Theodicy

Synopsis

Available this fall (2015), I will conduct a 6 session class (usually 1 hour per week) dealing with the topic of 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 second creation story and how God defines evil. 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?

      Bangladesh Tsunami, 1970

    • Janice 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 but then 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.

Statues at the Miami Holocaust Memorial

  • Six 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 questions over the existence of tragedy and moral evil in the presence of  good and 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 of Sammamish Hills Lutheran Church at which he is the lead Pastor.

TIME and PLACE: To Be Determined
CONTACT: Michael Peterson

Supplementary Reading

Dennis Prager On The Value of Reason

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

Michael Peterson: Does Reason Makes Us Human?

On Being Human

Leibniz on Theodicy

Here’s an interesting and brief and 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 and Discussion

Isaiah 45:7 (my translation)

Forming light and creating darkness,
but making peace and creating evil
I am the LORD doing 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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