Unification Theology In Comparative Perspectives - Edited by Anthony J. Guerra - 1988

The Problem of Evil and the Goodness of God -- by Lloyd Eby

Introduction: God and Evil

Many people seem to think that the question whether God exists is the most important of the many philosophical questions connected with theology, with philosophy of religion, and with religious practice. For quite a long time, however, I have felt otherwise; it seems to me that a far more important question is whether the God who existed My having grown up within an overwhelming and oppressive religious tradition -- Mennonitism -- has left me with an abiding fear that the God who I am sure exists may not be good.

The question of the goodness of God has at least these parts: (1) is it really true that God is the source or cause of the evils that seem to come from divine activity or from religious systems, doctrines and practices; (2) can or could God do away with the evils that befall mankind if He chose to do so, and if He has that ability, then why does He choose not to use it, and (3) does God overlook these things and sacrifice them in favor of his own (supposedly superior) interest and will? I will not be able to answer all those questions thoroughly here, but I will explore one of the most important aspects of the problem, the abiding question of theodicy.

I. The Problem of Theodicy

The problem of the goodness of God in light of the evil in the world, known in theology and philosophy as the problem of theodicy, can be expressed as a series of assertions about God and the existence of evil. These assertions about God seem to be components of an adequate doctrine of God -- adequate at least from the point of view of the received tradition for monotheistic religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Thus if:

(a) God exists, and

(b) God is the Unique Creator or First Cause of the existing universe, and

(c) God is fully good and/or fully loving, and

(d) God is omnipotent or fully powerful and competent, then how can it be that

(e) there is evil in the world.1

It seems, intuitively at least, that logic requires that the conjunction of all those clauses cannot be true, i.e., logic seems to require that at least one of those clauses is false.2 Solutions to the problem of theodicy, then, have nearly always been attempts to argue for the denial of at least one of those clauses, coupled with an argument that the denied clause is not really a necessary component of an adequate doctrine of God or of the world.

One possible solution is atheism, the denial of clause a, and many people have concluded on the basis of the existence of evil that God does not exist. This solution is obviously not available to believers. Metaphysical dualism solves the problem by denying clause b by claiming that there are indeed two sources of existence, a "good" source and an "evil" source, or a principle of light and a principle of darkness. The ancient Greeks and the Gnostics, for example, held that matter is evil, but that God did not create the material world. But this solution too is unavailable to orthodox monotheistic religions, especially Judaism, Christianity and Islam, all of which are committed to the existence of just one Original Creator. Another possible solution is to deny clause e by asserting that evil is not real; this solution is adopted by Christian Science and by Vedanta Hinduism, which claims that evil is maya, an illusion. But the monstrous crimes of the twentieth century, such as wholesale mass murders of millions of people, seem to be clear evidence of the existence of genuine evil, so I and most other people are convinced that evil is not just an illusion and that clause e is true. In any case, claiming that evil is an illusion does not solve the problem of our suffering brought about by the illusion.

It is clear from this that Judaism, Christianity and Islam cannot really deny clauses a b or e without denying basic foundations of their beliefs. The only other candidates for denial are clauses c and d, which means denying either the goodness or the power of God in some manner, and most theodicies connected with those religions have tried to work out a solution in just that way. Because of that, the problem of theodicy is often put in terms of a conflict between the goodness and the power of God.

Most Christian attempts to solve the problem of theodicy have attempted to deny or weaken clause d in some way, claiming that God's power is in some way restricted, curtailed, or self-limited. But theologies or philosophies which attempt to maintain that there is a limitation of divine power, while at the same time as setting the doctrine of divine creation of the universe, meet with a problem. The simultaneous assertion of these two claims -- that God is the Creator of heaven and earth, and that God is limited in power -- seems to lead to contradiction. The power to create in an absolute way (which the received orthodox traditions in Judaism, Christianity and Islam all imply or assert that God has) seems to imply that the Creator has the power to do whatever He chooses to do. The doctrine of divine creation of time and the universe seems to imply that God's power in the act of creation is an unlimited power.

Some theologians attempt to understand or explain God's creation by reference to the model of human creativity, and explain limitations of divine power by analogy to limitations in human power, but this hardly works. God's creative power cannot be compared with any human power exercised in a human act of creation. Human creation operates only within limitations -- human creativity makes something from other things, or generates children, or performs other creative acts, none of which ate absolute creations, but only creative acts within the parameters of existence and creativity already established. But God's creation of the universe (according to the received doctrines of creation held to by Judaism, Christianity, and possibly Islam) is absolute in that there is no previous existence or universe which it operates "inside" of; it brings existence out of non-existence (this is asserted, at least, in the doctrine of creation ex nihilo), and at the same time it makes the rules and parameters of time and existence itself.

