> To say that God concurs with lawful natural processes means that
>at least some of the time God does not act to save creatures from
>suffering or death: God doesn't mutate all cancer cells to harmless
>forms or keep hurricanes from forming. Thus God allows evil to happen &
>in some sense concurs with processes which bring evil. This of course
>introduces huge issues of theodicy about which I make only 3 remarks
> 1) Amos 3:6
> 2) Through Incarnation & cross, God is also the victim of evil.
> 3) Governanace means that God brings his ultimate good out of
> the whole process, even the evil aspects of it.
>2 is the essential & distinctively Christian feature of an adequate
It is certainly a good thing that #2 is the "essential and
distinctively Christian feature" here, since "Governance" (I am assuming it
is accurately described by George Murphy) is an exceedingly feeble notion on
which to hang a theodicy, and this for at least two reasons.
First, the claim that God can bring good out of evil in no way
diminishes the reality of the original and antecedent evil. Any good
issuing from evil presumes a prior condition of evil, and that's precisely
the problem a theodicy needs to address. This sort of "governance" can't
lay a glove on the problem of evil.
Second, even if it is possible to render a good result from a prior
evil circumstance, this is hardly the sort of activity that requires a
deity, since we all occasionally endeavor to do the same thing. Noting
some positive outcome in a negative situation, seeing the silver lining in a
dark cloud, or in the words of Dear Abby (or Ann Landers, or Dr. Ruth, or
somebody), "when you are handed a lemon, make lemonade," is something any
human being can do, and is not reserved for divine activity. This sort of
approach is simply an attempt to translate the "Power of Positive Thinking"
into a theodicy, and an ineffective one at that.
Thomas D. Pearson
Department of History & Philosophy
The University of Texas-Pan American