10.01 Definition (p.3)

hard cover page 3

10.01 Definition

The accepted name for the entire subject comprising the problem of evil and its attempted resolution is theodicy, from the Greek θεós, “God,” and δικη, “justice.”9

The word is a technical shorthand used several ways. Theodicy is a shorthand for the problem of evil in the face of God. It is also a shorthand for a formulation of a resolution of the problem of evil. A common definition of the word theodicy is “a defense of (the justice and righteousness of) God in the face of evil.”
Some maintain, however, that it is ludicrous, if not sacrilegious, to defend God. Whether it is or not, we will in any event be using the following definition:

Theodicy: reconciling God and religion in the face of evil.

There are implicit major and minor themes in the theodicy dilemma, namely:

  1. If God is omnipotent, omniscient, and all-merciful, why does (gross) evil befall the innocent, e.g., infants?
  2. If God is all-merciful and omnipotent, why does evil exist at all?

Answers to the first element of the dilemma will lead us to follow up and inquire as to the ultimate purposes of man; answers to the second element of the dilemma will lead us into inquiries regarding the origins of the cosmos.

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9 Hick, Evil and the God of Love, p. 6.