Theodicy

Synopsis

book-cover-god-forsakenAvailable this fall (2015), I will conduct a 6 session class (usually 1 hour per week) about theodicy. Theodicy is a name given to the study of the existence of evil in the presence of a good and gracious God.  As our guide, we will follow Dinesh D’Souza’s book, God Forsaken: Is There a God Who Cares.

Each session will begin with a discussion taken from Mr. D’Souza’s book and then will be followed by a reading and discussion of some applicable biblical texts — but especially focusing on the book of Job. The discussions which ensue are sure to be rich and broad reaching. For example,

  • In 1970 500,000 lives were lost in Bangladesh as a result of the Bhola cyclone. One half of one million people wiped from the face of the earth. What was God thinking?tsunami-destruction
  • Betty lost her husband to a slow death from a horrible disease, all the while trying to be faithful, but, in the end, wondering, “How could my God allow this to happen?”
  • Joe grew up in a household which lacked nothing, went on a mission trip to a developing country where he encountered true poverty, disease, filth, malnutrition, and homelessness for the first time in his life.  Although some in his group came home energized in their faith and eager to do more, Joe was left with a pit in his stomach and many questions of God’s justice.
  • holocaustSix million Jews lost their lives under Hitler’s anti-Semitic genocide. The Jews were God’s chosen people. How could He have let this happen?

The existence of tragedy and moral evil in the presence of loving God is one that is as old and puzzling as the book of Job.  Many answers have been given, but even more questions remain.  In his book, “God Forsaken,” Dinesh D’Souza elegantly answers these questions in a compelling and refreshingly non-technical way.

Currently I am co-teaching this class with Pastor John LaMunyon at Sammamish Hills Lutheran Church at which he is the lead Pastor. You can browse the Church’s website for more details.

TIME and PLACE: To Be Determined
CONTACT: Michael Peterson

Supplementary Reading

Dennis Prager on Reason

Can Reason Alone Lead Us To Goodness and a Good World?

Dennis Prager on Theodicy

Here, Mr. Prager discusses the problem of evil and suffering in the presence of a good and gracious God. Mr. Prager has a radio show that, every Tuesday at 11:00 AM, called the “Ultimate Issues Hour”. Below is an hour dealing with the ultimate issue of why God permits evil to exist. It’s about 35 minutes in length and contains some very interesting discussions between Dennis and his callers.

Part I   Part II   Part III   Part IV

Leibniz on Theodicy

Here’s an interesting and brief and highly summarized description of how Leibniz, the famed mathematical philosopher, responded to theodical arguments.

Leibniz’s Theodicy

From David B. Hart,

Tsunami and Theodicy

Some Relevant Scripture for Reflection

Isaiah 45:7 (my translation)

Forming light and creating darkness
making peace and creating evil
I am the LORD making all these things

Amos 3:6 (my translation)

If a horn sounds in a city,
will its people not tremble?
If a calamity [befalls] a city,
is the LORD not the cause?

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