Traditionally, there are three main categories of evil: metaphysical, moral, and physical or natural. Blindness, deafness, and lameness are examples of metaphysical evil; cruelty and malevolence are examples of moral evil; and earthquakes, droughts, and tornados are examples of physical evil. All moral evil is the direct or indirect result of moral agents' free wills or ability to choose. Physical and metaphysical evil may or may not be the result of moral agents' choices.
A Severe Mercy
by Sheldon Vanauken. Includes letters by C.S. Lewis
. This is one of my all-time favorite books.
Can God Be Trusted? : Faith and the Challenge of Evil
by John Stackhouse, Jr., Ph.D., Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, Canada Reviewed: by Christianity Today
and by First Things
In this persuasive and compassionate argument for faith in the face of evil, Stackhouse goes beyond Rabbi Kushner, M. Scott Peck, and others to take a more historically informed approach, examining what philosophers and theologians have said on the subject and offering reassuring answers for thoughtful readers.
C.S. Lewis joined the human race when his wife, Joy Gresham, died of cancer. Lewis, the Oxford don whose Christian apologetics make it seem like he's got an answer for everything, experienced crushing doubt for the first time after his wife's tragic death. A Grief Observed contains his epigrammatic reflections on that period: "Your bid--for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity--will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high," Lewis writes. "Nothing will shake a man--or at any rate a man like me--out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself." This is the book that inspired the film Shadowlands, but it is more wrenching, more revelatory, and more real than the movie. It is a beautiful and unflinchingly honest record of how even a stalwart believer can lose all sense of meaning in the universe, and how he can gradually regain his bearings. --Michael Joseph Gross