The God of the Bible and the Problem of Evil

My friend Martin has commented on my “brief homily” about my insistence that the God of the Bible is a real being.  In his post, Claude Strikes Back, he wrote: “To me, the whole god thing is just an unnecessary hypothesis pruned long ago from rational discourse by razor-wielding Ockham.”

Then, he introduced an issue that all those who deny God like to emphasize.  Martin wrote: “Claude, however, offers no explanation for his deity’s self-imposed limitations regarding famine, pestilence, hurricanes, tsunamis and other causes of human suffering that have nothing to do with free will.”

But I have!  I expressed my views on the problem of evil at the time Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana and Mississippi.  Explaining natural disasters and other causes of human suffering is difficult and there is no easy answer to the problem.

In dealing with the issue of theodicy, people either blame God or human beings for the cause of evil.  There are many other proposed solutions to the problem of evil, but no one can agree on an answer that satisfies all objections.

Those who desire to know my views on this issue can read my three blogs on Hurricane Katrina, especially part 2 and 3.  I am sure that Martin will not agree with what he reads.

To read “God and Hurricane Katrina – Part 1,” click here.

To read “God and Hurricane Katrina – Part 2,” click here.

To read “God and Hurricane Katrina – Part 3,” click here.

I definitely agree with Martin in denying “all rumors that the whole thing is just a scheme we dreamed up with the aim of attracting enough attention for both of us to beat the evil archaeo-astronomical genius Alun Salt on Technorati’s list.”  However, I welcome readers from Europe who have visited my blog because of Martin.

Claude F. Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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4 Responses to The God of the Bible and the Problem of Evil

  1. Martin says:

    Explaining natural disasters and other causes of human suffering is difficult and there is no easy answer to the problem.Actually, theodicy is only a problem if you’re married to the assumption that there is a somewhat powerful and somewhat benevolent deity around. If you’re willing to abandon this assumption, then the problem disappears.

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  2. Martin,OK, so theists struggle to explain evil and suffering. So what? Atheists also struggle to explain evil/suffering and goodness/altruism. The goal of human understanding should not be the elimination of “problems,” especially by the simple or not so simple “divorce” from assumptions, but rather the pursuit of truth and virtue. Are you willing to admit you are possibly “married” to some faulty assumptions? And if you are, what would those assumptions be?

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  3. Dear Martin,The problem of theodicy has not disappeared precisely because there is a God. Even when atheists believe that there is no God, they still talk about the problem of evil. To talk about the problem of evil is to concede that there is the opposite of evil, that which is good. Even those who don’t believe in God have to deal with these issues. At least, theists have a better answer.

    Claude Mariottini

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  4. Dear Cur Deus HomoI agree with you. Atheists have their own assumptions about good and evil. However, when they begin to deal with these issues, they realize that the denial of the existence of God may not provide satisfactory answers to their questions.

    Claude Mariottini

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