West offers Biblical Answer(s) to the Question of Theodicy

For now I am just going to post Jim’s list of verses and comments. I have been wrestling with all of this since I started working on Lamentations back in 1994. In my view Lam deals with theodicy not by offering a discourse or analysis of the problem and possible answers, but by the simple act of engaging with God, even to the point of charging God with being the direct agent of Jerusalem’s suffering. Sure, Lam attributes some of this to Israel’s sins, but not all.

There is more to chew on and I hope to come back to this post later in the week. Of course, by all means go and add your comments to Jim’s blog.

Biblical Answer(s) to the Question of Theodicy

Psalm 73. In particular, Psalm 73:16-17. So far as the biblical witness is concerned (at least in Psalm 73) the problem of theodicy (why God allows bad things to happen and bad people to do those bad things) is resolved when the psalmist realizes that “what goes around, comes around.”

Of course the book of Job struggles with this question and solves it in a different way: the besieged is justified in the end and all turns out quite well for him.

In Christian tradition the question is answered at ‘the last judgment’ where the good are saved and the wicked are punished (sort of an extension into eternity of the solution provided in time by Psalm 73). See in particular the book of Revelation.

Between these three approaches there are others but they all circulate around these major attempts to understand something that is simply incomprehensible. Choose your favorite.

(Via Dr Jim West.)

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