Book review: God, Freedom, and Evil

by Alvin Plantinga


How do I rate a book that will bore most of you but titillate the rest? Half way between two stars and six stars, I guess.

I’m secure in my status as a religion nerd, so I’ll admit I loved it. This is an introduction to philosophical apologetics, a short little book that can be read in a couple hours, and understood in five or six hours. Philosophical reflection, Plantinga assures us, is not that different than just thinking hard. It’s an excursion into the joy of logic … for the fun of it, not necessarily to reach any meaningful conclusions. He spends half the book discussing the problem of evil, and the other half on natural theology. Thus half of the book presents a case against God and half attempts to prove he exists. In the second half, Plantinga briefly introduces the Cosmological Argument and the Teleological Argument, and then spends the rest of the book on the Ontological Argument.

Plantinga’s argument against the problem of evil is fascinating yet unsatisfying, and his discussion of the ontological argument is equally fun but equally unconvincing … like one of those puzzles where you know there’s something wrong and can’t quite place your finger on it.

One note: Do not try to read an electronic version! The constant referring backward to numbered arguments will be very frustrating without a paper copy.


  1. Feeling similarly secure, this does sound interesting.

  2. :) We math majors have to stick together.

  3. I heard Plantinga speak a couple of times. He was pretty dry. But when another professor described Plantiga’s method of apologetics, I found that riveting.

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