Presentation on theme: "... then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. And."— Presentation transcript:
... then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed... But the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.' So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate... Then the LORD God said, 'See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever'- Genesis 2:4-24 Vast civilizations spread across the earth. No creature could compete with us and we dominated the whole world. The nature that bred us still lives in us. Civilized humans realized that we could have a better existence through cooperation with each other. But, deep within the large brain lurks the ever present competitive lust for superiority. That is, after all, how our species got to this point. Nature, red in tooth and claw, has been at work for almost four billion years developing the life-forms we see upon the earth. We are one of them. Eleventh Interlude - The Present
Culture has overridden nature for a blink of an eye in comparison to the long stretch of evolution so why should we be surprised when nature breaks the bounds of culture and we revert back to the creature hidden in the reptilian part of our brain. Nature is of itself not evil. We only interpret it to be so as it negatively affects our well being. Our competitive reptilian nature is only evil when it breaks with our culture. The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs was only evil to those it killed. It was a gift to us. However, nature not only lurks within our heads, it still lurks in the cosmos. These things are with us always and evil is ready to befall us at any moment. Eleventh Interlude - The Present - cont.
Two Recent Orthodox Theodicies John Hick's Theodicy Theodicy of Alvin Plantinga
Hick built on the theodicy of St. Irenaeus (d. ca. 200 CE). Augustine - humans created fully developed - perfect - in a paradise- we lost it all because of Adam's Fall - misuse of free will. Irenaeus - humans created innocent - imperfect and immature - not paradise. World a place designed for soul-making. God intended for his free willed creatures to be placed in an environment (containing evil) that would force them to grow spiritually and morally into true children of God. Evil is a means to an end - without evil, no means for spiritual development. John Hick's Theodicy
Eden and the Fall are myths -- the Fall is an account of what is happening now. Perfection of humanity lies in the future, not the past! We must grow into moral goodness rather than created morally mature. "A human goodness that has come about through the making of free and responsible moral choices, is intrinsically more valuable... " The world must operate according to predictable rules; where nature is independent of our desires. So that we have the possibility for moral and spiritual growth in the face of pain and suffering, indeed, genuine evil. John Hick's Theodicy - cont.
Suffering becomes the means to force us to search for meaning and God; it calls us to service to our fellow creatures. It pushes us toward moral maturity. The challenges must be real and the world must appear as if there were no God since -- His presence would be so overwhelming as to force His will upon us, making us to be not truly free to accept or reject Him. John Hick's Theodicy - cont.
Why is some suffering is so indiscriminate and harsh if the idea is to improve us. Hick ponders that question: Unless the suffering is really bad and undeserved for the sufferer, we may not feel such deeply personal sympathy and a desire to help. If each person was allotted his just deserts, whether for good or evil, the suffering of others would fail to have the power to draw us out of our self-centeredness. John Hick's Theodicy - cont.
Hick realizes that the magnitude of undeserved, indiscriminate, and gratuitous suffering calls for additional support and thus invokes eschatology. What about: Babies who die before having an opportunity for soul-making? Millions of years of suffering while evolution took its painful course? The Holocaust and the tsunami? How do we answer questions like these? John Hick's Theodicy - cont.
Our growth to spiritually maturity must continue after death. A greater good to justify the travail of the soul-making process. A fullness of life beyond this vale of tears. "The Kingdom of God will be infinite because eternal good, will outweigh all temporal and therefore finite evils." So, in the end, Hick takes the universalist approach similar to that taken by the Church Father, Origen 1800 years ago; all will eventually be saved. Problem: Still, one has to ask -- if God will make everything and everyone perfect eventually, why didn't God just start out that way to begin with? John Hick's Theodicy - cont.
