Presented at a Templeton Conference on Analytic Philosophy and the Problem of Evil, Frankfurt, Germany, 2015

I. God and Evil, Framing the Problems:

God and evil pose lots of problems. Framing a particular problem restricts
our attention and encourages us to focus on some issues rather than others. 1.1.
God and Evil, Philosophically Framed:
Analytic philosophy of religion has dealt
with the problem of evil according to a now-familiar recipe. Begin by conceiving
of God as the “omni-God” or perfect being–essentially omniscient, omnipotent, and
perfectly good. Draw on philosophical resources to analyze the attribute terms.
Then ask whether evil–any evil at all, or evil as found in the world as we know
it–is logically or evidentially incompatible with the existence of God.

Working out the details of this approach has spawned an energetic
research-program. Any course in analytic philosophy of religion will teach how
omnipotence is plagued by logical puzzles about stones too big to lift, about
essentially uncontrollable agents, about embodied actions (e.g., walking on water
or eating an ice cream cone) that essentially immaterial agents cannot perform.
The analysis of omniscience is also vexed, not only by the old problem of whether
it includes knowledge of future contingents and the more recently noticed
difficulties with indexical knowledge (e.g., I can know that I am MMA, but God
cannot; God the Father can know that He is the Father, but God the Son cannot),
but also about whether omniscience is merely conceptual and propositional or
instead includes sensitivity to feelings (like Charles Hartshorne’s God who feels
all our feelings) and omnisubjectivity (like Linda Zagzebski’s God who knows
what it is like for me to be me and knows what it’s like for a bat to be a
bat). In what follows, I will side with Hartshorne and Zagzebski and assume for
the sake of argument that the other puzzles can be solved.

What concerns me here is the unnuanced conceptions of goodness imported from
philosophical ethics. Consequentialism wins support because of its apparent
tractability. Thus, despite Robert Merrihew Adams’ trenchant critique in his 1972
article “Must God Create the Best,” there is currently a burgeoning industry
around the thesis that–since an agent is obliged to perform the action that has
the best consequences–a perfectly good God would be obliged to produce the best
of all possible worlds. Others take for granted William Rowe’s “Moral Necessity
Condition”: that a perfectly good being would cause or permit evils only if they
were necessary to produce a greater good or to avoid an equal or worse evil.
Richard Swinburne’s tone of voice is deontological as he calculates what God’s
moral obligations do and do not rule out. Still others speak of Divine love,
but once again allow morals (John Hick, John Bishop and Ken Perszyk) or
morals and metaphysics (Aquinas) to dictate the analysis.

The thrust of many arguments from evil is that any omniscient and omnipotent
agent who produced this world would not measure up morally. The retort is to
defend God’s existence and good name by contending that–for some otherwise
overlooked reason–an omni-God could create us in this world and still count as
morally perfect.

Unfortunately, following this recipe tends to make both God and evil too
small. Skeptical theists protest that our epistemic position is too poor to be
giving God a moral report card. They accept the need for God-justifying reasons,
but insist that given who God is and who we are, we cannot know that evils as we
find them are morally impermissible for God. Taking a page from scholastic
theology, I have insisted that the metaphysical “size-gap” between God and
creatures means that God is not a moral agent caught in the web of rights and
obligations in which we find ourselves. Divine agency is not a candidate for moral
evaluation, but in many and various ways its source. The religiously salient
problem with evils is not–pace Swinburne–that God has seemingly violated our
rights!

At the same time, the need to keep evils morally manageable has driven many
analytic philosophers to shrink down evils to kinds for which there could be an
excuse. Following Alvin Plantinga’s lead, they assume that the only further
problem would be the quantity of evils, which they then dismiss with Sorites
arguments and/or appeals to ignorance. In my books, I have tried (mostly in
vain) to rivet attention on the worst evils (which I subsume under the rubric of
horrendous evils, or evils participation in the doing or suffering of which
constitutes prima facie reason to believe that the horror-participant’s life
cannot be a great good to him/her on the whole, or prima facie life-ruinous evils
for short).

Unfortunately, philosophers who do take horrors to heart have concluded that
horrendous evils settle the non-existence of an omni-God once and for all. Thus,
Stewart Southerland and D.Z. Phillips charge that no one who thinks the
worst evils can be justified takes them with full moral seriousness. John Roth
identifies the Nazi holocaust in particular, the slaughter-bench of history of
which it is characteristic in general, as “waste” beyond justification. Any
omnipotent and omniscient creator and governor our world may have is certainly not
good! For John Bishop and Ken Perszyk, the verdict is clear, because
horror-permission is obviously incompatible with perfect loving relationality.

1.2. Mid-course Correction? After sixty years or so (dating from J.L.
Mackie’s article “Evil and Omnipotence”), this gets tiresome. For those of us
who have been around for much of it, it begins to feel like young or
midlife-crisis adults imagining the perfect parent and complaining that no one
like that was “there” for them, instead of discovering creative ways of getting
along with the parents that they have. My suggestion is that–where God and
evil are concerned–it is time for us analytic philosophers of religion to
interrupt such “business as usual” long enough to make a mid-course
correction–one that will redirect our efforts to encompass salient religious
issues that we have mostly ignored.

Happily, theology sets us an example. At least until recently, theology has
taken the existence of God as a given, both because the Bible is–among other
things–a record of the lived relationship between God and the people of God and
relationships presuppose the existence of their relata, and because the existence
and excellence of the Ultimate Explainer are deemed metaphysically necessary.
Theology begins with the world as we know it, the human condition as we experience
it, and Divine-human relations in the mess that we find them. Theology asks what
the present and future relationship possibilities are for God and the people of
God, given the way things have and have not worked out so far
.

Theology is clear: these are questions for soteriology and eschatology that
are not sufficiently settled by the doctrines of creation and providence. Even if
God has not violated any moral obligations to creatures by creating us in a world
like this; even if sceptical theists were right that nothing we experience could
have any tendency to show that there are no God-justifying reasons for proceeding
in this way; even if Aquinas were correct that perfect providence would accept
defects in the parts for the sake of a more excellent universal whole; there
would be relationship issues left over. Is God for us or against us? Does God love
us or hate us or simply not care? Can we, how can we learn to get along with the
God that we’ve got?

