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God, Science, and Natural Evil

November 16th, 2005 by Jason · 1 Comment

A while ago I wrote a theodicy in relation to natural evil in the form of a scholastic question. Camassia responded with the objection that my theodicy made God subject to a higher rationality or logic (On a side note I discovered this problem of God being subject to rationality is not a new debate. Aquinas also wrestled with it and came up with the doctrine of God’s simplicity as an answer, i.e. God’s love and rationality cannot be separated from each other. Of course simplicity introduces a whole other set of problems…). I’ve been bouncing that problem around for a while now and decided to take another crack at a theodicy that doesn’t limit God in this way in my latest paper: God, Science, and Natural Evil [PDF]. Here’s the first paragraph:

Evil, it’s presence and prevalence, has always been one of the chief problems with which Christian theologians have wrestled. Natural evils, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and cancer, pose a special problem to Christian theology because God seems more directly responsible for it. In this paper we will wrestle with why natural evil occurs so often (there is no denying this given this past year’s streak of tsunamis, hurricanes, and mud slides) and wreaks such suffering in a world created by a good and all-powerful God. Many answers to these questions have been offered by theologians, but in this paper we will look specifically at how recent discoveries in science might provide fruitful insights and models that will help us develop a coherent theodicy of natural evil.

Tags: papers · theology

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Camassia » Am not I a fly like thee? Or art not thou a blogwatch like me? // Nov 17, 2005 at 3:33 pm

    [...] A while ago some of us gave Jason Rust a hard time about an essay he did for Telford on the problem of natural evil. Now he’s having another go at it, in a paper that incorporates some of our criticisms. The new essay, like all theodicy, just has to fudge some stuff, but I like it better than the previous one. (And the idea that God created a ‘becoming’ universe seems to fit better the eschatological direction of the Bible.) [...]