We can express this contradiction between creation and limitation of power in terms of our clauses given above. To do this we should note that clause b really contains two claims; that there is only one Creator God or First Cause, and that this Creator God brought the universe into existence out of nothing, i.e., that God by His action caused the absolute beginning of time and the universe and gave the universe its characteristics. It is the second of those claims contained within clause b that we ate concerned with here. Clause b, understood in this way, seems to imply clause d(i.e., creation by God implies that God is all-powerful). But then, by the logical principle of modus tollens, the negation of clause d(i.e., the assertion that God's power is limited or curtailed in some way) implies the negation of clause b (i.e., that it is in some way false that God by His action created the universe). It seems, therefore, that if God is indeed the creator in the way Judeo-Christian monotheistic religions claim, then God's not changing things (i.e., His failure to eliminate evil by a divine act) must be due not to his lack of power to do so, but to His interest in having the evil condition or situation exist. This divine interest may operate without regard for human interest; in other words, God's interest may be a selfish interest.

Interestingly enough, in the most pointed discussions of the problem of theodicy in the Bible -- the discussions in Job and Romans -- the power of God as manifested in creation is given as the (non)answer to the problem. When God finally deigns to respond to Job, instead of answering Job's questions, God refers to the mysteries of creation as demonstrating God's power and as showing human (Job's) insignificance and unworthiness to question divine action and purpose.3 So Job is forced to fall mute before divine assertion and action. Therefore Job does not really answer the question of theodicy except negatively, holding that God as sovereign creator is of surpassing power and is not subject to any requirements of having to answer human (Job's) questions about his activities. In the Epistle to the Romans Saint Paul likewise asserts that God's activity is both decisive and beyond human question.4 God shows mercy to whomever He wishes, "So it depends not upon man's will or exertion, but upon God's mercy."5 Paul appeals to God's activity in creation as justifying this and as compelling human silence and acquiescence: "But who are you, a man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, 'Why have you made me thus?' Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?"6

One quasi-Christian theological movement that has had a great deal of influence in recent years (at least in America) is process theology, developed by Charles Hartshorne, John Cobb, Jr., David Ray Griffin and many others, based on the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, especially as developed in Whitehead's major work, Process and Reality. Process theology explicitly denies divine omnipotence, and therefore has little trouble developing a theodicy.7 But also, interestingly enough, process theology gives up the traditional doctrine of divine creation in favor of a doctrine with a very curtailed or weak notion of creation (if it indeed has a doctrine of creation at all), differing very much from the traditional Christian creation ex nihilo view. In the process view, there is no unique, divinely-willed act that bungs into existence time and the universe. Process theology therefore avoids the logical problem mentioned above, because it gives up both clauses b and d. (The problem, as we saw above, is that if clause b implies clause d then it is contradictory to simultaneously assert the truth of clause b and the negation of clause d. But if clauses b and d are both denied, then no contradiction arises.) The adequacy of process theology on other points, however, must be left for other discussions.

One of the best and most thorough accounts of theodicy as it has been developed in (traditional) Christian theology has been given by John Hick.8 Hick divides Christian theodicies into two types, which he calls Augustinian (after St. Augustine) and Irenaean (after Irenaeus). The Augustinian-Latin answer has been adopted by the majority of Christian thinkers, but Irenaean theodicy, which was developed by Irenaeus and the Greek fathers prior to the work of Augustine, has had its (smaller) share of adherents.

Augustine, after his conversion to Christianity, abandoned his earlier Manichean dualism, and asserted that the universe (including matter) and its Unique Creator (God) ate unambiguously good. Evil, according to Augustine, is the privation, coemption or perversion of something that was (previously or otherwise) good. Evil has no substantial being in itself, but is always parasitic upon good. Evil, then, entered the universe through the culpable free actions of otherwise good beings -- angels and humans. Sin consisted not in choosing evil (because there was no evil, as such to choose), but in turning away from the higher good of God to a lower good. Natural evils (which will be discussed more thoroughly later) are held by Augustine to be consequences of the fall, and thus also consequences of (human or angelic) free will. When we ask what caused man to fall, Augustine answers through his doctrine of deficient causation. There is no positive cause of evil will, but rather a negation of deficiency; Augustine seems to mean by this that free volitions ate, in principle, inexplicable -- free willing is itself an originating cause, with no prior cause (or explanation).

