Re: Coercion

From: Howard J. Van Till <>
Date: Thu Apr 15 2004 - 12:16:32 EDT

On 4/15/04 10:43 AM, "Don Winterstein" <> wrote:

> Howard Van Till wrote:
> "OK, but the problem of theodicy is present in full force as soon as you
> posit that God is able and willing on occasion to "do such choosing (or
> perform a miracle) if and whenever he wants to." The hard question is, "Why
> does God choose to use this form of power on some occasions but not others?"
> One solution that you here propose is to say something like, "since the
> question is impossible for us to answer, let's just posit that God does have
> an answer and it's a good one." Some people obviously are satisfied with
> that; others are not. Some might see it as a clever way to give the
> appearance of dodging the issue, but it is nonetheless vacuous."
> Don replied:
> I don't see how this kind of arguing is so vacuous, especially if one can
> imagine a really compelling reason why God might want his creation to operate
> quite independently of himself, as I can.
I know of no one on this list who posits that the world operates
independently of God.
> This is especially true if one additionally cannot believe the world is
> capable of creating itself, no matter how well-gifted its components may
> be--as I can't. (That is, I can believe it up to a point, where only very
> simple systems are involved, but not to completion, where unimaginably complex
> systems are involved.)
I know of no one on this list who posits that ³the world is capable of
creating itself.²
> The alternative, to expect that God should intervene in every case where
> someone seems to be "suffering unfairly" would ultimately lead to expectations
> that God should intervene in every case where any "harm" comes to anyone,
> which would inevitably lead to expectations that everyone should live forever
> in perfect health, lavish wealth and total comfort--otherwise God would be
> evil!
But if God is able and willing to intervene on some occasions, but not on
others, how does God draw the line? Letıs pose the question concretely: If
God was able and willing to intervene to add a rotary outboard motor (the
flagellum) to E. coli bacteria, why would God not intervene to prevent the
hijacked planes from striking the World Trade Center towers? How was that
line drawn?

> We all have genetic defects. Some just show up earlier and/or more obviously
> than others, and some cause more suffering than others. We all die. This to
> me obviously means that defects, illnesses, disasters, catastrophes are all
> part of the plan--for this life. But Christians believe there's something
> better beyond all that.
> So why shouldn't God intervene when it would advance his cause but not
> intervene when it would damage his cause? And why should it be so hard to
> believe that God has a cause in this world other than having everyone live
> forever in perfect health, lavish wealth and total comfort?
And why should we allow it to be so easy to posit that a good God would
choose to advance His cause at the expense of all of the people who died,
suffered, or grieved the loss of mother, father, husband, wife, brother,
sister or friend in the 9/11 tragedy? What kind of a God-portrait is that?
Received on Thu Apr 15 12:22:31 2004

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