Providence, Evil and the Openness of God
Routledge – 2004 – 248 pages
Providence, Evil and the Openness of God is a timely exploration of the philosophical implications of the rapidly-growing theological movement known as open theism, or the 'openness of God'. William Hasker, one of the philosophers prominently associated with this movement, presents the strengths of this position in comparison with its main competitors: Calvinism, process theism, and the theory of divine middle knowledge, or Molinism.
The author develops alternative approaches to the problem of evil and to the problem of divine action in the world. In particular, he argues that believers should not maintain the view that each and every evil that occurs is permitted by God as a means to a 'greater good'. He contends that open theism makes possible an emphasis on the personalism of divine-human interaction in a way that traditional views, with their heavy emphasis on divine control, cannot easily match. The book concludes with a section of replies to critics, in which many of the objections levelled against open theism are addressed.
Part 1: Evil, Theodicy, and Defense
1. On Regretting the Evils of this World
2. Suffering, Soul-Making, and Salvation
3. The Sceptical Solution to the Problem of Evil
4. The Necessity of Gratuitous Evil
5. Can God Permit 'Just Enough' Evil?
Part Two: Theories of Providence
6. The Openness of God
7. Providence and Evil: Three Theories
8. The God who Takes Risks
9. The Problem of Evil in Process Theism and Classical Free Will Theism
10. Antinomies of Divine Providence
11. The Freedom and Goodness of God
Appendix: Replies to my Critics