Psalm 89 and the logical problem of evil: A comparative-philosophical perspective


Psalm 89, suffering, divine attributes, comparative philosophy (of religion), problem of evil, atheodicy

How to Cite

Gericke, J. (2021). Psalm 89 and the logical problem of evil: A comparative-philosophical perspective. Old Testament Essays, 34(1), 300–327. Retrieved from


This study takes as its starting point the consensus in research on the relationship between divine attributes and suffering in Psalm 89 which holds that some of the beliefs expressed in verses 39–52 contradict those in 1–38(53). In an attempt to address a related gap in the research in a new and supplementary way, a comparative-philosophical perspective is offered regarding the reasoning operative within the Psalm’s associated religious language. As counterpart, the so-called “Logical Problem of Evil” (LPE) in analytic philosophy of religion was identified. Conceptual and correlation-relations in Psalm 89 are clarified through correlation and contrast. The study argues that the logical status of the beliefs involved, as contradiction, makes more sense if interpreted as part of the protocol when prayer and poetry have to satisfy the conditions of a possible atheodicy. Thus, restating the Psalm’s associated content on its own terms, even if not in them, contributes to our understanding of why certain states of affairs in the world of the text are the way they are, or why they are at all.–3621/2021/v34n1a17


Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

  1. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
  2. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
  3. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).