In contemporary analytic philosophy, the problem of evil refers to a family of arguments that attempt to show, by appeal to evil, that God does not (or probably does not) exist. Some very important arguments in this family focus on gratuitous evil. Most participants in the relevant discussions, including theists and atheists, agree that God is able to prevent all gratuitous evil and that God would do so. On this view, of course, the occurrence of even a single instance of gratuitous evil falsifies theism. The most common response to such arguments attempts to cast doubt on the claim that gratuitous evil really occurs. The focus of these two survey papers will be a different response—one that has received less attention in the literature. This response attempts to show that God and gratuitous evil are compatible. If it succeeds, then the occurrence of gratuitous evil does not, after all, count against theism. After introducing some key terms, I survey the literature surrounding the attempts by Michael Peterson and John Hick to execute this strategy. In a follow-up paper, I discuss the attempts of William Hasker, Peter van Inwagen, and Michael Almeida, respectively.
And if copies should find their way to my inbox, I wouldn't mind it in the least.