In many lectures and books what is called “the problem of evil” belongs to pure philosophy or to theology. It may be formulated as the question: “Is the proposition ‘God exists’ logically compatible with the proposition ‘evil exists’?” It is an obvious mistake, and one often made by philosophers, to limit the problem in this way; but it is equally a mistake to dismiss the intellectual problem as remote from life, for sense must be made of life if we are to cope with it emotionally and engage in efficacious action. I shall face the intellectual problem I mentioned, and I shall also deal with repentance, forgiveness and retributive justice. Also, I shall draw on some works of literature such as Shakespeare’s plays and Dostoyevsky’s novels. Of course, Iago and the characters in The Brothers Karamazov never existed; but Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky thought a great deal about what goes on in the minds and hearts of men and women who commit or are hurt by evil deeds …. From the Introduction
John Cowburn, SJ, is retired professor of philosophy and member of the United Faculty of Theology, one of four Associated Teaching Institutions of the Melbourne College of Divinity in Victoria, Australia. He is the author of three prior books published by Marquette University Press: Love, Personalism & Scholasticism, and Free Will, Predestination, & Determinism.