Monday, September 28, 2009

Christians need not be intellectually troubled that they can’t fully explain why God allows evil

In our home group we have just begun a study on D.A. Carson's book, How Long O Lord. (If you have not read this book I would say that it is one book that you should read for sure, especially before you endure significant suffering.)

In light of our discussion last night, I found this post from Chris Brauns to be quite insightful:

A theodicy is “a defense of God’s goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil.” A theodicy speaks to the question, “If God is good and all-powerful, how do we explain the existence of evil.”

So how do Christians explain the problem of evil?

The reality is, we can’t provide an exhaustive theodicy or explanation of the existence of evil. Our minds cannot fully fathom “why.”

But, in his recommended book, Return to Reason, Kelly Clark, explains why Christians need not feel intellectually compromised if they cannot explain the existence of evil. Here is how he concludes the discussion.

The Christian theist need not be troubled by is his ignorance of a theodicy. This ignorance is not insincere, questionable or obscurantist. Rather, it is quite consistent with his theistic beliefs. The Christian theist will believe that God has a good reason for allowing evil, although he does not know what it is or know it in any detail. He believes that God has a good reason because of God’s redemptive incarnational revelation. It is not rationally incumbent upon the theist to produce a successful theodicy; the theist, in order to be rational, must simply believe that God has a good reason for allowing evil. A God who shares in our pain, who redeems our sorrows and our shortcomings, who wipes away ever tear, is surely a good God. (page 89).


If you want to stretch yourself intellectually, and learn more about Reformed epistemology, then this is an excellent place to begin.

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