30.02 Elaboration (pps.20-31)
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The very fact that well over twenty major theodicies appear in various forms throughout Jewish literature reflects great dissatisfaction with any one existing theodicy. Our purpose, however, is not to critique all theodicies that have been previously suggested. We simply state that we personally do not find any given theodicy or combination of theodicies anywhere near fully satisfying intellectually or emotionally. This is sufficient reason for us to search further.
Given its long history, one is unlikely to unearth the obvious, perfectly satisfying theodicy. Rather, the goal is to find or formulate a more satisfying theodicy. An examination of the seven groups of responses follows.
Group I. Finite man cannot comprehend infinite God’s ways:76 EXPLICATION
The classic biblical support cited by the proponents of this theodicy comes from the final chapter of Job. The Divine voice addresses Job:
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare if thou hast the understanding. -Job 38:4
One possible interpretation is that “man’s suffering represents an infinitesimally small part of the cosmos. When the world is viewed from a perspective broader than man’s, the evil in it is not enough to call God’s rule into question.”77 The sentiment is echoed by the third-century sage Yannai: “It is not in our power to understand the suffering of the righteous or the well-being of the wicked.”78
Thus in Job, a book which Maimonides79 describes as a parable conceived for the purpose of articulating various
â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”- NOTES â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”-
75 In the spirit of the folk etymology of the Talmud: T-Y-K-V (pronounced tay-ku).
76 Cf. Hick, Readings in the Philosophy of Religion, p. 86. David Hume provides an example of a classic perspective: “At least, you must acknowledge that it is impossible for us to tell, from our limited views, whether this system contains any great faults or deserves any considerable praise if compared to other possible and even real systems. Could a peasant, if the Aeneid were read to him, pronounce that poem to be absolutely faultless, or even assign to it its proper rank among the productions of human wit, he who had never seen any other production?”
77 Gordis, The Book of God and Man, p. 155.
78 T. B. Avot 4: 15.
79 After discussion in T B. Baba Batra 15a.
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