The Problem of Evil – The Divine Theodicy

The Gospel is the Divine Theodicy.

The Gospel does not only address our mind (as discussions of the problem of evil often do). Berkouwer points out that the Gospel addresses “man himself – the whole of man … in a very profound way” (Sin, p. 15, emphasis original). He emphasizes that our interest in the origin of sin can only be called “existential” (Sin, p. 15).

The Gospel demands that “confession (of guilt) is really the existential application of the Deus non causa peccati (God is not the Author of sin)” (Sin, p. 65, italics original, brackets mine).

The Gospel demands that such confession of sin is not a mild recognition of imperfection, tinged with self-excuse (Sin, p. 17, citing Romans 1:20, 2:1; 1 John 1:8, 10), since the Gospel affirms that Christ died not for the “righteous” or the “good” but for “sinners” (Romans 5:7-8).

The Gospel is the “Divine Theodicy”. This is not a human theodicy. This is not man’s defence of God through his reason. This is God’s defence of Himself through His revelation. The Gospel reveals to us the thoroughly existential character of the problem of evil.

The Gospel takes us beyond the question,  “How can God permit evil in the world?”  It takes us on to the question, “How can God have such love for  a sinner like me?”

Through faith in Jesus Christ, the believer recognizes that “The love of God is both more significant and more inexplicable than the horror of evil. It is also more powerful, for evil is expelled by love … the conquering love of God which was victorious in the sacrificial life and death of Jesus Christ” (D. G. Bloesch, The Ground of Certainty, 124).


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