The Fallacy of Theodicy

Theodicy: a defence of God’s goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil

We ought to reject all attempts at theodicy. God did not need sin, death, and evil to bring about His plan for creation. Sin, death, and evil did happen, but not at God’s command or decree. And, we take comfort in the fact that God hates sin, death, and evil, and He will redeem His creation from it all.

Excerpt from an article written by David B. Hart titled Tsunami and Theodicy….

“Christians often find it hard to adopt the spiritual idiom of the New Testament—to think in terms, that is, of a cosmic struggle between good and evil, of Christ’s triumph over the principalities of this world, of the overthrow of hell. All Christians know, of course, that it is through God’s self-outpouring upon the cross that we are saved, and that we are made able by grace to participate in Christ’s suffering; but this should not obscure that other truth revealed at Easter: that the incarnate God enters ‘this cosmos’ not simply to disclose its immanent rationality, but to break the boundaries of fallen nature asunder, and to refashion creation after its ancient beauty—wherein neither sin nor death had any place. Christian thought has traditionally, of necessity, defined evil as a privation of the good, possessing no essence or nature of its own, a purely parasitic corruption of reality; hence it can have no positive role to play in God’s determination of Himself or purpose for His creatures (even if by economy God can bring good from evil); it can in no way supply any imagined deficiency in God’s or creation’s goodness. Being infinitely sufficient in Himself, God had no need of a passage through sin and death to manifest His glory in His creatures or to join them perfectly to Himself. This is why it is misleading (however soothing it may be) to say that the drama of fall and redemption will make the final state of things more glorious than it might otherwise have been. No less metaphysically incoherent—though immeasurably more vile—is the suggestion that God requires suffering and death to reveal certain of his attributes (capricious cruelty, perhaps? morbid indifference? a twisted sense of humor?). It is precisely sin, suffering, and death that blind us to God’s true nature.”

Read DBH’s full article by clicking here.

Jesus, the Perfect Human

Jesus is 100% God and 100% man.

Jesus (a man) cannot reject or hate the Father. He cannot reject the Father because He too is God, and God is not divided. God is perfect and without sin.

Jesus, not being able to reject the Father, is not disqualified from being a full and true man.

Therefore, it is not a required condition, in order to be fully and truly human, to have the ability to reject God.

Therefore, true love for God from humans is not only possible if humans have the ability to reject and not love God, as some would argue: Love is only real if it is chosen.

If it’s not true for Jesus, it’s not true for mankind.

We should not decide what is required for one to be truly human by looking at ourselves, then applying those requirements to Jesus.

It should be done the other way around: What is required for Jesus to be a human (the perfect human) is also what is required for us to be humans.

Those who argue for human free will often state that humans need free will in order to truly love God — it’s not true love if it isn’t chosen.

The major flaw with that thinking is that it’s not true for Jesus. Jesus cannot reject the Father. Jesus loves the Father perfectly. Jesus is 100% man.

Do humans have free will? Yes, but only after being freed from the slavery of sin. True free will is when sin is impossible.

If you were completely free from sin, you would be unable to hate God. You would be a perfect human, like Jesus.

Related reading: Free Will and Evil

The Good Death of Innocence

Innocence-Lost

“Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Adam and Eve were forbidden from eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That phrase, “knowledge of good and evil”, as defined by the bible, refers to maturity and wisdom (Deuteronomy 1:39; 2 Samuel 14:17; 1 Kings 3:6-9; Hebrews 5:12-14). Was the prohibition of knowing good and evil a permanent one? No, but Adam and Eve, or the first humans, had to mature to the point where they could partake of it. The tree of life, like milk, is available to the babes, but the knowledge of good and evil, or solid food, is only for the mature.

A sixteen year old girl losing her virginity at a drunken high school party loses her innocence. What comes after is shame and, unless some healing takes place, self destruction. She dies to her innocence but is not resurrected into something better. Her death to innocence becomes a permanent thing leading to corruption. It’s a bad death.

A young woman who loses her virginity on the first night of what will become a life long marriage however dies to her innocence to then be resurrected into a mature woman who knows the fullness of goodness, love, pleasure, and soon motherhood. Her death to innocence is a good death as it leads to a more glorious state of being.

When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge prematurely, they died, not to be resurrected into mature humans ready to move out into the wilderness to increase and multiply in a good and glorious way, but rather they died a bad death which led only to corruption. We, who come after, are under that curse of bad death.

