D. Z. Phillips’ problems with evil and with God

  • William HaskerEmail author
Original Paper


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.”


D. Z. Phillips Wittgenstein Problem of evi 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Davis S.T. (eds) (2001). Encountering evil: Live options in theodicy, a new edition. Louisville, Westminster John Knox PressGoogle Scholar
  2. Hasker W. (2005). Can God be free?: Rowe’s dilemma for theology. Religious Studies, 41: 453–462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Hasker, W. (2006). After life. In E. M. Zolta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Available from Scholar
  4. Kraay K.J. (2005). Willam Rowe’s a priori argument for atheism. Faith and Philosophy, 22(2): 211–234Google Scholar
  5. Langtry, B. (2006). God and infinite hierarchies of creatable worlds. Faith and Philosophy, 23(4)Google Scholar
  6. Phillips D.Z. (2004). The problem of evil and the problem of God. London, SCM pressGoogle Scholar
  7. Rowe W. (2004). Can God be free?. Oxford, The Clarendon PressGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyHuntington CollegeHuntingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations