In 1710 German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz coined the phrase theodicy in his work titled Theodicy: Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man and the Origin of Evil. The meaning of theodicy in its most common form, attempts to answer the question why a good God permits the manifestation of evil. Based on the issues that we face today in the world, it is fair to say that Gottfried Leibniz was far ahead of his time in his philosophy. More than I have ever experienced in my lifetime people are questioning the existence of God.
Many atrocities and foul deeds occur in the world that we previously would not ave been so easily exposed to. Through technological advances in communication, we are able to view the news and information from billions of spirits around the world. We are now experiencing that people around the world think different, worship different, and act different than we do. Having this information at your fingertips can be overwhelming. The experience of being able to look into the madness of the world unfiltered causes many people to believe that we are in the last days and times.
I do not believe that this is true. The evils of this world have always been there, we just have easier access to hem. I believe that this is an age of enlightenment that will eventually bring people closer to God. William Lane Craig is a Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology and Professor of Philosophy at Houston Baptist University. According to an article that he authored on his website (Craig, n. d. ), the problem of evil is certainly the greatest obstacle to belief in the existence of God. The problem of evil is the basis of the concept of theodicy.
Mr. Craig does an excellent job of illustrating the general frustrations of the people of the world today in regards to the existence of God. With the extent and depth of suffering in the world, whether due to man’s inhumanity to man or to natural disasters, how can a person continue to believe in the existence of God? The article is written by someone that truly believes in the existence of God. What I really respect about the article is that Mr. Craig has no problem examining the problem of evil from both the viewpoint of a believer in God and a person questioning their own belief.
I can truly relate to what is represented in this article because I feel that if anyone truly embraces a belief in God, questioning that belief is natural. When we are dealing with the evils that we have been exposed to at an unprecedented level today, I would almost question the honesty of anyone who claims to have never questioned their own belief in God. This is the problem of evil. It causes the skeptical, or rational mind to question if the extent and depth of evil in the world is so great that it’s improbable that God could have morally sufficient reasons for permitting it.
A conclusion that some logical minds come to is that, given the evil in the world, it’s improbable that God exists. The arguments that Mr. Craig uses to refute these beliefs (or ack of belief) is that are based on the concept of free will and the sovereignty of God. We are finite beings and limited in time space and intelligence to fully comprehend the framework of the powers of an infinite God. We are beings of free will and decision. God allows the evils that take place in this world as a means to achieve his ultimate purposes.
The article further expresses that one major flaw in reasoning that people have is the belief that the chief purpose of life is happiness. The truth according to Mr. Craig is that the purpose of life is the knowledge of God, and not happiness. Innocent human uffering provides an occasion for deeper dependency and trust in God, either on the part of the sufferer or those around him. Of course, whether God’s purpose is achieved through our suffering will depend on our response. Do we respond with anger and bitterness toward God, or do we turn to Him in faith for strength to endure?
Author Paul E. Eymann, distinguished Professor of Bible addressed the confusing nature of free will in his article “What does the Bible say about God’s sovereignty, election, predestination, and man’s free will? “, on the website: (Eymann, n. d. ) (Crabtree, n. d. ). The article states that by God llowing free will and permitting sin to occur one purpose he may be fulfilling is that the principle of evil might be brought into complete and final judgment. It was written in the Bible as well as many other religious doctrines that a day of reckoning and judgment will come.
People that believe in God use this as a foundation in which to continue belief despite the evil of the world. Another theory addressed in regards to why God would allow free will is human choice of both good and evil originates within the person’s own volition or will; it is free in the sense that he is conscious only of his own freedom of action. I can completely relate to this philosophy. I do believe that even as we make choices between good and evil, right and wrong, we are never alone in these choices and that they are all part of his grand design.
According to an article posted by Vexen Crabtree, on the website http://www. vexen. co. uk/religion/ christianity_freewill. html (Crabtree, n. d. ), biblical Christianity is contradictory in that it refutes free will. According Vexen, the Christian Bible denies free will and any element of choice in what good works we do. God has picked who will do what good deeds, and God also punishes and rewards people on account f what God has chosen, in accordance with God’s plan and purpose. Although I do not fully agree with this ideology I can understand the logic used to make someone come to this conclusion.
The truth is that no person will ever be able to fully comprehend the will of God, and many have views that dramatically conflict with each other. The answer that we are all searching for throughout the madness of the world is, why do bad things happen to good people. People tend to be terrified of the concept of dedicating their life to the service of a God that would allow evil to befall them. As I have tried to explain to the est of my ability, the disillusionment that we all have is that happiness is our ultimate goal.
Many people spend their life attempting to obtain happiness and content yet wind up on the path to evil. Our purpose on this Earth is to serve the will of God through our own free will. This allows his mission to be accomplished through us. The trials and tribulations that good people experience is a result of the trials and tribulations that God puts us through in order to test our resolve as his servants, or they may be a part of a bigger set of schematics that are unbeknownst to us.