Considering Theodicy

Theodicy is a topic I’ve been thinking about a bit. Next weekend, in the OT course I’m taking my final is to give a 10 minute homily on an Old Testament lection (assigned reading for a liturgy, matins, or vespers service). I was considering doing my little talk on a Genesis reading, because that’s the book I know the best. I’ve read a number of commentaries on Genesis (including the wonderful Kass book) and 4 or 5 separate translations, some heavily footnoted and with generous comments. But … I’ve decided instead to stretch myself and am going to talk on Job 2:1-10 … although I will likely stray to include remarks on the entire narrative of Job and the theodicy contained within that book.

Theodicy connects often as well to apologetics. Blog neighbor Larry Niven at Rust Belt (link) often looks at what he sees as failing theodicy arguments as a proof of God’s non-existence, for in his view without an answer to Theodicy God cannot exist (or be good … or at the very least worthy of worship). One of the likely failings here is that logic is not up to the task of describing everything. If he put his critical analysis of argument to work on those things to which he ascribes then likely he’d find they also fail. As Mr Plantiga remarks (in a book I have yet to read so forgive me I can’t support the details of the argument) that the argument for the existence for God fails, but it fails in a direct parallel to the argument for the existence of other minds, which also fails. We all (I’d venture) expect that other minds in the universe actually exist. Thus the failure of the (logical) argument for other minds really existing does not give us pause in our belief in them … thus that “best” (logical) argument for the existence for God failing also might not be flawed. This isn’t to say that it means that just as other minds exist so must God exist, that is the failure of the argument is no justification for non-belief if you believe other minds exist. On this subject, I’ll try to expound in the coming week.

So anyhow, during the next week I’ll likely be developing thoughts for my homily. In that regard, does anyone have any suggestions for net based resources on theodicy general and Job in particular?

I should mention that the lection noted above is read during Holy Week on Wednesday night. So besides connecting this reading to theodicy a discussion of what connection (which I think is sort of obvious) Holy Week and its events have with Job. My guess is that the obvious connection is that God’s answer to evil (and specifically bad things happening to the innocent) is the promise demonstrated by the Resurrection. But that might be just too easy an answer. I’m suspicious of easy answers.

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