Theology of Creation,
Scientific Evidence,
and Education

Theodicy — The “Problem of Evil”

with Evolution and Intelligent Design

Basically, theodicy is an attempt to explain why the existence of evil in the world — when we ask "if God is all-powerful and all-loving, why does living in our world include evil and suffering?" — is compatible with the goodness of God. 

        Perspectives on "the problem of evil" are related to questions about God's power-capability and power-decisions.  Views about divine uses of power span a wide spectrum, ranging from atheism (claiming that God does not exist, and thus has no power) through deism (proposing that God created our world but since then has not interacted with it) and minimal interaction (if action by God is rare, and is only influencing rather than controlling) to maximal interaction (if God totally controls everything).
        Among theists, another factor to consider is the timing and context of divine action, because we can distinguish between the formative history of nature and the salvation history of humans.  God's decisions about power-use might be different in these two contexts.

        Any non-deistic claim for divine action that "makes a difference" in our world — whether the action is natural-appearing or miraculous-appearing, in formative history or salvation history, as proposed in any view of creation (young-earth, old-earth progressive, or old-earth evolutionary) — leads to important theological questions:  Can God (or does God) control everything? (i.e., do any unguided events occur?)   If God is active in nature (or if he could act but does not), is He therefore responsible for animal deaths and harmful evolved organisms (deadly viruses,...) and "bad designs" and various tragic events (genetic defects, hurricanes,...) that occur in the history of nature and in everyday life?
      These are difficult questions, but one part of a satisfactory answer is the incarnation of Jesus, when God lived among us, shared our joys and sorrows, and (on the cross) suffered the consequences of moral and natural evil.  But death on the cross was followed by life in victorious resurrection, providing assurance from God that in the long run we can "know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. (Romans 8:28)"

        Young-earth creationists claim that before humans fell into sin (in Genesis 3), God protected all animals from suffering and death.  In this way, questions about theodicy can become entangled with young-earth claims about ANIMAL DEATH BEFORE HUMAN SIN.

Educational Resources:
• An overview of evolution-and-theodicy by Craig Rusbult. {5 k for end of Section 5E, and you can explore more widely by clicking italicized inside-the-page links or non-italicized links to other pages}
How can evil and suffering be compatible with a loving God? by Francis Collins (with ideas from Timothy Keller), written as an FAQ for Biologos, in support of evolutionary creation. {10 k}

I.O.U. — Currently (August 12, 2010) this page is under development.  It will be developed more thoroughly later.


In this page you'll find links to resource-pages expressing a wide range of views, which don't necessarily represent the views of the American Scientific Affiliation.  Therefore, linking to a page does not imply an endorsement by ASA.  We encourage you to use your own critical thinking to evaluate everything you read. 

This website for Whole-Person Education has TWO KINDS OF LINKS:
an ITALICIZED LINK keeps you inside a page, moving you to another part of it, and
 a NON-ITALICIZED LINK opens another page.  Both keep everything inside this window, 
so your browser's BACK-button will always take you back to where you were.

This page, written by Craig Rusbult (editor of ASA Science Ed Website), is
and was revised August 13, 2010

all links were checked-and-fixed on May 25, 2009


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