It's often said that Plantinga *refuted* the logical problem of evil -- i.e., that he demonstrated that' there's no logical inconsistency between the existence of an all-knowing, all-powerful, and perfectly good god, on the one hand, and evil on the other. This is extremely misleading. To see why, consider the following three claims, in descending order in terms of strength of claim:
1. The following is a fact: Possibly, every creature that God can create would freely perform at least one morally wrong action.
2. Here is a story that we have decent reason to believe is true: Possibly, every creature that God can create would freely perform at least one morally wrong action.
3. Here is a claim that we can't rule out for sure as false: Possibly, every creature that God can create would freely perform at least one morally wrong action.
Now many apologists talk as though Plantinga has shown that (1) or (2) is true. These are the sorts of claims that Plantinga would have to have vindicated for the apologists to be right. However, Plantinga has only shown that (3) is true.
As you can see, (3) is a bit less interesting than (1) and (2). According to the latter two claims, it would be true, or at least more reasonable to believe than not, that there are possible worlds in which it's possible that God and evil can co-exist, in which case the logical problem of evil would indeed be defeated in a way that would make the agument a failure. For on either of these two claims, it would be true, or more reasonable than not, to think that God and evil are compatible.
However, (3) doesn't show anything as strong as this. Consider the following two claims:
4. Theist to the non-theist: I've shown that *you are unreasonable* to think that God and evil can't coexist. I've shown that the deductive argument from evil is unsound.
5. Theist to the non-theist: I've shown you that *I'm not unreasonable* to think that God and evil can coexist, given that I also have strong enough evidence or warrant for thinking that theism is true. I've shown that we can't be absolutely sure that God and evil can coexist.
(1) and (2) give reason to accept (4); (3) only gives reason to accept (5). And the latter is all that Plantinga has done. But establishing (5) isn't sufficient to show that the deductive version of the problem of evil argument is unsound -- i.e., it may well be sound; it's just that we're not sure that it is.
Three relatively recent works have been published that underscore the point above:
-Michael Bergmann's "Might-Counterfactuals, Transworld Untrustworthiness, and Plantinga's Free Will Defense", Faith and Philosophy 16:3 (1999), 336-351.
-Daniel Howard-Snyder and John Hawthorne, "Transworld Sanctity and Plantinga's Free Will Defense", Int'l. Journal for Philosophy of Religion 44 (1998), 1-21.
-The chapter on Plantinga on the logical problem of evil in James F. Sennett's book on Plantinga's Philosophy, viz., Modality, Probability, and Rationality
Interestingly, all of these philosophers are fairly conservative christians.
Rdzak, Brandon. " The Principle of Sufficient Reason and Libertarianism: A Reply to Pruss ", Philosophia (2021), https://doi.org/...
A popular view in contemporary analytic philosophy of religion is that while there are many arguments for theism -- cosmological, ontolo...
An Inference to the Best Explanation: Jesus as a Failed Eschatological Prophet ( Re-posted ) I agree with mainstream scholarship on the...
A popular view in contemporary analytic philosophy of religion is that while there are many arguments for theism -- cosmological, ontologica...