Several people that Alvin Plantinga calls atheologians, have made the claim that the theist holds beliefs that are logically inconsistent. One example: Evil is a problem for the theist in that a contradiction is involved in the fact of evil, on the one hand, and the belief in the omnipotence and perfection of God on the other. (H. J. McCloskey) Theodicy of Alvin Plantinga
Plantinga attempts to show that logical inconsistencies of the existence of both evil and God are not really so -- in fact, they are compatible. He qualifies the usual theodicy trilemma: God is "all good only if he eliminates every evil state of affairs which is not a logically necessary condition of a good state of affairs that outweighs it." The atheologian counters -- there is "no case of severe, protracted, involuntary human pain is ever outweighed by any good state of affairs." Theodicy of Alvin Plantinga - cont.
The atheologian's evidential argument may convince another atheist, but does not logically contradict the beliefs of the theist. Plantinga builds on the free-will theodicy of Augustine, which he says does justify evil in the world: "... perhaps there are certain good states of affairs that an omnipotent God cannot bring about without permitting evil, despite the fact that these goods are not a logically sufficient condition of any evil at all. This is sometimes called the free will defense... " Theodicy of Alvin Plantinga - cont.
He explains his free will defense by claiming that free will is of moral value. If God makes you, your will is not free. God must bring about the best possible world-- and a morally free creature is a necessary part of that world. Therefore, God must create a world with free will built-in to its fabric. God is then not responsible for humanities evil choices, since it is not in His power to bring it about that men freely chose only the good. Theodicy of Alvin Plantinga - cont.
Problem: But, why so much freedom? Why is it a good thing that God does not intervene in the case of horrendous moral evils. - Freedom could be mitigated by reducing the power of free people to inflict great harm on others. - If God created our human nature along with free will, why not simply create a kinder gentler nature? We would still have free will but less moral evil. Plantinga also posits transworld depravity*, where in every world that God could create that offers its inhabitants free will, at least one person will choose evil, therefore it is impossible to create a world in which evil does not exist. * to be used only to impress at cocktail parties Theodicy of Alvin Plantinga - cont.
Problem: A serious problem with the free will theodicy is that it does not really address natural evil. Why would any free moral transgression cause an earthquake? Perhaps --- - Sin of Adam corrupted the entire natural order, liberally interpreting the statement of St. Paul in Romans 8:20-22: "We know that the whole of creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation,..." - God's curse on Adam in Genesis 3:17, "cursed is the ground because of you," could be employed to indicate a corruption of the entire natural order. Theodicy of Alvin Plantinga - cont.
- The free will of malevolent supernatural beings that cause natural evils. Sin began in heaven with the angels when the "son of Dawn" led a group of the first of God's created beings in a rebellion against God's authority. How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!... But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit (Isaiah 14:12-15). The "Day Star, son of Dawn" is supposed to be Satan who is usually considered to be the snake in the Garden of Eden who led Adam and Eve to succumb to the sins of pride and disobedience. Natural evil followed as the consequence of moral evil. Adam and Eve's sin is the reason for pain in childbirth, destructive forces in nature, arduous work for bread, and physical death. Theodicy of Alvin Plantinga - cont.
Here, God did not ordain the bad choices made by neither Satan nor by Adam and Eve; all of their choices were freely made. They could have chosen to do what God wanted. Problems: This story: - is made up of misinterpretations of the scriptures*. - gives a lot of power to one mythical man. - shows that God can really hold a grudge. - indicates that they were entrapped. - certainly reduces the power of God to have the uncontrollable supernatural beings of Dualism on the loose. * the Day Star was not Satan, but a reference to Babylonian rulers (claimed to be astral gods of the dawn -- Venus) eventual downfall Theodicy of Alvin Plantinga - cont.
