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Tuesday
Jun152010

Theological Term of the Week

Here’s the embarrassing scoop on this post: I put it together, published it, and then noticed that I’d already done this term two years ago. I did find different quotes and more good things to link to this time around, but note how similar the two posts are otherwise. You’d think they’d been done by the same person or something.

I guess one duplicate in 120 terms is not all that bad. Still, I shall try never to make this mistake again.  And I’m not happy to have wasted a few hours on a beautiful summer evening.

theodicy
An answer to “the problem of evil”; a defense of God’s goodness and justice given the existence of evil in creation; an explanation for the existence of evil in a universe created and ruled by an omnipotent and good God.

  • From scripture:

    You who are of purer eyes than to see evil
    and cannot look at wrong,
    why do you idly look at traitors
    and remain silent when the wicked swallows up
    the man more righteous than he? (Habakuk 1:13 ESV)

    In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

    In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee  of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,  to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:6-13 ESV)

  • From The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 5:
    Of Providence

    I. God the great Creator of all things does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, according to His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His own will, to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.

  • From A Biblical Theodicy by W. Gary Crampton:

    Solving the problem of evil is a matter of adopting the correct starting point. With the Bible as our axiomatic starting point, the existence of evil is not a significant problem at all. In fact, the existence of evil is far more problematic in the unbeliever’s worldview. Without a coherent standard of right and wrong, evil and good, how can one even define evil? The problem of evil cannot be coherently formulated on non-Christian grounds. And if Christian grounds are assumed in order to pose the problem, Christian grounds, that is, the Scriptures, explain evil’s purpose in the world. “All things work together for good to those who love God and are called….”

  • From Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware:

    [I]t is only because God has complete control over all bad things that we can be sure that those bad things work to bring about some good purpose that God has planned. If God is not in control of bad things, then we would be led to deep sadness, thinking that a bad thing that is happening will serve no good purpose. But it is not so! Rather, God does control the bad as well as the good. When bad things happen, we can know, then, that God is using them for good purposes. What comfort and peace this should bring to us, since God always does what is best, and God’s purposes can never fail. 

Learn more:

  1. Blue Letter Bible: The Problem of Evil
  2. Greg Koukl: A Good Reason for Evil
  3. Greg Bahnsen: The Problem of Evil
  4. Hampton Keathley IV: Why Is There Evil and Suffering?
  5. W. Gary Crampton: A Biblical Theodicy
  6. Don Whitney: The Problem of Evil (mp3)
  7. Don Carson: How can God allow evil and suffering in the world? (video)

Related terms:

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it.

I’m also interested in any suggestions you have for tweaking my definitions or for additional (or better) articles or sermons/lectures for linking. I’ll give you credit and a link back to your blog if I use your suggestion.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms organized in alphabetical order or by topic.

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