In what follows, I forego a survey of the history of Christian doctrine to
concentrate on a biblical sketch of the God that we’ve got. I do this, not because
I am a sola scriptura biblical inerrantist or because I am convinced that the
Bible stories are all historically true, but because the Bible is the primary norm
for Christian theology and as such ought to command sustained and careful
attention by analytic philosophers of religion. Family stories often get some
facts wrong while accurately capturing the way personalities were experienced by
close relatives. My other reason for beginning with the Bible is that it paints
neither God nor evil too small. The Bible is bluntly realistic, unafraid to wash
the family’s dirty linen in public. Once that portrait is before us, I will ask,
whether there is any way for the Bible’s God to be good to us, whether and what
sort of relationship with the Bible’s God could be good for us, given the way
things have and have not worked out so far.

II. The Bible’s God:

2.1. Retrieving a Portrait: Using biblical texts to figure out who God is and
what God means for us is a task to which, not only preachers and professional
theologians, but all God’s people are called. My suggestion is: it is a research
program to which analytic philosophers of religion would do well to turn. Of
course, it would be naïve to suggest that there is a single portrait of God in the
Bible. The Bible is, after all, not a single book, but a library. Its narrative
span stretches over 1800 years, and its volumes–written down at different
times–reflect the conceptual and social frameworks of their human authors and
oral sources. Different passages evoke contrasting impressions. Moreover, it is
hermeneutically controversial whether to harmonize across different parts of the
corpus, or to dig into the differences and ponder the contrasts. Nevertheless, to
get us started, I propose to “sin boldly” by lifting up ten theses that
characterize the Bible’s God.

(T1) God is infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.

Compared to creatures, God is of a different, out-classing kind. God is holy;
creatures are unclean–like humans and earthworms, unfit to inhabit the same
social space (Job 4:17-21). What God is, is too much for creatures’ natural
faculties to cope with. When God appears, waters part, mountains skip like rams
(Ps 114:3-7), volcanoes vomit smoke (Exodus 19:7-25; 20:18-20). Close encounters
with the Divine kind are dangerous to human health (Isa 6:1-7; II Sam 6:6-11).
God is of surpassing knowledge, wisdom, and power: when God’s word goes forth from
his mouth, it does not return empty, but accomplishes that which God has purposed
(Isa 55:11).

(T2) God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth; God is the One
who is responsible for conquering the chaos monster, and for governing the course
of the world.

God creates by ordering chaos (Gen 1:1-2:3). The wider Bible story suggests: this
is not a one-time thing, but something that requires continuous activity (Ps
89:10; Is 51:9). For the human authors of the Bible, natural disasters and social
instability bore witness to the omnipresent need for God’s sustaining
cosmos-ordering power.

(T3) God is I AM WHO I AM, I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE.

God cannot be controlled or manipulated. God’s name is not a magic word that puts
God at human disposal, like a genie in a bottle (Exodus 3:14). There are no
intrinsic constraints on what God might purpose.

(T4) God’s projects in creation prominently feature life together, God
with the people of God.

God creates Adam and Eve for intimate life-together in Paradise (Gen 2:4-24). In
the patriarchal period, God begins the work of forming a people to showcase to all
the world what the ideal society would be like. In Christ, God shifts strategies
to gather a people from all races, tribes, and nations into the Church.

(T5) God is covenant faithfulness (chesed and emet).

God establishes covenants as frameworks for Divine-human relations, for life
together, God with the people of God. Covenants are outward and visible signs of
God’s faithfulness to God’s people, of Divine determination to make the
relationship between God and the people of God work. Even though Israel repeatedly
fails to keep the covenant, and at the time of the Babylonian exile drives God to
the point of divorce, God breaks God’s own marriage law and takes Israel back (Dt
24:4; Jer 3:8; cf. Isaiah 43:1-7).

God is determined to make the relationship work. The Sinai covenant and its
legal elaborations lay out a framework for fruitful life together. Because it is
important that the people of God do their part by keeping the covenant, the Sinai
covenant is sealed with blessings and curses (Dt 27-28; Joshua 24:1-28).
Likewise, God’s character is two-sided (Exodus 33:17-34:8; Dt 32:39). God has a
bias towards mercy, and has a particular concern for the least advantaged (Ex
23:6-9; Dt 10:18-19; 14:29; 24:14-22; Mt 25:31-46). God knows that the human heart
is evil from its youth (Gen 8:21). Within limits, God is patient and forgiving.
But entrenched injustice and idolatry wreck God’s social experiment. Israeli
failure to keep the covenant will bring down individual and corporate ruin. God
will destroy the corrupt society and its institutions, deport its leadership, and
scatter its people. This is the Bible’s explanation of what happened when
Jerusalem was destroyed the first and second time.

(T6) God is Emmanuel.

Since God’s aim is life-together, it’s no surprise that God should be Emmanuel.
God promises Jacob to go with him and to keep him wherever he goes (Genesis
28:18). It is God’s going in and out with Israel that makes them a people (Exodus
33:16). God leads them through the wilderness with a cloud by day and a fire by
night (Numbers 9:15-23). God accompanies deportees to Babylon and protects
law-abiding Daniel and Shadrack, Meshak, and Abednego from pagan plots (Daniel
3:1-30; 6:1-28). And God will prepare the way and accompany the exiles when they
return (Isaiah 43:1-7)

(T7) God is Jesus and Jesus is Emmanuel.

Jesus is the Word made flesh (Jn 1:14). Jesus heralds the arrival of the Kingdom
of God. Sermon-on-the-Mount Jesus lays down the Messianic Torah, which signals the
dramatic reversals that the ideal society will bring (Mt 5-7). Jesus dramatizes
the new order by removing impediments to full social participation. He welcomes
outcastes (e.g., tax collectors and fallen women); cures mental illness by
exorcising demons; cleanses lepers; heals the blind, deaf, and mute; restores the
maimed and the lame to wholeness, and raises the dead (Lk 7:11-17; Jn 11). Jesus
also acts out God’s aim by sharing life with the disciples. He works to educate
them, to rear them up to Kingdom values, to prepare them for partnership in his
work. Jesus proleptically counts them friends, even though they still do not grasp
his meaning (John 15:12-17).

Yet Jesus also brings then present and future leaders of the people of God
into times of trial for which they are not prepared. Despite repeated
forewarnings, the disciples are not ready to handle the realities of crucifixion
(Luke 22:28-34, 39-46). Jesus’ prophetic ministry attacks the meaning-making
system of both Pharisees and Sadducees and provokes them into betraying their
deepest loyalties by getting the Roman governor to crucify the messiah whose way
they had meant to prepare. Jesus’ words and deeds bring them to the point of
nullifying their vocations by goading the people of God into demanding (however
unwittingly) the death of God (Mt 27:22-26; Jn 19:12-16). For their part,
Pharisees and Sadducees plotted to defeat any positive meaning for Jesus as
messianic pretender by arranging for him to die a ritually cursed death (Dt 21:23;
Galatians 3:13-14). How could Jesus be God, or even be God’s special agent if he
is definitively cut off from God and the people of God?

