Theodicy is basically the question of how might a omnipotent good God permit bad things to happen to good or innocent people. This brings me to a question to which I have no good answer. Is there a better way of doing things than the sort of world in which we live? Qualities we consider the Trinitarian God posses include a notion that free loving relationships are of primary importance. God therefore loves us and desires us to love him. Love cannot be coerced but must be freely given. On the apologetics boundary, in discussions between those who believe and those who don’t, theodicy is pointed at as a discussion about whether or not God can exist or not given the existence of evil. But, this question can be turned another way. That is to ask given a God with certain properties does our world fit the expectations of the sort of world that God might create?

So, what properties do we think that a loving God who desires the free-willed love of his creation might possess? One might suggest that the following two qualities be present; that one might rationally choose to love Him and to rationally choose to not do so and that the creatures in that world be free to act against what He might wish. Furthermore observing that those creatures (us) that he has created are (nominally) rational, following Genesis 1 (and the Kass reading of the same) that it is good that the world in which we dwell be rational.

When one considers rape or murder of an innocent and natural disasters, those are typically the problems to which questions of theodicy are more clearly in evidence. These things occur in our world with regrettable regularity. So here’s the flip side theodicy question; that is, if you think theodicy inconsistent with the existence of a omnipotent loving Good God, how would creation differ if that was the case? Does a world in which natural disasters only strike the wicked allow for a person to rationally turn away from God? Does a world in which a rapist is halted by invisible forces allow that?

The claim is that theodicy is an intractable problem for the believer given the evil in the world. I think that this is not necessarily the case, but that those who object to the current state of affairs have failed to provide examples of a reasonable alternative world. Failing to do that means their theodicy objections lack force, that is they object to a state of affairs which may actually be exactly what is prescribed.

Filed under: ChristianityMark O.Religion

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