“God is love”
We have all heard or seen this posted in society and it is a fundamental part of Christian belief. But is God still love when I am suffering, when life is a constant, unending struggle and when the depths of despair suffocate my very existence?
This brings us to a very important theological term: Theodicy.
It is God’s vindication in light of the evil of this world keeping in mind his consistent goodness and providence. Merriam-Webster simply lists it as a “defense of God’s goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil.” Okay, God is good. God is all powerful, why will he not insulate me from the pain of this world? Why won’t he heal my sick or broken body? Why won’t he stop the pervasive evil that seems so rampant on this earth?
This is a longer conversation, but there are a few elements that help us comprehend a supernatural God that interacts with the natural world.
God Gave Man Free Will
The greatest gift of love God could give mankind is free will. He does not make us love Him or obey him. He gave man the opportunity to choose between God and selfishness, good and evil. This is what afforded the opportunity for original sin with Adam and Eve. When man chose his path and sin entered the world, God, in his overwhelming goodness, sent Jesus Christ to repair that relationship in spite of our rejection of this desired relationship with our Creator.
Satan Is Real
We may not talk about it too much, but there is an author of the evil in the world that is very active as we all can see. From the temptation of the Garden of Eden to today, the influence, deception and temptation of Satan in the minds and motives of mankind cause the pain and suffering we experience today. Even more than this, our participation in the selfishness and sin of the world sever our relationship with our loving God. The issue of theodicy is not a removal of evil only, it is complete domination and destruction of evil through the power of good. Romans 12:21 states, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (NIV)
God Is Immutable
So, was God weakened by the evidence of sin, suffering and rampant evil in the world? Was he shocked by this? Not at all. Theodicy further expresses one of the fundamental attributes that make God above mere mortals. He is immutable, which means he never changes. Hebrews 13:8 states, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” God is not wringing his hands wondering where the suffering of this world came from and what to do. God is consistent in his love, his power, his faithfulness, his commitment to mankind and his forgiveness.
Our comprehension of theodicy grows with a deeper understanding of the character of God and that even in the midst of deepest pain and turmoil, even when there is global uncertainty and despair the consistency of a God that is good and a God that is powerful gives us peace in life’s challenges and hope for tomorrow. He’s got this, we just need to trust him!
Want more? Check out all the articles from Theology Thursday and return each week for a new post. Learn more about the College of Theology and their degree programs by checking out our website or requesting more information with the button on this page.