Was God Good Before Creation?

Yesterday I discussed one attempted solution to the problem of evil that students wrestled with, taking J. L. Mackie’s classic article, “Evil and Omnipotence,” as their starting point, together with the Book of Job and an excerpt from The Brothers Karamazov. Today I would like to focus in on another, the argument that good cannot [Read More…]

Free Will, Loving God, and the Problem of Evil

As I’ve been reading student papers about the problem of evil, several have offered the free will defense, arguing that free will is necessary for there to be love. That seems to me to be correct, but it has some corollaries that should not be missed. If creating free beings who can love you freely [Read More…]

Faith, Theodicy, and the Best of All Possible Universities

As I’ve been talking with my students about the problem of evil, and their papers on the topic, it struck me that there is a parallel between the educational experience that I’ve been subjecting them to, and the idea of greater good emerging out of first order evils that is discussed and rejected by J. L. [Read More…]

Batman Theodicy

From Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. It provides a nice illustration of how we sometimes accept an argument from a premise that we take for granted, without realizing that the premise itself is problematic and deserves examination.   [Read more…]

The Sparrow After 20 Years

Mary Doria Russell mentioned on her blog that a 20th anniversary edition of her novel The Sparrow is planned. That novel, together with its sequel Children of God, are ones that I have mentioned here before on more than one occasion (including a podcast as well as movie plans that, for better or worse, seem to [Read More…]

The Meaning of Tragedy

The quote comes from Rev. Stan Duncan’s article in the Huffington Post, “What God’s Role in Tragedy Really Is.” [Read more…]

Why Do Unsexy Things Happen to Sexy People?

SMBC has tackled the problem of evil. What do you make of its response? I have this discussion (about the problem of evil – not about fetishes) in my First Year Seminar class regularly. Does anyone actually want to live in a universe in which you get a cookie every time you do something good, and as a [Read More…]

Foolproof Theodicy?

Jonathan Bernier wrote this in a comment here on this blog, and I thought it deserved wider circulation. It seems to me that a foolproof theodicy would have to be one in which the innocent never suffer. Therefore it would have to argue that those who suffer are not innocent. Such a theodicy should be [Read More…]

How Could God Let This Happen?

From Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. You can insert many other remakes and make the same point. Although the fact that some of us have the luxury of asking why a benevolent God would allow bad movies, rather than why we have not had any food for a week, itself raises the problem of evil. Be [Read More…]

Proof of God?

While some religious believers argue against the Big Bang, others have seen it as proof of God. Such language is problematic. It is one thing to say that our universe seems to point beyond itself to something that came before it. It is quite another to try to use that as proof that one’s own ideas [Read More…]