Re: Coercion

From: Keith Miller <>
Date: Mon Apr 12 2004 - 14:47:45 EDT

Here is a metaphor that I have been thinking about that may or may not
be helpful in looking at the question of God's action and theodicy.

Lets say that there is a person who is caught on a railroad track and a
train is coming down the line. The train fails to stop and the person
is killed.

The following scenarios might roughly correspond to different
perspectives on God's control over natural process and theodicy.

1) God is driving the train.

2) God is by the tracks and could flag down the train, but does not.

3) God is by the tracks and frantically tries to flag down the train
but is unable to.

4) God lies down on the tracks in front of the trapped person.

Such analogies are crude and cannot be taken very far, but I sometimes
find them helpful.

Only in (3) is God not responsible for the person's death. However,
this is at the expense of God's ability to assure the accomplishment of
God's will.

Alternative (2) does not remove God from responsibility. In both (1)
and (2) God could have prevented the death, but chose not to.

My personal view would be something like (2) plus (4). God had freely
chosen to create a world in which "natural evil" exists and the
potential for moral evil exists. However, God entered that creation and
became a creature and experienced the full consequences of those evils.


Keith B. Miller
Research Assistant Professor
Dept of Geology, Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506-3201
Received on Mon Apr 12 14:51:34 2004

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