The Problem of Evil exists only when we simultaneously attempt to reconcile the traditional omni attributes of God with the fact of evil in the world. The Problem disappears if any one of these attributes is forfeited. What of some other attributes of God? A key attribute that Jesus personified is humility. According to Pauline theology, Jesus emptied Himself of all divine power in order to become a man. Perhaps God empties Himself by allowing the universe the freedom to unfold as it will. This recognizes the will of the creature, while at the same time allowing that will to cause evil. Here we will look at some modern attempts to justify evil by somewhat eliminating the traditional orthodox attributes. A Break with Orthodoxy
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881 - 1955), a Jesuit priest was one of the first thinkers to realize that, if religion was going to be successful in the future, it would have to come to terms with science. This he did by teaching a combination of Darwinian evolution and Christian theology. The Evolutionary Theology of Teilhard de Chardin
Teilhard's theory was that man, and the entire universe, were moving through stages of development. Starting with the Big Bang -- the structure of universe evolved by layers of complexity from elementary particles, atoms, molecules (the geosphere), simplest life forms, protozoa, plants, animals, primates and man (the biosphere) to socialization (the noosphere) and then to an ultimate spiritual unity. The universe is in an evolutionary process that would culminate in the final unity he called the Omega point. The Evolutionary Theology of Teilhard de Chardin - cont.
Within each layer, things get more and more complex ( e.g., atoms from simple hydrogen to complex uranium), then, at a certain point, in-layer complexification stops and continues on a higher level, with the lower levels remaining as building blocks. Complexification had continued to progress from simplicity to the level of consciousness. Consciousness will in turn emerge into the highest form of spirituality. He equates the Omega point with God. All elements become one with God -- "God all in everyone." The Evolutionary Theology of Teilhard de Chardin - cont.
He says Christian doctrine must change -- There was no Original Sin, no fallen first parent and, therefore, no need for a redemption of fallen humanity. In most of the theodicies of the past, the universe was seen as static, once and for all creation by God where humans appeared in a completed finished form. Those theodicies failed to take the dynamic system of evolution into consideration and thus were unsuccessful in their task of justifying evil in God's good world. The Evolutionary Theology of Teilhard de Chardin - cont.
The theodicy of Teilhard summarized: "In the Universe of Cosmogenesis, in which Evil is no longer catastrophic (i.e., no longer the result of an accident) but evolutive (i.e., the statistically unavoidable by-product of a universe in course of unification in God." Evil is just the growing pains of the cosmic process. He paved the way for other thinkers to use his evolutionary concepts. One of those who did was Alfred North Whitehead. The Evolutionary Theology of Teilhard de Chardin - cont.
The discerning Christian may have noticed the extreme dichotomy between the God of the Hebrew Bible and the God of Greek philosophy-based orthodox Christianity. In the former, God is a person who interacts and is affected by His creatures. In the latter, God is unchangeable, impassible, posses aseity, and is far beyond the reach of His creatures. A rather strained theology attempts to merge the two... Process theology has developed from the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, as modified by Charles Hartshorne and others. It has become quite influential in liberal Protestantism, Unitarian Universalism and non-Orthodox Judaism. Whitehead's Process Theology
Traditionally, the fundamental reality is Being. Being is made up of matter consisting of particles and composites of particles (i.e., atoms and molecules). Matter is inert until acted upon by some outside force which may move or change it. What if, instead of Being, the fundamental reality is Becoming where the primal things are not particles but rather events, occurrences, or processes? What if reality consists of instances of change and to be actual is to be a process? The basic units of reality in Whitehead's world he calls actual occasions. Whitehead's Process Theology - cont.
Fundamental reality is basically an evolving process. Reality is not a collection of static particles, rather it is made up of building blocks called actual entities or actual occasions -- consider them "beings" that are in the process of development. The building blocks possess some freedom to develop according to some organizing principle that is capable of creating order out of chaos. That principle is called God -- unlike other entities in that He is imperishable and is the root of causation. God essentially creates order out of chaos and not ex nihilo as many Church Fathers had claimed. Whitehead's Process Theology - cont.
This idea of creation matches that of Plato and some early Church Fathers in that evil is possible due to the limitations of the imperfect material God had to work with. Since all entities are free, God can organize by persuasive love only; never coercion. All activities of any actual occasion (entity) affects all others, thus God not only influences and affects other entities, but is influenced and affected by them. Whitehead's Process Theology - cont.
Instead of a lot of atoms acted upon by forces, the world is a lot of happenings or processes acting of their own volition. In the beginning was God and an uncreated chaos of actual occasions. God was powerful in that He set about to influence the actual occasions to evolve into the creaturely reality we see about us. God was not all powerful since the actual occasions have an inherent primal creativity and power which allows it to choose to actualize one of the potential ways it can become. Whitehead's Process Theology - cont.
