THEODICY = [EVIL + ALL POWERFUL GOD + GOOD (LOVING) (Just) GOD]

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I. Prior Problem - Is something good because God does it, or does God do something because it is good? (Plato)


A. Plato - God does something because it is good.

B. Classical Christianity - God does something because it is good.

C. Evangelical Christianity - Something is good because God does it.

D. Islam - Something is good because God does it.


II. Evil


A. Natural Evil distinguished form Moral Evil


1. Natural evil related to nature (excluding man/woman or parts of man/woman)

2. Moral evil related to man/woman

3. If man/woman has no free will, all evil is natural.

4. If nature has free will, all evil is moral.


B. Metaphysical evil We are less than perfect. We are less than God


III. There is no evil.


A. Illusion


1. Hinduism - Maya (Classical)

2. Christian Science - Matter

3. No substantial reality (Augustine)


IV. God is not all powerful


A. Devil (Preface to Job)

B. Zoroastrianism - Ahura Mazda, Angra Mainyu

C. Polytheism

D. Matter - Manichaeism (Mani)

E. Chaos - Zurvan

F. Chaos - Berdyaev

G. Logic - Leibniz (Best of all possible worlds.)

H. Nothing - Existentialists

I. Finite

1. Mill - Power, Intelligence

2. Hume - Baby God or God in Old Age

3. Indian story of creation


V. God is not good.


A. Polytheism - Anthropomorphic Gods in competition

B. Hinduism (Sectarian) Brahman (Brahma) = Brahmā, Vishnu, Shiva/Shakti

C. Beyond Good and Evil (Nietzsche)

D. Humorous (Mark Twain)

E. Beauty (Whitehead, Santayana)

F. Creative (Whitehead, Hartshorne)


VI. God (or the System) is Just


A. Karma/Dharma (God is just) Hinduism

B. Karma (System is just) Buddhism - Hinayana

C. Punishment for the sins of the tribe, or people of the covenant. (Deuteronomic)

D. Punishment for the sins of the individual. (Jeremiah, Ezekiel)

E. Punishment for the sins of humankind. (the suffering servant) (2nd Isaiah)

F. Testing (Beginning of Job)

G. Education (Psalms, Paul)

  1. Soul Making (Clive S. Lewis)

  2. Character Building (Paul - Romans 5:3)


VII. God is harmony. (Mathematical, Musical)


A. Music (Pythagoreans)

B. Logic (Aristotle, Leibniz)

C. Beauty (Formism)

D. Teleological Plan

Romans 8:28 King James Version (Note the difference in the Revised Standard Version) (Conclusion of Job)


VIII.. Free Will


A. Adam & Eve (Free will as a defect)


1. Fall of man/woman (Augustine)


a. Sex

b. Will


2. Fall of Nature

3. Fall of Society (Reinhold and Richard Niebuhr)


B. Free Will (as a gift) (American Religion)


C. Radical Free Will (Hartshorne) (Stadelmann)


IX. Epistemological Limitations


A. The problem is too much for us. (Job)

B. The problem is too much for most of us (Religious Authoritarianism)

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Prepared by Richard W. Stadelmann, HUMA 211/213/303/304