Rethinking the Problem of Evil: A Unified Theodicy (Part 10) – Conclusion


A Unified Theodicy answers the logical problem of evil, evidential problem of evil, and existential problem of evil with one word: Love. Humans were created to love God and to love each other, but when we turned away from our purpose (which is sin) we introduced the world to evil. The irony, however, is that evil was allowed because God loved us.

He loved us enough to let us experience His love and return His love, which through our free will. But with free will inevitably comes a species that will choose sin, that will allow evil. But were God to prevent our free will because of His foreknowledge of what would occur then evil would have triumphed over God’s plans. Thus, God created us, refusing to let evil triumph over His love.

He loves us enough to allow specific acts of evil so that we might help display His love to those who suffer from evil. While some evils can be and are gratuitous, they only become so when we fail to respond to them with God’s love.

He loves us enough that when we suffer specific acts of evil, He is there to comfort us even if no rational explanation exists for why the evil occurred. What is more is that He experienced evil Himself on a cross, all on our behalf.

Certainly more can be added to this theory and other parts challenged. The specifics do leave many questions. Yet, I would contend that any future theodicies must take a whole view of the world into order and more importantly they must include the cross. In a theodicy we attempt to offer up an answer for the problem of evil, but we offer no solution. Only God has offered a solution to the problem of evil, something beyond an answer. For it is on the cross that gratuitous, unmerited, freely given, infinite, perfect love is given as God’s solution to evil.

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9 thoughts on “Rethinking the Problem of Evil: A Unified Theodicy (Part 10) – Conclusion

  1. Before anyone could display His perfect love to Baby P., Baby P. was tortured to death with multiple acts of evil.

    After the first few acts of evil by Baby P.s torturer, one solution God could have offered Baby P would have been SIDS, as God or one of his Plantinga’s created moral agents visits upon other toddlers apparently indiscriminently.

    How do you use Love to answer, solve, or justify what happened to Baby P?

    1. Read the entire series before pointing to this as a defeater. It’s not a defeater at all, but rather is explained within the series.

      1. I read a few of them of them. I’d class Baby P’s torture as one of the more grotesque evils and I imagine you think that the bit in part 7 evidential section somehow answers and solves it.

        I’d read summary point 4 as “Evil only becomes gratuitous when [moral agents] fail to act against it,” and include god as a culpable moral agent.

        If god uses the suffering of immature tortured-to-death toddlers as means to the end of teaching others to love, it is still a form of GG theodicy, even if you assess the responsibility for the evil solely upon the torturers. Assessing the responsibility to one set of moral actors, (the torturers) does not absolve all other moral agents, including god, of responsibility. Surely pulling out fingernails, breaking the spine, or burning a toddler in one’s care should suffice for damnation. Taken together repeatedly until murder, they are an Epicurian evil.

        Overall, “Christian Theodicy” might be a better term for this than “Unified Theodicy” since it might make clear what appears to be an extra premise: “The Christian God can do no evil”, or “There exist no evils attributable to the Christian god.

        Plantinga did a better job of avoiding dependencies on scripture.

      2. It’s not a G-G Theodicy at all because I’m not saying that a greater good is obtained by the gratuitous evil. Rather, I would contend that some good can come from the evil. Further, that God would allow said evil doesn’t make Him responsible, for the greater evil would be if He removed all free will from humanity.

      3. Oh, I see now — some good justifies some level of evil. And gratuitous evil is necessary because disallowing greater evils is a greater evil in itself because it necessarily eliminates all evils, some of which are justified if there is to be some good.

        You’ve convinced me of the insubstantiality of Epicurian evils in the light of the Greatest Good of God displaying the Essence of His Love to his creations.

        Thanks!

      4. That’s not what I have stated nor is it the entire theory of what was presented in the series.

        Please see our comment policy to see that we do not allow trolls.

  2. Oh, I wish I hadn’t read this, and when I wanted to comment I see you want people wishing to comment to read the other nine first. I’ll try. I really wanted to re-read the Stephen Hawking post and comment, but I’m tired.

  3. Joel:
    “But with free will inevitably comes a species that will choose sin, that will allow evil.”

    I’ve only read apart 4 (and most of 10) of the Theodicy series so far. Perhaps this statement would be clearer had I read all of your posts. Still, I don’t see how, e.g., angels fit into the category of “a species that [inevitably] will choose sin,” simply because they have free will. Is it because you do not believe angels have free will, or that Satan was not an angel, or that angels do not constitute a “species,” or what? Conservative biblical scholarship seems to hold that some angels did choose evil, but not the majority.

    Also, in your quote above I don’t understand the last phrase, “that will allow evil.” Gramattically, this phrase seems to equate choosing sin with allowing evil. Is that what you believe, or am I misunderstanding something?

    Cordially,

    1. You bring up a very good point and one that probably can’t be answered satisfactorily. I know St. John of Damascus deals with this a bit (there’s nothing St. John of Damascus can’t answer), but essentially what we know is that the angels were allowed free will and therefore some chose evil. That all didn’t could have something to do with God simply not allowing it, or that their will is different from ours (as we are made in the image of God and they were created for a different purpose).

      And yes, the quote is a grammatical error. It should read, “…, thus evil will be allowed” instead of “this will allow evil.”

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