Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Problem of Evil pt 2

The problem of evil has multiple possible solutions but Erickson offers us three which are finitism (the rejection of omnipotence), then the modification of the idea of God’s goodness, and lastly is the denial of evil. While these three are options none of them are sufficient at solving the problem of evil, they either deny the immense power of God, make God the author of evil even though they would argue they do  not, or say that there is no real evil just perceived evil. Erickson observes that

Feinberg has well observed that the problem of evil must be considered within the context of a given theology and what such concepts as evil, good, and freedom mean within that system. It is quite unfair for example to criticize a given theodicy for not accounting for evil as understood by some other school of thought unless a proof is advanced that all schools of thought must necessarily regard the concept of evil in this fashion.[1]
This pretty much is telling us that it is unfair to criticize one way of thinking because we may be playing chess and they are playing checkers. As human beings we misunderstand what good and evil are because we often equate them with our personal response. “Good is to be defined in relationship to the will and being of God. Good is what glorifies him, fulfills his will, conforms to his nature.”[2] It is common for us to look at stories in the Bible like that of Joseph and his brothers and say while it was evil in human understanding, but it was really good, that is not the best way to understand these things. “Good consequences may indicate that these actions have promoted the plan of God, and hence should be regarded as good; but good consequences do not make these actions good. What makes the actions good is that God has willed them.”[3]
Often time’s humans think of evil only as it affects us and rarely do we consider the effects it has on God. Evil hurts us, our understanding of the world and touches everything around us. One of the greatest encouragements we could ever be offered is knowing “that God took sin and its evil effects on himself …to be the solution of the problem of evil.”[4]

[1] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998)447.
[2] Ibid., 450.
[3] Ibid., 452.
[4] Ibid., 456.

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