God in Process Theology is not the omnipotent impassible God of later Greek philosophy and cannot impose His will on human beings. God has limited omnipotence allowing Him to comply with the decisions made by humans. Also, not omniscient, since the future is not yet actualized and therefore unknown.
This reconciles God with the state of the world by not even attempting to argue for God's omnipotence. God is already doing everything in His power to persuade His creatures to do good and prevent evil; therefore He is not responsible for the evil that does actually occur. Problem: this wipes out thousands of years of established classical theology and is supported only by the fact that it solves the Problem of Evil. Whitehead's Process Theology - cont.
Many in the Protestant Evangelical community have sought to reconcile the fact of evil by acknowledging that God is limited in His Omniscience, therefore unable to see the future until it is actualized by our free-will choices. Claim to have Biblical support - God makes mistakes, is surprised, changes His mind and adapts to humanity's free will choices: Gen 22:12. He said, "Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." Exodus 32:14. And the LORD changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people. Open Theism (also called Free Will Theism)
There are many more Biblical examples where the God of the Old Testament is seen as very different from the God of the Philosophers and the orthodoxy of the developed Church. Some Open Theists - in order that humans retain their free will and thus be responsible for their own actions, God must limit his knowledge of the future and act only cooperatively with His children. Other Open Theists - God can know all that is knowable, leaving His omniscience in tact. It is simply a fact of logic that the future has not yet happened, so even the omniscient God cannot be aware of what is to come. Open Theism - cont.
A contemporary proponent of Open Theism, Gregory Boyd, has this to say about the future: "Much of it [the future], open theists will concede, is settled ahead of time, either by God's predestinating will or by existing earthly causes, but it is not exhaustively settled ahead of time. To whatever degree the future is yet open to be decided by free agents, it is unsettled." Open Theism - cont.
In either case, humans are free to use their will to either obey God and be saved or disobey and be lost. The human free will is completely in control of one's eternal destiny. This has the benefit of placing responsibility on the human being for his sins and relieves God of the seemingly injustice of arbitrarily electing some to salvation and letting the rest be damned. Calvin would not be pleased with this theology! Open Theism - cont.
To the Open Theist, evil exists because God has limitations. This frees God from being the author of evil, but raises the question of whether this limited God is worthy of worship. Problem: Unfortunately, this theodicy suffers from the same problem that undermines Process Theology - namely, this God is not the God of classical Western religions. Open Theism - cont.
VOTE Now's the time to participate and vote for your top two theodicies. We'll give the results after the next section.
In spite of the claimed infallibility of some revealed religions, we want to know more... And, maybe we can with the assistance of modern scientific concepts. We've discussed the various historical theodicies that religions have developed in order to save the goodness of God -- which is inconsistent with the fact of moral and natural evil in the world. One mentioned earlier on my list of 16, was taken from chapter nine of the ancient book of Ecclesiastes. Toward A Rational Theodicy Built on Modern Science
Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the skillful; but time and chance happen to them all. For no one can anticipate the time of disaster. Like fish taken in a cruel net, and like birds caught in a snare, so mortals are snared at a time of calamity, when it suddenly falls upon them. Eccl 9:11-12 This puts the lie to the promises of Deuteronomy where goodness is said to be rewarded. Here, the good things that people do are insufficient for guaranteeing a reward. Indeed, even badness may well be rewarded depending on time and chance! Rational Theodicy - Time and Chance
Jesus acknowledged that natural evil in the form of accidents bears no relationship with the righteousness of the victims. When asked about an accident: Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them - do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? Luke 13:1-4 His reply was, no. Jesus didn't think the accident was a punishment for sin. He also didn't question why God would allow such an evil to befall his children. He simply assumed that the world worked that way and God was not involved for either good or ill. Rational Theodicy - New Testament
Most theodicies reasonably address moral evil in which a person's free will allows bad things to affect others. These theodicies fail to convince when natural evil is involved, such as the case of an inanimate object (the Siloam tower) killing innocent bystanders. So, we'll address natural evils. Rational Theodicy - Moral vs. Natural Evil
Rational Theodicy - Quantum Physics and Chaos theory Is the future: Determined(settled) Indetermined(open)
Predestination eliminates human free will and condemns everyone to a fate that was predetermined before the creation of the world. St. Augustine was troubled by this doctrine but, in his zeal to counter the Pelagian heresy, he came down firmly on the side of double predestination and a settled future. That the future is thus determinant has been supported by many philosophies (i.e., Stoics) and many churchmen (i.e., Augustine and Calvin). As we've seen in the science lectures, it was also supported by Newtonian science. Rational Theodicy - Determinism
With both science and religion working against indeterminism, human free will and the ability to alter a fated future did not stand much of a chance. Modern physics has completely changed that mindset and has established that indeterminism is a fact of the natural world. This has elevated human choice once again to its proper place, and it has also allowed for a positive theology of evil that is real and exists in the realm of being where we can have some control over it. We can alter potential evil by taking a useful action. Rational Theodicy - Determinism - cont.
