Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Theodicies

I have a bad habit! (well, maybe a few..but I only want to talk about this one today) I am a "quote collector". Say what? Yes, I collect quotes.....on various subjects. Now here is the problem. Where did these quotes come from? Who said that? I have recently changed my bad habit in that when a quote is collected on any subject I reference the subject, the source, and the author. However, the quotes that I am placing before you today....may or may not have the source OR the author, just the quote. So...if any of you recognize either the source or the author, please feel free to click on the comment link below and inform me of these missing details.

Most of these quotes, I have since determined, come from HERE.

My subject is "Theodices" which is based on the following syllogistic format. But first, the definition of a Theodicy...." A vindication of the justice of God in ordaining or permitting natural and moral evil". (Webster)
  1. The world was created by an all-powerful and all-loving God.
  2. Evil exists in the creation.
  3. If God were all-powerful, he could immediately destroy evil.
  4. If God were all-loving, he would immediately destroy evil.
  5. Therefore, God cannot be both all-powerful and all-loving.

EVIL—(collected quotes)

  • That is a very, very compelling point coming from the rabbi. In other words, to argue against the existence of God based on the existence of evil forces us into saying something like this: Evil exists, therefore there is no God. If there is no God then good and evil are relative and not absolute, so true evil doesn't exist, contradicting the first point. Simply put, there cannot be a world in which it makes any sense to say that evil is real and at the same time say that God doesn't exist. If there is no God then nothing is ultimately bad, deplorable, tragic or worthy of blame. The converse, by the way, is also true. This is the other hard part about this, it cuts both ways. Nothing is ultimately good, honorable, noble or worthy of praise. Everything is ultimately lost in a twilight zone of moral nothingness. To paraphrase the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer, the person who argues against the existence of God based on the existence of evil in the world has both feet firmly planted in mid-air.

  • If God wiped out all the evil in the world tonight at midnight, where would you and I be at 12:01? See, the fact is that God's going to do a complete job when he finally deals with evil. C.S. Lewis makes the point when he says, "I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does....When the author walks on the stage the play is over." Evil deeds can never be isolated from the evil doer. Our prints, yours and mine, are on the smoking gun.

  • What's curious to me in dealing with this issue is that no one raises the issue of whether one ought to continue to believe in the goodness of man after these kinds of tragedies. We see things like the Holocaust, the crime level, the innocent suffering at the hands of other human beings more often than not, and instead of shaking our fists at humankind who perpetrate the action we shake our fists at God. I don't get it.

  • Dennis Prager says, "Whenever I meet someone who claims to find faith in God impossible, but who persists in believing in the essential goodness of humanity, I know that I have met a person for whom evidence is irrelevant." ( Ultimate Issues , July- September, 1989) I like that. I think that hits the nail on the head. The last thought I will offer is just another curious one from my perspective as I hear these kinds of responses. We live our lives in rebellion to God, constantly disobeying Him, constantly disregarding him, refusing to live according to His precepts and according to His rules, and then we wonder where He is when things go wrong. Let that one sink in a little bit.

  • For example, certain virtues couldn't exist without evil: courage, mercy, forgiveness, patience, the giving of comfort, heroism, perseverance, faithfulness, self-control, long-suffering, submission and obedience, to name a few. These are not virtues in the abstract, but elements of character that can only be had by moral souls. Just as evil is a result of acts of will, so is virtue. Acts of moral choice accomplish both. Augustine knew that evil was real. Independent evidence (natural theology) was enough to convince him that God existed and that everything He created would be good. Evil, then, must be something real, but not a "thing" in the conventional sense. Evil is not a created thing, but spoiled goodness made possible by the free moral agency of rational creatures. Evil is not something present, but something missing, a privation. ---Gregory Koukl, Augustine on Evil

  • Job had learned this simple lesson long before his testing. In answer to his wife's reflection on God, he replied "What? Shall we receive good from the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" We can almost hear someone shout "Blasphemy!" when they read this. But the divine comment is, "In all this did not Job sin with his lips" (Job 2: 10). "Out of the mouth of the Most High proceedeth not evil and good?" (Lam.3:38).

To the above bad habit, I have now added, "collector of videos". Here is one that I ran across that puts a conclusion on this blog entry:


Final Quote
If there is no God then there is no answer to the pastoral question of personal suffering and evil . It 's not there--your suffering is meaningless. But if there is a God, and if that God is the God of the Bible, then at least we have the potential of an answer. There's some kind of comfort there. God is ultimately good and just, and one day the accounts will be perfectly balanced. We can place ourselves in the hands of a powerful Creator who, by all other evidence, loves us, cares for us and comforts the afflicted. One Who will not break off a bent reed and Who will not put out a smoldering wick. One Who will hold us close to Himself. There is at least the possibility that this suffering and pain can make sense because God can use it for good in our lives. (Greg Koukl)

1 comment:

krista lee said...

I really want to comment, but the only word I can seem to find is wow! Wow! How true it is that we start with us and judge God on how well he carries out our agenda. This blog and the video certainly puts it into perspective.