(T8) God demands more of human beings than we can deliver.

God calls human beings into a lop-sided friendship; insists that we go along with
God’s program when we cannot understand it; expects us to trust that God’s
purposes are good despite our incomprehension and our experience of ruinous
reversals; overall, insists that we be faithful come hell or high water the way
prophets and martyrs (Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Eliezar and the seven brothers
under Antiochus Epiphanes) do. God demands that all Israeli males obey the law
when only a small minority ever manage it (Dt 27:26). After the second destruction
of Jerusalem, the seer in IV Ezra registers his complaint: God knows that the vast
majority will not be able to keep the law perfectly. If covenant curses are the
penalty for such failure, the covenant itself is a set-up for horrors and not a
blessing (IV Ezra 3, 4:22-25). Jesus’ acted parable focuses this feature of Divine
policies perfectly: Jesus curses the fig tree for not bearing fruit out of season
(Mk 12:12-14, 20-21)!

(T9) God cannot be counted upon to keep the worst from happening.

God lets human perversity play itself out with apocalyptic consequences (wicked
humanity before the flood; the Roman empire before its fall). God appears to
abandon Israel for 400 years and let her descend into slavery. God arranges for
foreign powers to raze Jerusalem, twice over. God lets the religious establishment
blind themselves to “the hour of their visitation” (Lk 19:41-44) and mislead the
people into double blasphemy: demanding the crucifixion of God’s Messiah (Mt
27:20-26) and idolatrously proclaiming Caesar as their only king (Jn 19:12-16).

God risks the integrity of the faithful by exposing them to trials too severe
to withstand. God’s wager with Satan sets Job up to experience horrors first hand:
material ruin, wrecked health, loss of reputation, social alienation, one on top
of another (Job 1-2). God lets Jesus’ closest disciples “go to smash,” abandon,
deny, and betray their deepest loyalties (Mt 26:14-16, 30-3, 47-56, 69-75).

(T10) God shows Godself mighty to save after it is already too late.

With plagues and parted waters, God leads Israel out of slavery in Egypt (Exodus
3-14). Jesus raises Lazarus after waiting four days until rot had set in (Jn 11:5,
17, 39). God vindicates Jesus by raising him from the dead to the right hand of
power.

2.2. Split Personality? So, is God for us or against us? To hear the Bible
tell it, the evidence is decidedly mixed. On the one hand, the Bible does not
euphemize. It is not only (T1) the metaphysical size-gap that should make us
tremble. It is not merely what God is by metaphysical necessity, but (T2 & T8 &
T9) the policies God has chosen that make God seem dangerous to our health. For
(T2) God is in charge. And God has set us up for horrors by creating us in a world
like this. God (T5 & T8) set Israel up for horrors by imposing a covenant that she
could not keep and enforcing it with curses. The Bible admits: (T9) God does not
do God’s utmost to prevent the worst from happening. Not only does God permit
horrors that God could forestall. (T7) God provokes horror perpetration by others,
and (T5) God actively perpetrates horrors on blasphemous individuals and corrupt
societies. The Bible’s God adopts providential policies that mean prima facie ruin
for created persons on a grand scale. Nor (by T7 & T8) does Divine discipline seem
pedagogically apt. Clearly, perfect benevolence is not the right rubric for the
Bible’s God!

On the other hand, the Bible is full of promissory notes for a happy future.
(T4) God’s project in this world includes life together with us. (T5) The Bible’s
God is relentlessly determined to make the relationship work, to make the plot
resolve into happy-ever-after joyful life together, God with the people of God.
(T6) The Bible’s God is already living into that wish as much as possible by being
Emmanuel, with us all the time wherever we go; more extravagantly still (T7) in
the incarnation, by joining Adam’s race (Lk 3:38), Abraham’s family (Lk 3:34), and
David’s line (Mt 1:6; Lk 1:32). The Bible insists that (T1) the bigness of God
wants to be on our side, and (T10) in the Exodus and resurrection advertises God
as able to make good on anything.

So, does the Bible’s God love us or hate us? Bishop and Perszyk accentuate
the negative: no lover sets the beloved in the way of horrendous harm if s/he can
help it. Once that line is crossed, there is nothing the partner could do to make
up for it, to restore perfect loving relationality. Taking both sides at once
suggests something even worse: Divine determination to hold onto relationships
with people whom God has personally set up for horrors, makes the Bible’s God
sound like the abusive husband of a battered wife. Moreover, there are no “safe
houses.” Creatures can’t exist independently of their Creator. There is no escape
from God’s providential power, no hiding from God’s all-seeing eye. What horror
participants can do is withhold personal reciprocity and cooperation. Wouldn’t it
be at best neurotic to play the battered wife and fall for God’s promises that
things will be better in the future? Wouldn’t a horror-participant be on the way
to recovered self-respect if s/he followed Ivan Karamazov’s example and “return
the ticket”?

III. Can the Bible’s God Be Good To Us, Horrors Notwithstanding?

3.1. Paradoxical Reconciliation? Happily, there are other ways to bring the
two sides together that take horrors with full seriousness but allow for positive
plot resolution. (T1) The Bible’s God means to be for us, and (T10) the Bible’s
God can make good on anything. It follows that the Bible’s God should be able to
make it up to us, to compensate us even for the prima facie personal ruin due to
our participation in horrors. This is because (T1) God is infinitely more than we
can ask or imagine. The currency of compensation is appropriate relation to great
enough goods. Beatific relationship with God is incommensurately good for us. If
horror-participation could be integrated into our overall and in the end beatific
relationship with God, horrors would be not only balanced off but defeated within
the frame of the individual horror participant’s life.

However promising, this proposal turns paradoxical because of its seeming
circularity. To win our trust, God will have to prove that God is for us. To prove
that God is for us, God will have be good to us by defeating any horror
participation and compensating us for our costs. But God can defeat horrors only
if the relationship between us is beatific, and the relationship can become
beatific only if God wins our trust in the first place. Horrors will be finally
defeated only if we trust without reservation. But it is reasonable for us not to
trust without reservation so long as horrors have not been decisively defeated.

