January 10, 2011

Evil & Suffering XXIII: The Explanation That Works For Me

This is the lead-in to my conclusion or summary/synopsis which will be spread over three more posts this week.

At this point I stand on the "concurrence" side of the discussion. This is the primary reason I have focused along these lines while writing this paper. Since theodicy is such a large topic and I quickly learned that it was easy to get lost pursing rabbit trails I tried to immediately reign in divergent thoughts and wrestle them into the intended context of this paper. The context being a defense against errant worldview attacks on God’s sovereignty, providence, omnipotence or omni-benevolence. I lean towards Calvinism in my belief that there can be a predestination for man concurrent and coincidental to man's free will or ability to make his own choices. God may not intend it or even like man's sinful decisions (obviously) but He allows them. He chooses to because it He is Sovereign and omnipotent and can do anything He wishes...even working through man's bad decisions. That is part of the mystery of God. I read it in the Bible and see it in the narrative and know it exists but I can offer no human explanation of how He can do it. That is why He is God and I am not. He is holy and I can only aspire to holiness through the work of His Son and Holy Spirit.

I believe and agree with others that conjecture that evil and its derivatives such as suffering and pain are a direct result of the Fall in Eden. This then enforces my belief that evil in the world found its inception in the free will given to humanity. To me this is the only acceptable and logical conclusion that clears God’s holy name and distances Him from evil. It is the view that aligns best with the Biblical view of God. It is the philosophical/theological view that best parallels the attributes and actions of the God described throughout the Bible. It also offers the most comprehensive and consistent description of the world that I see around me…even the evil and suffering within it.

I have found that where many theodicies fail or fall short is when they fail to describe God with His proper attributes and do a good job of putting Him forth to the world. We as intelligent believers need to show Him as He is and the way He has clearly revealed Himself. The way he is revealed in the Scripture is the way he needs to be revealed to believers and non-believers alike. To do any less portrays Him as something less than He is. This in turn leads to questions and doubts raised during times of duress that portray God as inadequate when nothing could be further from the truth. It is in these situations where we see God portrayed as less than omnipotent. We see him as an apathetic our uncaring God like our Deistic friends see him. He appears as an aloof watchmaker who cares nothing for the beings within His creation. In the worst situation He appears non-existent as in the case of atheists (Carson 27, 30).

It has often been my experience that people who thought they could handle suffering or certain evils…were only tested to a certain point. They had a small semi-encapsulating worldview and explanation of suffering and evil that worked. It worked until a tragedy entered their life that blew them out of the water entirely like a torpedo. It was then that they either learned that their worldview or view of God was not adequate or it was at these times their faith was increased and became stronger. If it didn’t their entire worldview began to cave in and dissolved like a castle made of sand.

1 comment:

ArtWerx said...

i like the way you take up a subject, in the same way one might walk into a room & pick up the newspaper, or make oneself a sandwich. of COURSE it's all about Man's Free Will!...& smokin' out the Bad Guys so that Good Can Triumph! often when i feel oppressed or challenged by evil or temptation, i will say right out loud: "I'm going to Heaven, & when i do, God's Enemies Are Not Coming With Me!" the atmosphere around me clears up like a sunny day! it's puzzlingly rare though, for the subject of mankind's free will to surface in "high concept" discussions. i wonder why would that be?

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