The Doctrine of Theodicy
by Pastor George D. Cutler
Grace Gospel Ministry
The Doctrine of Theodicy scripturally defines how the existence of evil, physical and moral, is reconciled with the benevolence and holiness of God, who is infinite in all His wisdom and power. This is an issue, which has exercised the reason and tried the faith of many of God’s elect in every age but especially in the latter era of human arrogances. The distance between God and man is limitless in comparison in every aspect of depiction, i.e., the omnipotence of God vs. the feebleness of human powers and the omniscience of God vs. the limited range of human vision. In this sense, the only reasonable expressions of interrogatives that could abide would be inquisitions put forth and answered by God Himself. In Anthropomorphic relationships, if a child cannot rationally sit in judgment on the conduct of his parents, nor a typical citizen comprehend the affairs of an empire, human creatures certainly are not competent to call God to account or to ask of Him the reason of His ways (Romans 9:18-23). Old Testament writings document that men must rest in the assurance that the Judge of all the earth must do right (Genesis 18:25). The enlighten revelation given to the Apostle Paul, the Gospel of Grace writings, amply state: “…all things were made by Him and to Him and for Him and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17). In spite of this, these considerations however have not availed to prevent varied speculations on this subject. The existence of evil is constantly brought forward by skeptics as an argument against the existence of a righteous God; and it is constantly in the minds of many believers causing them difficulty and even some subconscious doubt. While some reverently adhere and obey the premise, "Be still and know that I am God," it is no less mitigation in their mindset of at least wondering in passive protest against those solutions of this “great problem;” which if not scripturally understood, could be construed by some as either testimony against the nature of sin or the nature of God. Accordingly, it must be recognized and reconciled as to what the correct definition and perception of evil and sin are.
The Human Definition of Evil and Sin. First, in the assessments of secular arenas, the Dictionary terminologies exude “a breaking of a moral or legal code or that which is morally unacceptable in modern society.” But here it is determined by humans as to what immoral conduct or practices are harmful and offensive to society. Hence a sordid section of the city that is mainly known for certain overt practices may be deemed sinful and degradation while others are covert and viewed as less offensive acts and are in general acceptable to the morals of men. Hence, crimes may be confused with or even classified exclusively as to what constitutes evil and sin. While such are most definitely acts of sin, others may simply be merely classified only as regrettable or blameworthy acts, i.e., withholding or wasting food when people are starving; wherein the gauge of the offence is simply whether such is morally tolerated in society.
The Religions’ Definition of Evil and Sin. Secondly, in the assessments of religious arenas, the terminologies exude “an offense against religious or moral law.” Here again, such is determined by humans as actions that are deemed to be highly reprehensible to them. This may be in the form of what they often view as serious shortcomings or faults, in that they prudishly identify certain things to be transgressions of the law of God while identifying the offender simply as one in a vitiated state of human nature in which oneself is estranged from God. In this sense, they simply view and confine an array of acts as transgressions, i.e., pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy and sloth, as they are held to be fatal to ones “spiritual progress.” Then it is further viewed that some are more egregious than others and is thus labeled as “Mortal Sins,” e.g., murder that is deliberately committed and is of such serious consequence according to their assessment that it deprives the soul of sanctifying grace.
This is the primary reason why so many in religious sectors actively endorse secular laws of capital punishment as perpetration of angst in seeking to placate feelings of anxiety, apprehension and insecurity regarding such reprehensible human activity. Thus they seek to exert control against the offensive nature of such repulsively depraved behavior. As they seek to distance themselves from the culpability of such manifestations, they perceived that God can’t possibly have any connection to and is completely detached from not only from the expression of such but also its existence. Hence there is the perception that God has absolutely no relationship to the existence of misery, pain and destruction. From this deduction arises the plausibility of Open Theism-Process Theism, which doctrinal cogitations foist the ideas of forces and powers operating in the created universe independent from God, of which He has yet to gain control over them.
The Scripture’s Definition of Evil and Sin. Thirdly, the documentation of all Scriptures insistently certifies that God is the sole creator of all things including evil. Many have mistakenly construed that Satan, “the Devil,” created or actualized evil and sin. Here it is important to comprehend that the Greek word Satanaj (Saht·ahn·ahs) rendered “Satan,” is translated “the adversary (the one who opposes),” as it defines the creature who was designed and thus created and placed oppositely against the moral nature of God. Hence everything that God is ………… Satan is the absolute opposite ……......... yet God is the exclusive creator of all that exists, including His created adversary (Satan)! Now some will raise an objection to this expression by stating, that “God isn’t capable of designing, actualizing or creating that which is in effect antithetical to His nature, without an infringement upon His moral perfection.” In this assertion, they perceive that He can only create that which is ontologically consistence with the nature of His attributes.
Romans 1:25 states (Greek Text), “who did change the truth of God into a falsehood, and did honor and serve the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed to the ages (forever). Amen.” Here some will incorrectly assert that this conveyance militates against God being the ultimate initiation of the existence of falsehood (lie) but a spiritually analytical exegesis of this verse evinces the fact that God is the exclusive source of all that exists through His creation. Note, the Greek word meth,llaxan (meht·eel·lahx·ahn) rendered “change, “ is literally rendered “exchange,” which actually conduces that the truth that eternally resides in God, was exchanged by men for falsehood, which already existed in creation. Further note that the Greek word kti,sei (ktees·ee) rendered “creation,” denotes the act of establishing, founding or actualizing into existence an entity, which can only be attributable to God. Finally, note that the Greek word kti,santa (ktees·ahn·dah) rendered “Creator,“ denotes One who formed, shaped, placed or made habitable in the sense of the proprietor-ship and enabler. Thus, the conveyance of this verse is that it was God alone who made habitable the actuation of the existence of evil, which is the very opposite of His Divine nature but the presence of it is does not impugn upon His holiness and righteousness.
The only adduce in reconciling this conveyance is that God possesses the capacity to form and did in fact both design and place creatures in creation for the purpose of opposing Him. To this must be brought the ingressions that God is Sovereign, which means that He had and has the absolute right to do so, and is morally justified in His action, as such indeed implies that the components of His creation are not regulated or confined to mirror His holy character. Hence the existence of contrasting creation and opposing creatures simply means that it pleased God to create or actualize the antithetical nature of attenuated forces and powers in order to demonstrate the glory of His attributes. In this light, every negative act or force that falls short of mirroring His righteous nature and attributes are deemed a`marti,a (ahm·ahr·tee·ah) rendered “sin,” which means to “miss the mark” or function in various degrees in manifestation of opposing the essence of who and what God inherently is.