This circle would be vicious, if relationship-development in general and
reconciliation in particular were not a process. Given who and what God is,
harmonious relationship with God will make everything alright. God will have to
find many and various ways for the horror participant, wittingly or unwittingly,
consciously or unconsciously, to experience Divine Goodness. God will have to
coach a dialectic that puts experienced goodness up against experienced horror,
and struggles to articulate what this can all mean within the context of a single
life. Starting with the datum of horror-participation, there are four initiatives
that the Bible’s God can take to get the process going and bring it to completion.

3.2. Solidarity as Foundation: (T6-T7) the Bible’s God is Emmanuel, with us
all of the time wherever we go, with us for better for worse. Philosophers would
say that the Divine nature is essentially omnipresent. It is metaphysically
impossible for God to be absent. The Bible’s God is passible, experiences
emotions. If we take a page from Hartshorne and Zagzebski, we can conclude that
God is not present as an aloof bystander. It is metaphysically impossible for God
not to feel our feelings or not know what it is like for us to feel our feelings.
In the Divine nature, God sympathizes with our plight, vibrates with our feelings
and so absorbs some of their violent energy. Should you object that any sympathy
that God can’t help having doesn’t speak to God’s care for us as much as voluntary
and avoidable engagement would do, the appropriate reply is that an all-wise God
who is for us and aims at life-together with us, counts it an advantage that
creation cannot suffer without God’s suffering, too.

Incarnation takes a step beyond omnisensitivity and omnisubjectivity. In
Christ, God owns a human nature and a human career, not to get more information,
but to share our life, human being to human beings. God is not content to
sympathize or know what it is like for us. Incarnation is a free and contingent
relationship move. It is God’s way of declaring, “I am not asking more of you
than I ask of myself.” The world as we know it is God’s project. It carries
horrendous costs for humankind. The Word made flesh hands himself over to the
chances and changes of this world and shares our human exposure to horrors. God
Incarnate joins us in our ownership of the horrors perpetrated by our leaders and
spawned by the systemic evils of the bodies-politic of which we are a part. Like
prophets down through the ages, God Incarnate risks the horror-perpetration
involved in smashing the meaning-making frames by which members of unjust
societies and corrupt professions organize their lives. Crucifixion piles horror
upon horror. Not only is it physically torturous and symbolically degrading.
Death by crucifixion was meant to contradict Jesus’ messianic pretensions, prove
him a false prophet, and nullify the positive meaning of his ministry.
Ironically, the manner of Jesus’ death put God Incarnate in solidarity with all of
the cursed, people who–by what they suffered, were, or did–were cut off from God
and the people of God. But if God takes God’s stand with the cursed, the cursed
are not cut off from God any more!

3.2. Appreciating Our Costs: When someone’s actions and omissions cause us
significant harm, it can be helpful if they at least acknowledge that it happened.
Denying that the holocaust even occurred erases the personal testimony of its
victims. It degrades all over again by declaring that there isn’t enough to them
to be credible witnesses. Military reports that write off enemy and civilian
deaths as “collateral damage” acknowledge costs and admit responsibility, but
still degrade by disguising the fact that it is persons who were destroyed. It
helps more if acknowledgement comes with some sign that the gravity of personal
costs is recognized and appreciated.
There are many ways to do this.

(i) One is by offering apology or expressing regret. Regret normally involves
the wish to have done otherwise, or at least the wish that per impossibile aims
had been achieved without the costs. Think of the doctor who wishes he could have
saved the child’s life with something less harrowing than open heart surgery. If
deliberate harm prima facie sends the message that there is not enough to the
individual for her/his suffering to matter, apology or regret contradicts that
lie.

(ii) In The Revelations of Divine Love, Julian of Norwich never speaks of
Divine regret for our sufferings. According to her showings, God was open-eyed in
embracing a plan for life together with us in this world. Julian’s God does not
overall wish it had been otherwise. As she sees it, God is fully satisfied with
God’s choice. Nevertheless, Julian’s God counts our costs a different way.
God is all along contemplating how to make it up to us and is looking forward to
the great deed that God will do on the last day to make everything alright.
In her visions, Julian sees God welcoming us to heaven with gratitude: “Thank you
for your suffering, for the suffering of your youth!” In other words, “thank you
for getting through a human life!” As she pictures it, Divine gratitude will be
public and permanent. So far from being covered up, our past sins and hardships
will be eternally acknowledged with thanksgiving to us for enduring them. Julian
reckons, such a friendly welcome from God will be to us a source of everlasting
joy, enough finally to convince us that God has been for us all along.

(iii) By contrast, the Bible’s God counts costs with ambivalence. Certainly,
in some stories, the Bible’s God expresses regrets. Human perversity makes God
sorry to have made human beings on the earth and brings on the flood, which undoes
creation and destroys all but Noah and his ark (Genesis 6:5-8). The Golden Calf
episode makes God regret trying to form a people from the slaves in Egypt. Only
with difficulty does Moses dissuade God from destroying them all and starting over
with Moses’ line (Exodus 32:9-14). The Bible’s God is furiously angry about
systemic social evils. Callous disregard for the least well off is not God’s plan
for life together! Synoptic Jesus is so moved by compassion for real and present
wretchedness that he reverses it. Synoptic Jesus is mobbed by people with humanly
irreversible conditions, and he heals every disease and every infirmity (Mt
8:16-17; 9:35-37). Synoptic Jesus laments over Jerusalem, wishes that it had not
come to the impending horrors of national apostacy and the second destruction of
Jerusalem (Lk 13:34-35; Mt 24).

Nevertheless, Jesus warns but does not apologise for the costs of
discipleship. Saints and martyrs are encouraged to persevere through end-time
terrors with promises of unimaginable compensation (Mt 10:5-42; 16:24; Mk 8:34; Lk
9:23). The Bible’s God shows appreciation, not with “thank-you’s” but with
commendations (“well done, good and faithful servant”) and rewards (Mt 25:21, 23).
Synoptic Jesus proleptically addresses the disciples as “you” who “have been with
me in my trials” and promises that they will sit on thrones judging the tribes of
Israel (Lk 22:28-30), even be served dinner by their Master (Lk 12:37-38).

3.3. Reversing Our Damages: God’s third relationship-initiative is to reverse
our damages. Human beings will be safe and sound in heaven. Because they will be
sound, they will be able to experience how safe they are. This will make it easy
for them to believe that God is, always has been, and always will be for us. By
contrast, human beings in the world as we know it do not experience themselves as
safe. Horror participation roots and amplifies our sense of danger by bringing us
to a state of prima facie personal ruin. For God to achieve Divine purposes, God
will have to reverse our ruin and heal the impediments to fruitful interaction,
God with the people of God. Jesus’ healing miracles signal some of what this
involves.

