Evil and Suffering: A Select Bibliography

This next quarter, I will be teaching one of my favorite courses: Perspectives on Evil and Suffering. 

Here is a select bibliography that I will be offering to my students. These essays and books do not constitute, necessarily, the best on the topic, but the entire list is meant to provide a range of perspectives on a variety of themes: such as creation and evolution, “natural evil” (natural disasters, disease, etc.), the “problem of Hell,” Old Testament violence, and cultural and political dimensions of evil and suffering. The list includes open theists and neo-Calvinists, feminist and liberation theologians, biblical scholars, pastoral and philosophical theologians. Some of the books are overview textbooks (i.e. Schwarz, Davis, Vardy, and Hasker–Hasker’s is the best, IMHO), while others address specific themes or problems.

To me, the list (brief as it is), illustrates the extensive reach of the discussion and the demand for inter-disciplinary and multiple perspectives on the issues raised by any discussion of “evil and suffering.” Of course, the challenge is to keep any discussion from getting to diffuse, but variation is inevitable given the pervasive nature of evil and suffering and the subjectivity of human experience. Here’s the list:

Recommended Bibliography for Perspectives on Evil and Suffering

Boyd, Gregory. Is God to Blame? Moving Beyond Pat Answers to the Problem of Suffering, InterVarsity, 2003.

Boyd, Gregory. Satan and the Problem of Evil: Constructing a Trinitarian Warfare Theodicy, InterVarsity, 2001.

Copeland, Shawn M. “Wading Through Many Sorrows,” in A Troubling in My Soul: Womanist Perspectives on Evil and Suffering, ed. Emilie M. Townes, Orbis Books, 1993, pp. 109-129.

Crysdale, Cynthia S. W.  Embracing Travail.  New York:  Continuum International, 2001.

Davis, Stephen. Encountering Evil, A New Edition: Live Options in Theodicy, Westminster John Knox Press, 2001.

Eiseland, Nancy. Disabled God:  Toward a Liberatory Theology of Disability. Abingdon, 1994.

Fretheim, Terrance. Creation Untamed. Baker Books, 2010.

Greene-McCreight, Kathyrn. Darkness is My Only Companion. Brazos Press, 2006.

Hall, Douglas John. God and Human Suffering:  An Exercise in the Theology of the Cross.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1986.

Hasker, William. The Triumph of God Over Evil:  Theodicy for a World of Suffering.  Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2008.

Kellemann, Robert and Karole Edwards, Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction, Baker, 2007.

May, Gerald G. The Dark Night of the Soul: A Psychiatrist Explores the Connection Between Darkness and Spiritual Growth.  New York: HarperCollins, 2005. ISBN:  978-0060750558.

McDonald, Gregory (Robin Parry). The Evangelical Universalist, SPCK Publishing, 2008.

McGill, Arthur. Suffering: A Test of Theological Method, Wipf&Stock, 2006 (2nd ed).

Piper, John and Justin Taylor, Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, Crossway Books, 2006, pp. 17-30.

Schwarz, Hans. Evil:  A Historical and Theological Perspective.  Lima: C. S. S. Publishing Company, 2001.  ISBN:  788099108

Seibert, Eric. Disturbing Divine Behavior: Troubling Old Testament Images of God. Fortress Press, 2009.

Sobrino, Jon.  Where is God?  Earthquake, Terrorism, Barbarism and Hope.  Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2004.  ISBN:  1570755663.

Southgate, Christopher. The Groaning of Creation: God, Evolution and the Problem of Evil, Westminster John Knox Press, 2008.

Townes, Emilie. Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

Townes, Emilie. “Living in the New Jerusalem,” in in A Troubling in My Soul: Womanist Perspectives on Evil and Suffering, ed. Emilie M. Townes, Orbis Books, 1993, pp. 78-91.

Vardy, Peter.  The Thinker’s Guide to Evil.  Berkeley: O Books, 2003.  ISBN:  1903816335

Walls, Jerry. Hell: The Logic of Damnation, University of Notre Dame Press, 1992.

  • Dave Mowers

    I really liked D.B. Hart’s little book on this topic – do you know it? It’s The Doors of The Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami?

    I’ve seen Hasker’s – I’ll have to look into it.

  • Kyle Roberts

    Hey Dave, Yes…I’ve seen it and in fact have used it in class before. It is a good little book–great for demarcating God’s “ordaining will” from God’s “permissive will.” I’ll have to add it ito the next edition.

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