Totally random and uncaused events happen at the quantum level, and chaos theory states that minute initial conditions of any system are enormously amplified in the course of time that the system is in operation. The famous example of chaos theory is: a butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil and causes a later massive storm in America. The slight movement of air from the butterfly's wings results, over time, in a storm. Any slightly different flapping would have caused a completely different effect. As with the ending of my story... Rational Theodicy - Indeterminism
But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Mark 13:24 It was discovered only a few weeks ago and it was coming fast. Events set in play fifteen billion years ago were about to reach completion. The vast majority of those events worked for our benefit and for those we are grateful. Twelfth Interlude -- ~ Sometime after the Present
These events could be attributed to the hand of God and maybe they were. But not all of the events were beneficial, so do we really want to put the attribution for them on God? Five billion years before the present, the laws of physics had set in motion an event for which we will not be grateful. It was caused by a combination of quantum theory, atomic physics, chaos theory and simple celestial mechanics. This one we will definitely call evil. Twelfth Interlude -- ~ Sometime after the Present - cont.
5 Billion years in the making caused by natural laws even- plate tectonics Twelfth Interlude -- ~ Sometime after the Present - cont.
So, how does science help in offering a rational theodicy? After all, God could have: - Intervened by turning aside the comet at any time during its flight. - Changed the initial conditions by having the radioactive event affect the comet slightly differently. - Not allowed the random quantum event to happen in the first place. Notwithstanding what God could have done, we know that natural disasters actually happen all the time according to the laws of nature (as described by science) and, therefore, that God has done none of these necessary preventive measures. Toward a Rational Theodicy
So, are we not back to the same ancient Israelite belief that God is the maker of both good and evil? On the one hand, yes, in that He could intervene in natural evils. On the other hand, no, in that He did not cause the natural evil - it was truly random. But still, why would God make a universe that works according to the natural laws, revealed by modern science, that allows evil to happen? Well, consider the alternative. Toward a Rational Theodicy - cont.
A universe made another way means that everything could either be totally pre-determined, or that it would be totally micro-managed. Either obviates any possibility of independent action, or choice for any sentient beings, including us. And, a God who: Would predetermine our eternal fate Would micro-manage events that lead to the deliberate suffering of the righteous innocent, is not worthy of consideration. Of course, God may do either, or both, of these things and not really care about our consideration. Toward a Rational Theodicy - cont.
Concluding Statement --- No, it is better to accept the wisdom of Ecclesiastes (buttressed with the findings of modern science), and assign the natural evils of the world to the vagaries of time and chance. Toward a Rational Theodicy - cont.
I say "Toward a Rational Theodicy." What are the ramifications of my concluding statement? Toward a Rational Theodicy - cont.