Jesus healed the blind and deaf. This was an outward and visible sign of how
Kingdom-coming will involve healing of the perception disorders that keep us from
recognizing Divine Goodness as the environment in which we live and move and have
our being. The size-gap means that even in ordinary-time, even without individual
horror-participation, we do not consciously experience Divine presence except
episodically. We have to work at recognizing good things that happen as God’s
friendly gestures. Only a few saints and heroes move forward in the confidence
that the worst that we can suffer, be, or do is no match for God. Jesus teaches
his disciples through word-and-deed ministry, but midway they still see human
beings as walking trees (Mk 8:22-25). Only the Triduum rite of passage through
crucifixion to resurrection, followed by the infusion of Holy Spirit, enables them
to see properly. So also, ante-mortem or post-mortem, even apart from individual
horror-participation, God’s healing human blindness to Divine presence and
deafness to Divine goodness will be a messy and confusing process.

Jesus healed the Gerasene demoniac and restored disintegrated personalities
to their right mind
(Mk 5:1-20). Neurotic upbringings, dysfunctional work places,
the rough and tumble of human life bottoming out in horror participation–all of
these distort our perceptions and disable us from making good sense of the world
and our lives. God’s general strategy for re-forming us into people who can trust
God to be for us, involves finding many and various ways for us (wittingly or
unwittingly) to experience God’s goodness, whether in the startling beauty of
music or in the wonder of a child or in the breaking of the eucharistic bread.
Jesus healed the mute (Mt 9:32-33). Horror-recovery makes us articulate, as we
assess and reconfigure the meanings–as we use experience of Divine goodness and
our growing sense of God as Emmanuel to re-sort what was really happening and how
we and God were related in the worst and best of times.

There is no single treatment plan for horrendous ruin, because horror
participation damages its victims in so many different ways. Horror participation
(e.g., in the Holocaust) can leave us able to calculate, but with data that won’t
allow us to make any positive sense of life. Horror participation (e.g.,
schizophrenia or PTSD) can damage our faculties so that they produce only twisted
calculations. Worse still, horror participation can “blow our minds” to the point
that we can’t make any sense–whether negative or positive–at all.

Horror perpetrators do not form a single species either. Some serial killers
and sex offenders have biochemical disorders that produce impulse control problems
(especially rage and sexual desire), while sociopaths find themselves incapable of
affective empathy with human suffering. By contrast, post-World War II studies
show that many Nazi leaders manifested no unusual personality disorders. They
became who they were by choosing into an evil ideology and deliberately
habituating themselves to callous behaviours. For still others, horror
perpetration was bad luck, a non-negligent accident, a matter of being in the
wrong place at the wrong time. For God, healing personality-distorting
biochemistry is the easy part (like Jesus’ mud-pie and saliva cures). Helping
unlucky perpetrators to live with themselves requires delicate therapy culminating
in confidence that God has made everything alright for their victims (see sec. 3.5
below). To be fit for heaven, perpetrators with evil core beliefs and entrenched
vices will have to learn a contrary way of being in the world. This will require a
long and painful therapy in which they are brought to cooperate in bringing about
drastic character change, through cycles upon cycles of repentance and amendment
of life.

3.4. Removing Us from Danger: The Bible does not try to conceal it: the world
as we know it is dangerous. According to the Bible story, one false move in
Paradise landed humankind in the world as we know it (Gen 3:1-19). Even in
Paradise, we were radically vulnerable to horrors. biblical apocalyptic (found
quintessentially in the books of Daniel and Revelation, and transmogrified in the
Synoptic Gospels) sponsors a two-age theory. During this present evil age, things
will go from bad to worse culminating in social horrors and cosmic dissolution.
When the powers of darkness have exhausted themselves by doing their damndest, God
will sound the trumpet to usher in a new world order. The age to come will feature
the ideal society in a remodelled environment, where neither death nor horrors
threaten God’s people. Meanwhile, apocalyptic works urge the faithful to persevere
to the end come what may.

Some saints and martyrs can manage it because they have experienced enough of
God to know that God is our safety. (T2) the Bible’s God is powerful to create and
to recreate. (T9) the Bible’s God cannot be counted upon to keep the worst from
happening, because–when something is destroyed–the Bible’s God can restore it as
good or better. Torah tells us: God is life, for all else the source of life and
its only reliable sustainer. John’s Jesus confidently asserts, “I have power to
lay down life and power to take it up again” (Jn 10:17-18). (T4) God’s purpose is
life together, God with the people of God. If Israel as a nation is conquered by
foreign powers, its cities razed, its institutions destroyed, and its people
scattered, God will breathe Holy Spirit over those dry bones and bring the nation
back to life (Ezekiel 37:1-14). If individual horror participants (such as Jesus’
first disciples) fall apart, God can breathe them full of Holy Spirit and
resurrect them with power (Jn 20:19-23; Acts 2:1-4 and passim). Jesus did not
amputate but straightened twisted limbs and fleshed out withered hands (Mk 3:1-6).
So the Bible’s God can take those who have perverted the image of God in
themselves through greed (Gospel tax collectors) or misplaced ideological zeal
(the Jewish religious establishment, Saul of Tarsus) and straighten them out.

Nevertheless, the Bible’s God knows that death and horror participation are
devastating for the troops. The Bible’s God exposes God’s people to horrors only
for a time and a season (this present age). The Bible’s God promises to remodel
the heavens and the earth and transform relations between matter and spirit, so
that human personality is no longer threatened by death and horrors.

IV. Getting Along with the God that We’ve Got:

(T4) The Bible’s God purposes joyful life-together, God with the people of
God. Over and above creation and conservation, (T5) Divine determination to make
our relationship work expresses itself in four initiatives: solidarity with our
horror participation; permanent and public appreciation of our costs; restoration
of horror participants to soundness of body, mind, and spirit; and transformation
of our habitat into a horror-free zone.

Relationship is a two-way street, however. No matter how much God wants to be
reconciled with horror participants, the plot cannot resolve into “happily ever
after” without appropriate relationship moves from us. What is required in
particular is for horror participants to quit holding horrors against God.
I do
not say “forgive God,” because forgiveness is usually taken to imply that the
offending party has done something wrong or violated the victim’s rights. But even
if, strictly speaking, there is nothing to be forgiven because God has not
violated human rights by creating us in a horror-studded world, a neighboring
issue remains: can it ever be reasonable for the horror participant to quit seeing
horrors as a barrier to trust, as sure signs that God is not for
us but against
us, does not love us but hates us?

