Reformed Perspectives on the Problem of Evil

A correspondent asks:

Could you recommend the best books for me to read on a Reformed perspective on the problem of evil?

I’d recommend the following:

  • John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, I, chapters 16-18.
  • D. A. Carson, How Long, O Lord? (Baker, 2006).
  • John M. Frame, The Doctrine of God (P&R, 2002), chapter 9.
  • Paul Helm, The Providence of God (IVP, 1994), chapters 7 & 8.
  • James S. Spiegel, The Benefits of Providence (Crossway, 2005), chapter 6.

Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor (Crossway, 2006) is very good for a more pastoral perspective.

I’ve heard good things about John Feinberg’s The Many Faces of Evil, but it’s still on my to-read list, so I can’t give a personal recommendation.

Also look out for a forthcoming multi-author volume, Calvinism and the Problem of Evil, edited by David E. Alexander and Daniel M. Johnson (Wipf and Stock). I don’t know exactly when it will be published.

2 thoughts on “Reformed Perspectives on the Problem of Evil”


    I’ve read Feinberg. I wouldn’t give it the highest recommendation possible, but I think for someone who wants a Reformed perspective (note the indefinite article), Feinberg is not a bad start. He does a decent job presenting a variety of views and giving them some engagement. It is not the most philosophically deep book on evil and someone of his criticisms of views are superficial. But he does a decent (i.e., not great, but not bad) job at least presenting positions and engaging with them. So I think I could warmly (but not strongly) recommend this as a starting look by a Calvinist about the problem(s) of evil. One good thing about Feinberg, by the way, is that he will make clear that there isn’t a single problem of evil, but many different problems.

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