The Bible never mounts an effort at theodicy, an effort to save the character of God from harmful inferences derived from the presence of evil.  Evil is allowed in the world for reasons God has never seen fit fully to disclose and which no human wisdom, Christian or otherwise, has been able fully to discover or to explain.  As we have seen, evil is not beyond His control.  This has prompted such biblical sayings as, “Surely, the wrath of man shall praise You” (Psalm 76.10).  It also has resulted in reports of how God raised up wicked tyrants “that My name may be proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9.16; cf. Romans 9.17) and in prophetic declarations wherein God called an oppressive and destructive emperor “My servant” (Jeremiah 25.9).

This does not mean that it is wrong to wonder if God was obligated to create the best of all possible worlds or if the best possible is one where there would have been no freedom to sin, or if there really is something rightly called “free will” without qualifications.  These and other musings have been canvassed enough.  There has been great difference of opinion among theologians on these questions.  Gordon Clark’s chapter, “God and Evil,” treats the problem of theodicy in a manner deserving respect.  Anyone interested might start his research by examining the articles by John Feinberg on “Theodicy,” “Problem of Sin,” and “Pain” in his 2001 volume on the doctrine of God, No One Like Him and pursue the bibliographical suggestions.  These topics are of more legitimate interest in the philosophical disciplines of ethics and its recent twin, axiology (values) and the theological disciplines of religion and apologetics.  [Dr. Feinberg has also published a book in which he addresses the problem of evil.]

. . .both the musings and the severest rational reflections of theists – whether devoutly orthodox Christians or not – have usually come to the conclusion that God willed that moral evil (sin) should enter the world, but did so not antecedently but consequentially.  This means that He planned for good ultimately (beyond the detailed history of creation) as a fruit of history, that the presence of temptation to moral evil was necessary to the good of fixed moral character, that sin came to be a consequence. . .

From: Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical by Robert Duncan Culver (Fearn, Scotland: Mentor, 2005), p. 211.  Bracketed statement in the original.


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