The horror participant quits holding horrors against God when s/he accepts
her/his life as it was and is, horrors and all. But acceptance is a tricky
manuveur. Depending on timing and context, its significance can range from healing
to self-betrayal. Not all forms of acceptance are advisable or universally
salutary. 4.1. The Perils of Stoic Resignation: Consider, for example, Stoics who
counsel acceptance here and now. They reason from experience: the world as we know
it does not cater to human well-being. They reason from the size-gap: we have no
right to expect God to create a world that caters to us. Humility resigns itself
to our own unimportance. Sufficient humility may even be thankful, count it an
honor to have been included in God’s project even though it ruins us. Consummate
humility lends dignity when we praise our Maker, all the same.

In a way, Stoic resignation speaks well of the saints and heroes who are
capable of it. It presupposes that there is a core selfhood, an integrity that
cannot be touched by hell and high water on the outside. Torture does not degrade
the seven brothers who are butchered and fried for refusing to eat pork or burn
incense at pagan shrines, because it does not succeed in breaking them as persons
(II Maccabees 7:1-42).

Nevertheless, Stoic resignation is not even an option for everybody. Horror
participants are crushed. Their personal integrity is compromised so badly by what
happened that it is beyond merely human powers to put Humpty Dumpty back together
again. And Stoic resignation is not what the Bible mostly recommends. For one
thing, Stoic resignation “settles for less.” I agree: the size-gap means that God
doesn’t owe us. But the Bible’s God doesn’t aim at joyful life-together out of any
sense of obligation. Bizarre as it is, we are told, God simply wanted to. Life
together with us is the project God chose. God does not tell Abraham: “leave home,
let me be your God, and I will see to the ruin of you and yours.” God holds out
hope of land and dynasty, even more remarkably, that all nations will bless
themselves in Abraham’s line. Jesus assures the faithful that they will be with
him in Paradise (Lk 23:43), that they will inherit the Kingdom prepared for them
from the foundation of the world (Mt 25:34) and enter into the joy of their Master
(Mt 25:21, 23).

For another, Stoic resignation fosters quietism. If we acquiesce in our own
degradation, we will find it easy to acquiesce in the degradation of others as
well.
Among the privileged who have not confronted horrors in their own person,
Stoicism can remain theoretical, and as such easily breeds callous indifference
towards the worst off. Stoicism from the pulpit demands that the wretched
“quick-fix” their problems and stop complaining, so that the pious can avoid
facing how deeply complicit in horrors the Bible’s God is.

4.2. End-Time Acceptance: For most horror-participants, acceptance will be an
end-time goal. We come to accept our lives, not by giving up any hope of
integrity, but when we have come to a point when horror participation no longer
threatens our integrity.
Think of John’s crucified and resurrected Jesus, who
appears to his disciples with wounds gaping yet glorified (John 20:19-29).
Acceptance lets go, not of the belief that horrors were prima facie personally
ruinous, or–where human interactions are concerned–that others have something to
apologise or make amends for, but of the demand that things have been otherwise.
Acceptance does not say that the bad, the wrong, the prima facie ruinous episodes
do not matter, or that we no longer care about them. On the contrary, such events
and situations may have shaped our lives profoundly, affected the places we have
lived, the people we have loved, the careers we have chosen, the causes we have
embraced–in general, formed our perspective on the world and the place of human
beings in it. It is rather that the plot has sufficiently resolved that what
happened no longer has the ability to disrupt or compromise our integrity. We have
arrived at a place where we no longer have to struggle with what happened, no
longer experience that touch-and-go difficulty in pulling ourselves together
enough to pursue our goals constructively and energetically. We have finally come
to a stable sense of self that incorporates what happened into a functional
integrity.

This sort of acceptance will be possible and reasonable, to the extent that
horrors have been made good on, to the extent that horrors have been worked around
and defeated and made to pay for good. Acceptance will be reasonable when we no
longer need things to have been otherwise, or others to have done otherwise, in
order to maintain our present sense of worth and integrity.

God set us up for horrors by creating us in this world. And God alone has the
resources to defeat horrors. It is reasonable to see horror-participation as a
barrier to trust in God, so long as one has not experienced enough of who and what
God is to become convinced that God is always working to make good on everyone’s
horror participation and that God is power to finish what God starts. Victims
loosen their grip on accusation as they more and more experience Divine defeat of
horrors within the context of their lives. Horror perpetrators get closer to being
able to live with themselves, the more they recognize how their worst did not
separate them from the love of God, the more they experience Divine power and
determination to make it up to their victims.

4.3. Getting Along in the Meantime: There is no single recipe for how to get
along with God in the meantime. For convinced atheists, getting along with God is
not an issue, because belief in God is not a live option for them. For unsettled
agnostics, wrestling with the question of God is their way of getting along with
God, however unwittingly. Moreover, horror participation comes in degrees.
Because human beings are politically challenged, all humanly devised social
institutions spawn systemic evils. Everyone who participates in a society and
enjoys its benefits is at least complicit in any horrors to which that social
system give rise. Those of us who go farther and express ownership in an
institution or body politic (as when I say, “we dropped napalm on the
Vietnamese”), dig themselves deeper into collective responsibility, even if they
were opposed (as anti-war activists were) and even if their individual agency
played no role in bringing about the pernicious consequences (because they were
either unborn or too young at the time). Some are lucky enough to leave it at
that, so that their involvement in horrors is merely collective. Millions of
others become individually involved as victims and/or perpetrators of horrors.

4.3.1. Ironic Reconciliation: For individual horror participants who have not
given up on God but have not made peace with God either, the Job of the discourses
(Job 3-31) charts the way. In these chapters, Job sets us an example of unsparing
candor
that rubs God’s nose in just how bad things seem from a human point of
view. Job strikes a posture of protest–that God has handed Job over to horrors,
despite Job’s faithful cooperation with God’s agenda. Job has the chutzpah to
accuse God of betrayal and to demand that God do better. In the end, Job sees God,
who compensates his losses, restores health and wealth, surrounds him with
beautiful children, and vindicates his reputation (Job 42:7-17). It is only from
the latter vantage point, we are given to understand, that Job accepts his life.

Cradle-to-grave, it is reasonable for us not to trust God to the extent that
we do not see horrors being defeated.
Even if we come to some peace about our own
lives, we are not in a position reasonably to trust without reservation so long as
horrors are happening to someone else, indeed to millions of others every day.
Even when we become reasonably confident that God loves us, not protesting their
horrors would be like the wife and children of a mafia boss living in denial about
the murders and mayhem he causes outside the home. Job begins with complaints
about his own predicament. But his agony brings him into solidarity with suffering
humanity (Job 24:1-12). Protest and demand take on the added dimension of priestly
intercession: high time for God to prove faithful to the people of God!

