Re: [asa] Asteroid Apophis

From: Janice Matchett <>
Date: Sun Feb 25 2007 - 16:38:12 EST

At 11:38 AM 2/25/2007, Johan Jammart wrote:
>Thank to everybody for your answers. Yes a meteor impact would be
>not different than a tornado, an earthquake, a tsunami or a volcano
>eruption. I would call it natural evil. I also don't believe that
>natural evil are result of the Fall. But I believe that the physical
>world is redeem by the death of Jesus on the Cross and my hope is
>the New Heaven and Earth. Probably that something is missing in my
>world-view: How explain natural evil? Yes it is a big question and
>there is no easy answer...Any thought on this would be welcome!

@ In his book, Faith and Reason - Searching for a Rational Faith,
Ron Nash spends a fair amount of time explaining three lines of
defense that theists have taken in an attempt to develop a proper
response to the problem of evil. First he attempts to dispose with
any problem that might be thought to arise because of the quantity of
evil in the world. In chapter 15 he explores the serious
difficulties that arise from reflection about the quality of evil in
the world. The most troubling dimension of evil for morally
sensitive and reflective people is [what appears to us to be] the
utter senselessness, meaninglessness, and purposelessness of so much
of it. What should trouble any sensitive theist is not merely the
existence of evil or even the existence of so much evil in the world;
it is the existence of gratuitous evil -- evil for which there is
apparently no reason or meaning. What if the world really does
contain truly senseless, mindless, irrational, and meaningless
evil?" If this were true, wouldn't the appeal to the greater good
(argument) collapse and with it, apparently, would also fall the
theist's responses to the inductive problem of evil. After all, the
theistic defenses against evil usually consist of claims that God has
a reason for allowing evil to exist. But how can such a defense
possibly succeed when the theist stands in the presence of gratuitous evil?

In chapter 14 Nash offers a three-pronged theodicy that can best
handle the most difficult kind of evil. It takes account of how
human free will, natural law, and the process of soul-making require
conditions that provide the occasion for moral and natural evils.
When we takes these things seriously, we'll come to see how the world
in which God has placed humans can also include instances of
gratuitous evil. Each of us will lose certain goods and be
confronted by certain gratuitous evils as a result of other human
beings using their free will, as a consequence of the natural order
of the universe, and as a result of the fact that God has placed us
in a challenging environment in which there is the danger of real
loss, which includes the ultimate loss, the loss of one's soul. It
is possible though, that some, perhaps many, of the specific evils
that afflict us have no direct or immediate purpose.

Many Christian thinkers - perhaps most of them - deny the existence
of ANY gratuitous evils, holding to what they call the doctrine of
"meticulous providence". They interpret Romans 8:28 to say that "God
works for the good of those who love him in every detail of this
earthly life." Those who reject meticulous providence understand
Romans 8:28 to be teaching that "all things work together for good
when viewed from the perspective of eternity." In this life,
senseless and irrational evils may occur. But when redeemed
believers are able to look back upon those evils from their glorified
standing in heaven, they will know what the apostle Paul meant when
he wrote: "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth
comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."

Michael L. Peterson in his book, "Evil and the Christian God", notes
several reasons why the doctrine of "meticulous providence" should be
Evil and the Christian God by Michael L Peterson

Faith and Reason - Searching for a Rational Faith, by Dr. Ronald H. Nash

The work of philosophers like Alvin Plantinga - see Free Will Defense
(articulating a "defense" argument not a
theodicy) ,
has successfully blunted the force of the "deductive" problem of
evil. prominent atheologians like J.L. Mackie and William Rowe have
conceded as much. Losing the "logic" argument, though, hasn't
stopped them from looking for other ways to support their atheistic
arguments such as the inductive (evidential) version of the problem
of evil. This is a shift from the strong claim that theism is
logically false to the more modest assertion that it is probably (or
even highly probable) that theism is false. That is one of the
arguments that Nash deals with in his book.

God, Freedom, and Evil by Alvin Plantinga

Hope this helps to answer your question.

~ Janice

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Received on Sun Feb 25 16:39:10 2007

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