"Time and chance" does not actually justify the actions of God to Man. So, this is not a complete theodicy. We need something more. Where is God or what is He doing during the time and chance events? not exist be retired use as test use as punishment limit His participation... most of the other theodicies we've discussed -----
Having examined most of the sixteen theodicies I laid out in an earlier section, it is now appropriate to comment on the pros and cons of each of them. 1. Deny God. Deny the very existence of God. This, of course is not really a theodicy since no justification of God is attempted since God is assumed to not exist. The syllogisms for both the logical and evidential Problem of Evil are sufficient to convince an atheist that he or she is right. It has also very likely converted many theists from their belief in God since it is such a powerful argument. How, indeed, can an omnipotent, omniscient, and all loving God exist when He apparently does nothing to stop the terrible moral and natural evils in the world? Of course, justifying an existent God is the very aim of any theodicy. The Sixteen Theodicies Revisited
2. Dualism. Evil is not of God's doing. Assert that there is a duality in the cosmos between spirit and matter (flesh) or between good and evil. Zoroaster, the Orphics, the Essenes, the Gnostics, the Manichees, and more thought they had the problem solved by introducing an evil entity that could fight the good God, thus absolving Him of the responsibility for the evil in the world. This is a good ploy to justify God, but there are two large problems with it: one is that it obviates monotheism and the other that is establishes evil as a real thing. Even if the evil entity is less gifted than the good one, it's still a henotheism at best. If the evil entity (Satan for Christianity) is a real being, then the Neo-Platonic/Augustinian claim that evil is a privation of Being doesn't work. The Sixteen Theodicies Revisited - cont.
3. All are guilty due to free will. We all sin of our own free will and all are guilty and deserving of suffering. Human guilt (original sin) is blamed on the Fall in Eden by St. Augustine (354-430 CE). Theologian Alvin Plantinga is a modern proponent of Augustine's theory. Problems: If God created our human nature along with free will, why not simply create a kinder gentler nature? We would still have free will but less moral evil. Does not address natural evil. Gives a lot of power to one mythical man. Shows that God can really hold a grudge. Adam and Eve were entrapped since God set them up. Reduces the power of God to have the uncontrollable supernatural beings of Dualism on the loose. The Sixteen Theodicies Revisited - cont.
4. Means to an end - educational. Suffering is a tool God uses that serves the purpose of "soul-making" by providing a means of spiritual development. Pain causes us to recognize our need for God. This solution was first suggested by St. Irenaeus (130-202 CE) and again in the twentieth century by theologian John Hick. Problem: One has to ask -- if God will make everything and everyone perfect eventually, why didn't God just start out that way to begin with? The Sixteen Theodicies Revisited - cont.
5. Only temporary. This earthly life is short and there will be an afterlife to make up for our suffering. This is the eschatological solution. Sometimes this solution stands alone as with the Maccabees in their martyrdom against the Syrian oppressors. But it is found as a supplement to other theodicies such as Hicks soul-making where the gratuitous evils are so great as to render his primary theodicy moot and calls for an afterlife to make up for them. 6. Illusionary. This world is not real and suffering is an illusion; it is only apparent. Alternatively, what appears evil is due to our lack of understanding God's bigger plan. What appears to be evil actually gives rise to a greater benefit. The Hindus and Buddhists exemplify this theodicy. I did not address this one in the body of my text because I do not consider it to be a theodicy at all. If we just look at the Buddhist case, it is not an explanation of evil or suffering in the face of a good God. Rather, it is a way of divorcing oneself from the world of material perception and retreating... The Sixteen Theodicies Revisited - cont.
7. The created is imperfect. The creator is the only perfect Being; therefore the created must be imperfect and thus capable of evil. The higher the Being, the more the goodness. Lack of Being, hence a lack of goodness, allows evil. Evil is really a privation of good (privatio boni). This explanation of evil can be found in Plato, Plotinus and Augustine. This one is hard to argue against. Going against Plato, Plotinus and Augustine would be the height of arrogance. Nevertheless, I see two problems. One, why couldn't God have created from His own substance, nullifying this argument. Two, just as in number 2 above, it conflicts with the other, sometimes jointly held, belief in a real evil entity (e.g., Satan). The Sixteen Theodicies Revisited - cont
8. Deny the interaction of God with creation. Although God set the creation in motion, He has retired from active involvement. This is the position of the Deists. The major "pro" in this is that it definitely absolves God from direct participation in evil. It does, however, smack of desertion... The Sixteen Theodicies Revisited - cont.