Here is a second paradox of reconciliation. Protest and demand are
adversarial postures. In the book of Job, they have a legal flavor. Job is
bringing a charge and pressing his case. Yet, what gives Job the confidence to
gird up his loins and speak his piece is that he has already experienced how God
has given him standing, because he has already known God to have been friendly to
him in the past. The greater his implicit confidence, the more vehement his
protest, the more insistent his demand, the more adversarial he seems. Likewise
for us. We begin with candor about our own case. When we experience that protest
and demand to not call down fire from heaven, we have the chutzpah to bring a
class-action suit, to press complaints on behalf of millions of horror
participants who have given up on God or never experienced themselves as touched
by God in the first place.

The happy irony is that protesting horrors and demanding that God do better
digs us deeper into the heart of God. Our protest and demand are fueled by
Emmanuel’s sympathetic vibrations with our outrage and sense of betrayal. as
Julian of Norwich says, God is the ground of our praying. Divine solidarity
empowers us to protest our own ruin and demand that God set things right.
Widening our scope to demand that God set things right for others, enters into the
compassion that marked Jesus’ ministry. Protest and demand, willy nilly,
recognized or unrecognized, are something that we and God do together, and so take
us closer to reconciling with God.

4.3.2. “Lucky” Disciples: For people who are “lucky” enough to escape
individual horror participation, or who–for whatever reason–are gifted with an
unshakeable trust in God, ante-mortem life together with God will take a different
shape. The spiritual exercises of Ignatius Loyola invite Christians to turn their
trust in God into solidarity with Jesus Christ, who is God showing solidarity with
us, especially with the worst that we can suffer, be, or do. The Gospels tell
how Jesus Christ spent his ministry confronting horrors, reversing the damages and
challenging the system that produced them. The Gospels proclaim how Jesus Christ
accepted the horror of crucifixion as the price for such testimony, and how God
raised him from the dead. So those who turn sure trust in God into solidarity with
Jesus Christ, take up their cross daily. Like the Jesuits martyred in Central
America for championing the poor and starting base communities, they risk
individual horror participation as the price of exposing horrors, relieving
concrete misery, and working to change the system. Sure confidence that God is our
safety, finds individual horror-participation daunting (cf. Jesus in Gethsemane)
but affordable. Our Creator is our Recreator: even if we are destroyed, not only
physically (like the Maccabean martyrs) but personally (like the disciples
unravelled by Triduum events), God can remake us as good or better.

V. Methodological Coda:

Years ago, Plantinga distinguished the theoretical problem of evil–whether
evil is logically or evidentially incompatible with the existence of God–from a
religious or pastoral problem of evil–how in the face of evil it is possible to
trust in God. He declared that only the former, not the latter, is a philosopher’s
concern. How wrong he was! Here and elsewhere I have argued that the logical
problem of evil cannot be solved unless horrors can be defeated within the
framework of the individual horror participant’s life. But–and this is the first
paradox of reconciliation–horrors cannot be thus defeated unless and until the
horror participant can come to trust in God, horrors notwithstanding, and to do so
in a non-pathological way. Put otherwise, an apt solution to the theoretical
problem presupposes that an apt solution of the pastoral problem is at least
metaphysically possible. Conversely, for trust to be non-pathological, it must be
reasonable. It is reasonable to reserve trust unless and until one experiences how
God is defeating horrors. But no one can experience God defeating horrors unless
it is metaphysically possible for God to defeat horrors. Solving the pastoral
problem presupposes that a solution to the theoretical problem is possible.

Plantinga thought otherwise, because he was convinced that the logical
problem of evil could be solved by his free will defense with its postulate of the
logical possibility of universal transworld depravity (the claim that no matter
which possible persons God created in which circumstances, each would go wrong at
least once). His focus was on evil as an obstacle to the feasibility of God’s
cosmic project of creating “a very good world.” “Going wrong” was left
unelaborated, allowing his free will defense to remain neutral as to which (if
any) theory of wrong-doing is correct. By contrast, putting relationship-issues
front and center exhibits the interconnection of the theoretical and the pastoral.
It is also a hedge against our philosophical theories about God and evil becoming
religiously obtuse.


Works Cited

Adams, Marilyn McCord. Christ and Horrors: The Coherence of Christology
(Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

________________________. Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God (Ithaca &
London: Cornell University Press, 1999).

Adams, Robert Merrihew. “Must God Create the Best?” The Philosophical Review
81 (1972); reprinted in The Virtue of Faith and Other Essays in Philosophical
Theology
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), 51-64.

Baron-Cohen, Simon. The Science of Evil: on Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty
(New York: Basic Books, 2011).

Bishop, John. “How a Modest Fideism may Constrain Theistic Commitments:
Exploring an Alternative to Classical Theism,” Philosophia (2007) 35, 387-402.

_____________. “Towards a Religiously Adequate Alternative to OmniGod Theism,”
Sophia [2009] 48, 419-433.

Bishop, John and Perszyk, Ken. “The normatively relativised logical argument
from evil,” International Journal of the Philosophy of Religion 70, 109-126.

_______________________________. “Concepts of God and Problems of Evil,” in
Alternative Concepts of God, ed. by Yugin Nagasawa and Andrei Buckareff, 106-127.

Dostoevski, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov, trans. C. Garnett (New York:
Modern Library, Inc. 1950).

Hartshorne, Charles. Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes (Albany:
University of New York Press, 1984).

Hick, John. Evil and the God of Love, rev. edn. (New York: Harper & Row,
1978).

Julian of Norwich, The Revelations of Divine Love, trans. by Clifton Wolters
(Harmondsworth, Middlesex UK: Penguin Books, 1966).

Levenson, Jon. Creation and the Persistence of Evil: the Jewish Drama of
Divine Omnipotence
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994).

Mackie, J.L. “Evil and Omnipotence,” Mind 64 (1955), 200-12. Reprinted in The
Problem of Evil,
ed. by Marilyn McCord Adams and Robert Merrihew Adams (Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 1990), 25-37.

Phillips, D.Z. The Problem of Evil and the Problem of God (London: SCM Press,
2004).

Plantinga, Alvin. The Nature of Necessity (Oxford at the Clarendon Press,
1974).

