological Studies vol. 24, no. 2 (1973) 523.Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    Quoted in John Hick, Death and Eternal Life (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1976) p. 164.Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    John Hick, ‘Freedom and the Irenaean Theodicy Again’, Journal of Theological Studies vol. 21, no. 2 (1970) 420.Google Scholar
  6. 13.
    Robert McAfee Brown, ‘Starting Over: New Beginning Points for Theology,’ Christian Century, vol. 97, no. 18 (1980) 546.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© C. Robert Mesle 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Robert Mesle
    • 1
  1. 1.Graceland CollegeLamoniUSA

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