Evil, Suffering, & God:Finding Truth in the Tension RLST 370 Fall 2010
GOD HAS NO POTENTIAL
In the Words of Aquinas: (ST I.19.9) “So, God in no way wills moral evil, which upsets the natural ordering of things to divine good. But he does will physical evil or suffering by willing the good to which it is attached.” “God neither wills evils to be nor wills them not to be. He wills to allow them to happen, and this is good.” “Furthermore, many goods are present in things which would not occur unless there are were evils” (SCG III.71).
The Big Questions: - Why do we suffer? - Is human suffering necessary? - Would we be better off in a world without suffering? - Does God suffer with us? - If not, does he deserve our love and praise? - Is a God who suffers with us flawed? - Does it even matter if God suffers or not?
Why it Matters The presence of suffering in the world God’s omnipotence and his ability to save The reason for our creation Human freedom and its consequences The role of Christ
In the Words of John Hick: “. . . Tragedy, though truly tragic, may nevertheless be turned, through a man’s reaction to it, from a cause of despair and alienation from God to a stage in the fulfillment of God’s loving purpose for that individual.”
In the Words of Elizabeth Johnson: “A God who is not in some way affected by such pain is not really worthy of human love and praise. A God who is simply a spectator at all of this suffering, who even permits it, falls short of the modicum of decency expected even at the human level. Such a God is morally intolerable.”
In the Words of JürgenMoltmann: “Were God incapable of suffering in any respect, and therefore in an absolute sense, then He would also be incapable of love.”
In the Words of Fr. Thomas Weinandy: “What human beings cry out for in their suffering is not a God who suffers, but a God who loves wholly and completely, something a suffering God could not do.”
Where I’m Going(hopefully) - The necessity of suffering - The relationship between God, Christ, and the participation in human suffering