_______________. “Supralapsarianism, or ‘O Felix Culpa’,” in Christian Faith
and the Problem of Evil,
ed. Peter Van Inwagen (Grand Rapids, MI and Cambridge,
UK: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2004), 1-25.

Roth, John K. “A Theodicy of Protest,” Encountering Evil, ed by Stephen T.
Davis (Atlanta, GA: John Knox Press, 1981), 7-37.

Rowe, William L. “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism,” American
Philosophical Quarterly
16 (1979), 335-341.

Southerland, Stewart. “Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God,” Proceedings
of the Aristotelian Society: Supplementary Issue
63 (1989), 311-323.

Swinburne, Richard. Providence and the Problem of Evil (Oxford: The Clarendon
Press, 1998).

Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, ed. Petrus Caramello (3 vols: Turin and
Rome: Marietti, 1952-1956).

Van Inwagen, Peter. The Problem of Evil (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Waller, James. Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass
Killing
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).

Zagzebski, Linda. “Omnisubjectivity,” Oxford Studies in Philosophy of
Religion,
vol.1, ed. by Jonathan Kvanvig (Oxford: Oxford University Press: 2008).

________________. “Omnisubjectivity: A Defense of a Divine Attribute,” The
Aquinas Lecture 2013 (Marquette, WI: Marquette University Press, 2013).

________________. “Omnisubjectivity: Why It Is a Divine Attribute,” Nova et
Vetera
14.2 (2016), 435-450.


Notes

:This paper was presented at a Templeton conference at Sankt-Georgen Theologische
Hochschüle in Frankfurt, DE, and at the 2015 Brackenridge lectureship at the Philosophy
Department, University of Texas, San Antonio. Thanks for incisive comments go to
participants in those conferences, as well as to Professor Shannon Craigo-Snell.

:Charles Hartshorne, Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes (Albany: University of
New York Press, 1984), 14, 27-28, 31, 37-38, 81.

:See Linda Zagzebski, “Omnisubjectivity,” Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion,
vol.1, ed. by Jonathan Kvanvig (Oxford: Oxford University Press: 2008); “Omnisubjectivity:
A Defense of a Divine Attribute,” The Aquinas Lecture 2013 (Marquette, WI: Marquette
University Press, 2013); and “Omnisubjectivity: Why It Is a Divine Attribute,” Nova et
Vetera
14.2 (2016), 435-450.

:Robert Merrihew Adams, “Must God Create the Best?” The Philosophical Review 81
(1972); reprinted in The Virtue of Faith and Other Essays in Philosophical Theology
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), 51-64.

:William L. Rowe, “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism,” American
Philosophical Quarterly
16 (1979), 335-341.

:Richard Swinburne, Providence and the Problem of Evil (Oxford: The Clarendon Press,
1998), ch.1, 3-10; ch.8, 138-140, 145; ch.13, 237-240.

:John Hick, Evil and the God of Love, rev. edn. (New York: Harper & Row, 1978).

:John Bishop, “How a Modest Fideism may Constrain Theistic Commitments: Exploring an
Alternative to Classical Theism,” Philosophia (2007) 35, 387-402; “Towards a Religiously
Adequate Alternative to OmniGod Theism,” Sophia [2009] 48, 419-433; John Bishop and Ken
Perszyk, “The normatively relativised logical argument from evil,” International Journal
of the Philosophy of Religion
70, 109-126; and “Concepts of God and Problems of Evil,” in
Alternative Concepts of God, ed. by Yugin Nagasawa and Andrei Buckareff, 106-127.

:Aquinas, Summa Theologica I, q.6, aa.1-4; q.20, aa.1-4.

:Alvin Plantinga, The Nature of Necessity (Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1974),
ch.IX, 164-195; Peter Van Inwagen, The Problem of Evil (Oxford: Oxford University Press),
chs.6-7, 95-134. In “Supralapsarianism, or ‘O Felix Culpa’,” (in Christian Faith and the
Problem of Evil,
ed. Peter Van Inwagen [Grand Rapids, MI and Cambridge, UK: Wm. B.
Eerdmans, 2004], 1-25), you can watch Plantinga struggling but failing to get his mind
around Stump’s and my worries about horrendous evils.

:See my Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God (Ithaca & London: Cornell University
Press, 1999) and Christ and Horrors: The Coherence of Christology (Cambridge UK: Cambridge
University Press, 2006).

:Stewart Southerland, “Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God,” Proceedings of the
Aristotelian Society: Supplementary Issue
63 (1989), 311-323.

:D.Z. Phillips, The Problem of Evil and the Problem of God (London: SCM Press, 2004).

:John K. Roth, “A Theodicy of Protest,” Encountering Evil, ed by Stephen T. Davis
(Atlanta, GA: John Knox Press, 1981), 7-37.

:J.L. Mackie, “Evil and Omnipotence,” Mind 64 (1955), 200-12. Reprinted in The
Problem of Evil,
ed. by Marilyn McCord Adams and Robert Merrihew Adams (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1990) [hereafter AAPE], 25-37.

:I owe this comparison to the Reverend Dr. Deborah Meister, rector of St. Alban’s
Episcopal Church, Washington D.C.

:Aquinas, Summa Theologica I, q.23, a.5, ad 3.

:For a thorough and fascinating development of this theme working with Hebrew bible
texts, see Jon Levenson, Creation and the Persistence of Evil: the Jewish Drama of Divine
Omnipotence
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994).

:Besides the conditional Sinai covenant, the Hebrew bible records unconditional
covenants with Noah, with the patriarchs, and with David.

:Fyodor Dostoevski, The Brothers Karamazov, trans. C. Garnett (New York: Modern
Library, Inc. 1950), Book V, ch.4; reprinted in God and Evil, ed. by Nelson Pike
(Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1964), 6-16.

:Julian of Norwich, The Revelations of Divine Love, trans. by Clifton Wolters
(Harmondsworth, Middlesex UK: Penguin Books, 1966), ch.11, 80-82; ch.35, 114.

:Julian of Norwich, The Revelations of Divine Love, ch.31, 107-108; chs.35-36,
114-117; ch.51, 144-146.

:Julian of Norwich, The Revelations of Divine Love, ch.14, 85.

:See Simon Baron-Cohen, The Science of Evil: on Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty
(New York: Basic Books, 2011), ch.3, 68-87.

:James Waller, Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).

:Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, ch.41, 123-125; ch.48, 128-130.

:For a deep and detailed discussion of how the Ignatian exercises function, see “Leid
und Übel in der ignatianischen Spiritualität” in this volume.

:Alvin Plantinga, The Nature of Necessity, ch.IX, 195.

Advertisements