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D. Z. Phillips' Problems with Evil and with God

William Hasker
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion
Vol. 61, No. 3 (Jun., 2007), pp. 151-160
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27646212
Page Count: 10
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D. Z. Phillips' Problems with Evil and with God
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Abstract

It is widely held that the logical problem of evil, which alleges an inconsistency between the existence of evil and that of an omnipotent and morally perfect God, has been solved. D. Z. Phillips thinks this is a mistake. In "The Problem of Evil and the Problem of God," he argues that, within the generally assumed framework, "neither the proposition 'God is omnipotent' nor the proposition 'God is perfectly good' can get off the ground." Thus, the problem of evil leads to the problem of God. Phillips goes on to provide an alternative response to the problem of evil, expounded by means of his Wittgensteinian analyses of various concepts drawn from the Christian tradition. I argue that his criticisms of the traditional conception of God either fail outright or are at best inconclusive. I also point out that the religious concepts analyzed by Phillips are not and cannot be the same concepts as those employed in the Christian tradition from which they are supposedly drawn. For the concepts as traditionally employed presuppose the actual existence and activity of precisely the sort of being that, according to Phillips, "God cannot be."

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