Hamartiology: the Problem of Evil (Theodicy)

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Date Submitted: 09/15/2014 04:43 PM

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Hamartiology: The Problem of Evil (Theodicy)

One Sunday afternoon, as my family and I returned home from worshiping at church, our neighbor Sam approached my husband and I troubled. He said he did not understand how if God truly exists, how there was so much evil in the world. We asked him to come inside and let us get the baby settled and we would talk with him. My husband and I said a prayer as we put the baby down for a nap, for God to lead our words to help Sam and not confuse him. We let him explain what he was feeling. With all the news reports of natural catastrophes, wars, disease, and so on, had him questioning why there is a presence of evil in the world, if indeed God exists. In response to this we need to define the problem of evil, explain moral and natural evil and their existence, consider various theodicies, discuss why a theodicy must be internally consistent, and finally understand how personal experience with evil affects one’s relationship with God.

According to Walter A. Elwell, "the problem of evil is a question about the logical consistency of several propositions central to various theological systems. The phrase "the problem of evil" is actually a label for a series of such problems involving God and evil" (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, p.413). The "problem with evil" believes that in a world created by a God who is supposed to be all loving and all powerful, why would He allow evil to be in the world. Why would he allow killings, cancer, and natural disasters? He does not allow it; evil is a byproduct of free will. With us being free to choose between doing the right thing, which is good, and doing the wrong thing, evil. The problem of evil is not only bound to Christian belief but to other religions as well. Walter A. Elwell says, "the problem of evil, then, is a problem of both theological and philosophical interest as well as a matter of religious import, and it arises not only in Western religion and philosophy but also in...