Theodicky by Thom Stark

Here is an older post written by a Christian theist dealing with the problem of evil in light of the Haitian earthquake. I'm pretty impressed with it. Here are a few snippets to whet your appetites:
Maybe God isn’t dead. Maybe he’s just going deaf. Maybe he’s totally deaf in one ear, and partially deaf in the other. It’s understandable. He is getting to be a little ancient of days anymore. Eventually, everyone’s hearing starts to go. We’re made in God’s image after all, so I don’t know why we would expect it to be any different for the archetype.

Honestly, what does it mean to say that God is going to redeem this situation?

In what sense, then, does a mass of Christians and non-Christians all giving aid to a group of people who are suffering bring glory to God? Even if God is orchestrating the entire relief effort, how does God bandaging up the wounds of the Haitians who survived exculpate God from complicity in their suffering and the death of one hundred thousand in the first place? Can you imagine such a defense offered by a mass murderer? “Yes, I shot 44 people in one hour and 32 of them died, but I drove the surviving 12 to the hospital. I don’t understand why I’m on trial here. You should be thanking me.” If God really created this earth, then God is responsible for the natural processes of this earth. If God made it, why did he make it this way, so that every once in a while, the earth opens up and swallows a hundred thousand people in death? Or are you going to tell me that prior to “the fall” there were no earthquakes? Earthquakes and tsunamis only happen because Eve ate a bite of a quince 6,000 years ago. After she bit into it, the composition of the earth was fundamentally altered on a real physical level so that now the earth itself has a bloodlust. That’s supposed to be an answer? We’re supposed to believe that?

Or maybe you’ll say that without suffering, nobody could be good. Goodness requires suffering in order to be shaped and proved. If that’s the case, then how was God good before evil came along?

But wait, you say. These people weren’t innocent! No one is innocent! “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (There’s God’s glory again.)

Right. Forgive me. I forgot about that one. Any sin requires death, so really, we shouldn’t say God is cruel for killing these people. We should say that he is merciful for not killing them until now! All those thousands of faceless toddlers who are buried in mass graves of unidentified bodies—they deserved to die, because they once said “No” to their parents when it was time to go to bed.

Now you resort to the old cliché: “God is mysterious. The answers aren’t clear now, but they will become clear.” Indeed, you’re partly right. How we can affirm both that God created this world, and that God is good—that is a mystery. Whether it’s a profound mystery, or a convenient one, I’ll leave you to decide. But the moment we start defining “love” and “justice” and “goodness” as “whatever God does/commands,” that’s the moment those terms cease to have any usefulness for human beings. Either God is good and good is therefore unintelligible, or good is good and God is therefore unintelligible.

Regardless, who do you think you are, you armchair theologians, you professional apologists! Did God’s victims appoint you? Did they grant you the power to acquit the Most High? What gives you the right? Your Bible College degree? Your ordination? Your PhD? Your church attendance record? Your own personal experiences? Which of these gives you the right to issue an immediate “not guilty” verdict upon God, on behalf of nine new orphans?
Thom offers no answers. At least he's being honest. Kudos to him. Read his entire essay and check around his blog a bit. There is much for thought.

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