Jesus began His mission in a hostile wilderness where, while being tempted by the serpent, proved His wisdom and maturity. He went on to die a good death to then become the first man to be resurrected into a true and perfect human. We who come after are resurrected into that same perfection.

Our bad death becomes a good death to innocence leading on and on to perfection.

Related reading: Predisposed to Rule

Are You Projecting?

chickenhateyouI notice in my life that when things are going well, I am working hard, and my conscience is clear, I have no negative thoughts towards others. If other are doing well, I congratulate them, and if others are doing poorly, I try to offer help. But, when things are not so well for me, my attitude to others is opposite. Why is this?

In the opening chapters of the book of Revelation Jesus comes to evaluate seven churches. For most of the churches, He has some good things to say, and some bad things.  They are encouraged for what they are doing right, and are warned to fix what they’re doing wrong.

And this is the healthy way to deal with issues in your own life. Every once and awhile you need Jesus to come and evaluate your life, to tell you what’s good and what’s evil. And though it might hurt some, you need to fix what Jesus says needs fixing. Doing this is the quickest path to a clear conscience and joyful carefree living.

The unhealthy way to deal with your issues is to compare yourself to others and point out all their faults in order to make yourself feel better about your own faults. In the short term this way is easier. I can always find someone worse off than me and quickly justify my own actions in relation to theirs. “I thought I was bad, but look at that guy.” This is projection — calling out and hating in others what’s really going on in you.

Whenever I encounter someone complaining about another without offering any kind of solutions, over and over, month after month, year after year, I know that person is projecting. They are unwilling to deal with an issue in their own life and so they’ve found someone worse than themself to project onto, thus making themself feel better. “I don’t have to deal with my issues until that other guy, worse than me, deals with his issues.” In the long term, projection will only lead to emptiness, bitterness, and foolishness.

Let Jesus come and evaluate your life. And even though it may be difficult, change what He says needs changing. Trust that He has your best in mind. Ask Him for help because He won’t let you down.

Coming or Going?

cloud
Sometimes we assume something because we don’t know all the facts and we don’t take the time to investigate. We often read scripture and make the same mistake — especially when we’re dealing with the end-times.

Consider this passage:

“And the high priest arose and said to (Jesus), ‘Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?’ But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, ‘I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!’

Jesus said to him, ‘It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.’

Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, ‘He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!’”
~Matthew 26:62-65

It’s easy to think that Jesus is talking about His second coming here. But look at how offended the high priest was at what Jesus said. The high priest knew nothing of Jesus’ second coming. But, the high priest knew very well what Jesus was saying here. And it offended the high priest so much that he tore his own clothes — something he was commanded not to do (Leviticus 21:10).

Jesus was quoting two Old Testament passages, and the high priest would have known exactly what Jesus was saying as he, the high priest, was an expert in scripture.

“The Lord (the Father) said to my Lord (Jesus),

‘Sit at My right hand,

Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’

The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion.

Rule in the midst of Your enemies!”
~Psalm 110:1-2

“‘I was watching in the night visions,

And behold, One like the Son of Man (Jesus),

Coming with the clouds of heaven!

He came to the Ancient of Days (the Father),

And they brought Him near before Him.

Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,

That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion,

Which shall not pass away,

And His kingdom the one

Which shall not be destroyed.’”
~Daniel 7:13-14

Jesus “coming on the clouds” is not referring here to His second coming, but rather His ascension and coronation as King (He came to the Ancient of Days, not to the earth). And notice what was given to Jesus at that time: dominion, all peoples, all nations, and all languages. That happened two thousand years ago. Jesus rules now as King at the Father’s right hand.

And how long will He rule in heaven as King?

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His (second) coming. Then comes the end, when He (Jesus) delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He (Jesus) must reign till He (the Father) has put all enemies under His (Jesus’) feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For ‘He (the Father) has put all things under His (Jesus’) feet.’ But when He (the Father) says ‘all things are put under Him (Jesus),’ it is evident that He (the Father) who put all things under Him (Jesus) is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him (Jesus), then the Son Himself (Jesus) will also be subject to Him (the Father) who put all things under Him (Jesus), that God may be all in all.”
~1 Corinthians 15:20-28

Jesus is ruling in heaven now and will continue to rule from heaven until God the Father puts all of Christ’s enemies under Christ’s feet. And the last enemy will be death itself. And it is at Jesus’ second coming when all people, saved and unsaved, will be resurrected and judged (John 5:26-29). Then Jesus will hand the kingdom over to His Father.