9. Limit God. Deny some of God's conflicting attributes. This approach has been taken by some schools of the Jewish mystical Kabbalah and is held by many liberal and Evangelical Christians today. I would argue that this one must be part of any satisfactory rational theodicy. As long as God is laden with the attributes inherited from the Greek philosophers, there is no hope of justifying that God in the face of evil. The Sixteen Theodicies Revisited - cont.
10. Time and Chance. Suffering or reward is not dependent on one's deeds but on the vagaries of time and chance as explained in Ecclesiastes 9:11 and alluded to in Luke 13:4. This fits the apparent facts that we see all around us. Jesus agreed that the deaths at the tower of Siloam was a natural accident. Wrong place wrong time. God did not do it... But, does it justify God for allowing such things to happen? I don't see how it does, therefore there must be something else added to the mix to make this one work. The Sixteen Theodicies Revisited - cont.
11. Karma. This is similar to the "all are guilty" version above. However, with karma, the person suffers evil because of guilt he has accumulated in past incarnations. This works well for the Eastern religions and even Plato suggested this. However, it is not appropriate for the God of the Hebrew or Christian Bible. Appropriate or not, it explains the suffering in the world better than almost anything else could. God is not to blame for the failures of the individual who freely chooses to act, and accumulate karma, in such a way as to condemn himself to reincarnation and future suffering. It is up to us to get off the wheel of suffering and avoid the evils of the world. The Sixteen Theodicies Revisited - cont.
12. It is a test. Suffering is allowed to test one's faith. Job is an example. A sovereign God can do what He pleases to His creatures, but a good God would not do so. Besides, if God posses the attribute of omniscience, what is the purpose of a test for which the outcome is already predetermined by divine foresight? The Sixteen Theodicies Revisited - cont.
13. Evil allows for second order virtues. Similar to "soul making," in that we can not develop some virtues (e.g., courage) in response to some evil (e.g., war). You can't have one without the other. The best thing going for this one is that it is true. But, to sacrifice one for the benefit of another is not usually considered a good thing. The Sixteen Theodicies Revisited - cont.
14. It is a mystery. An infinite Being is beyond our finite grasp. As spoken in Isaiah: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord." Therefore, it is wrong to even develop theodicies. Many in the Reformed Churches hold this view. If one buys into the sovereign God can do whatever He wants and that's OK proposition, then this works. But, they still develop theodicies anyway by altering the conclusion of the POE syllogism to reflect that evil is for a greater good or that evil will eventually go away... 15. Evil glorifies God. God decreed evil ultimately for His own glory. Therefore, it is sinful and un-Scriptural to propose any theodicies. This is the position of the Calvinists. Is God so insecure that He needs to make us suffer in order to glorify Himself? Is such a God worthy of worship or even admiration? The Sixteen Theodicies Revisited - cont.
16. God is unjust. God is not morally good. Few have dared to claim that God is evil. Rather, they claim that whatever God does is, by definition, beyond our moral ability to judge. Some claim that since perfection implies no lack whatsoever, that God must not lack that which is evil. If there is only one sovereign power in the universe and there is evil, it follows therefore that God is the author of both good and evil... The Sixteen Theodicies Revisited - cont.
Results of the Vote With ONE slide to go, let's look at your vote.
1. Deny God. Deny the very existence of God. Modern science by itself explains natural evil completely -- the world acts independently of our desires -- but our goal was to establish a genuine justification of evil in a good God's world -- so this is out for that purpose! 8. Deny the interaction of God with creation. He retired after creation. 9. Limit God. Deny some of God's conflicting attributes. 10. Time and Chance. Suffering or reward is not dependent on one's deeds but on the vagaries of time and chance. General Solutions to the Theodicy Problem - Various Historical Solutions - cont. [ These Would Work ]