Theology of Evil

One of my readings from yesterday’s list was Theology and the problem of Evil, by Kenneth Surin. It turns out, that I really miss deep thinking and reading. I haven’t read much of this type of thought since college. Yesterday, I really struggled to get through it, the words were big (theodicy, irreducibly, invariably, atemporal, exegesis) and I was easily distracted by the glow of blogs and facebook. Today, I decided enough was enough, and I was going to read it. 

My friend, J, gave it to me because it digs into questions that I’ve been asking, and for that reason alone, I had to make it through. I closed out almost all (read: email addict) of my internet tabs, grabbed a highlighter, and read and re-read, until I started to understand. Once I got going I couldn’t put it down; I even took it to lunch with me. Deep theological thought reminded me that I really have to exercise my mind in order to keep it healthy. This was a great exercise, and I’m looking forward to more discussions on this topic as J goes through class this semester using this text.

Here are a few of my favorite thoughts from the introduction (keep in mind, these are just excerpts, thoughts which were unpacked in great detail):

“”…how is it that a particular event, one which brings pain and suffering to an innocent human being, comes to be construed as a ‘sign’ which seemingly tells against God’s righteousness (or in the case of some modern theodicies, against God’s existence).” p. 24


“The ‘problem’ which confronts the theodicist can be expressed most simply in terms of the following inconsistent set: 1. Evil exists on a considerable scale. 2. There is a God. 3. God is all-powerful. 4. God is morally perfect.” p. 20

“In an indentifiably Christian context, the ‘problem of evil’ arises (at least in part) when particular narratives of events of pain, dereliction, anguish, oppression, torture, humiliation, degradation, injustice, hunger, godforsakenness, and son on, come into collision with the Chrsitian community’s narratives, which are inextricably bound up with the redeeming reality of the triune God.” p. 27


“Job…moved beyond the faith of his fathers to a new kind of faith, a faith in which Job turns in real hope to the God who speaks ‘out of the whirlwind’… His experience has compelled him to tread the path of unkowing. God refuses to give Job the explanations he craves, and Job has to work towards a faith beyond all purely personal concerns….Job learns that he has to love and worship this hidden and unknowable God for God’s own sake.” p. 27


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