In addition to this, Augustine has another theme, which we can call the aesthetic conception of evil. According to this view, what appears to be evil is such only when seen in an isolated or limited context; when viewed in the context of the totality of the universe it is good because it is a necessary element in that good universe. This view comes from the principle of plentitude (derived from Plato's Timaeus, 41 b-c) which holds that a universe in which all the various possibilities of being are realized -- a universe containing lower and lesser, as well as higher and greater beings -- is greater than a universe which contains only the highest type of beings. In other words, the universe, to be as great as possible, must contain a hierarchy of forms of created beings, each good in its own place in the scheme of things. Lower beings are not, therefore, evil, bur merely different goods. As an application of this principle, Augustine holds that the universe must contain mutable and corruptible beings. It is better that the universe contain free beings who can (and do) fall, than that it should fail to have them. Augustine, therefore, brings even moral evil within the scope of the aesthetic conception of evil. (The distinction between moral and natural evil will be discussed later.)

The two principle theses of Augustine's view (evil as privation and the aesthetic conception of evil) were adopted by Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologica (I, 47-49), and by Leibniz in his Theodicee. Employing these concepts, Leibniz argued that this is the best of all possible worlds, by which he means the best of all possible universes -- a view which Voltaire satirized mercilessly in Candide. It is the best not because there is no evil in it, but because any other possible universe would not be as good (i.e., would contain fewer possibilities, which means mote evil). Since all the possibilities of existence are eternally present to the Divine Mind, God surveys all these possibilities and selects the best, and then brings those particular possibilities into existence.

This traditional (Augustinian) theodicy has been criticized on primarily two points: its accounts of the origin of evil and of the final disposition of evil. According to the Augustinian view, a finitely perfect being willfully fell into evil. But that seems to be self-contradictory. If a being is indeed perfect, then it seems that such a being could not fall, because perfection seems to imply the lack of capability for evil or falling. To assert otherwise seems to imply that evil has created itself ex nihilo. Furthermore, Augustine's doctrine of the fall seems to be in conflict with his view on predestination, which in effect, sets man's activities within the purpose and responsibility of God (cf. Saint Paul's assertions in Roman's quoted above); it seems to follow therefore that evil and the fall were predestined by God. The problem of the final disposition of moral evil can be put in terms of a conflict between clauses c and d: If God desires to save all human creatures but is not able to do so (i.e., clause d is false), then he is limited in power, but if he does not wish to save all, but has created some for damnation, then he is limited in goodness (i.e., clause c is false). In any case, the doctrine of eternal damnation, when it is held, makes it impossible to make any Christian theodicy.

Irenaean theodicy differs from that of Augustine in that Augustine held that the pre-fall Adam was in a state of original righteousness and that his sin constituted the inexplicable turning away from good by a wholly good being, whereas Irenaeus held that the pie-fall Adam was more like a child than a mature and responsible adult. In this Irenaean view, Adam stood at the beginning of a long process of development; he had been created as a personal being in the "image" of God, but he had to develop into the "likeness" of God. Adam's fall, then, was not a disastrous transformation and ruination of man's situation so much as it was a delaying and complication of his development from the "image" into the "likeness" of God. In this view, man is seen as not having fallen from so great a height of original righteousness, not to so profound a depth of depravity as in the Augustinian view. In Augustine's view, man was spiritually fully perfected before the fall, but in the Irenaean view man fell in the early stages of his spiritual development, and now needs greater help than would otherwise have been required in carrying through that development.

The Irenaean theodicy also differs from the Augustinian in its view of the purpose of the world. The Irenaean account sees the world as a place for "soul-making," an environment in which the human personality may develop and grow. Nature, as an environment for man, has its own autonomous laws, which man must learn to obey. If God had created a world in which natural laws were continually changed to fit human desire, then there would be no opportunity for humans to grow through subordinating their desire to external laws. There would be no occasions in which humans could do any evil or harm, and consequently there would be no occasions for moral choice. In this view, the making of such choices is the primary means by which human growth -- the growth that God intended this world to be the arena for -- is made. Therefore it was necessary that God create the world and humans in such a way that humans would be faced with moral choices in order that humans might develop the moral virtues.

It is clear that the Irenaean account of the origin of evil avoids some of the problems and consequences of the more traditional Augustinian accounts.9 One of the possible difficulties of such a view, however, is that it may not take sufficient cognizance of divine sovereignty (i.e., it seems to go against at least some parts of the Bible, such as Job and Romans), and it is difficult to harmonize such an account with any strong doctrine of creation. More importantly, we can ask why man could not have been created by God already perfect, having the virtues that are supposed to be developed through those moral choices. One answer to that question is that a developed virtue is more valuable than one created by divine fiat, and that God is not content to have creatures with only ready-made or ready-created qualities. That reply seems not to be completely satisfactory, however, because the connection between gaining virtues and going through trials is not a direct one; there is no one-to-one correspondence between having overcome some potential evil and having developed a virtue, in fact the evidence for any such correspondence is vague at best. At least as many people (probably more) have been crushed by life's challenges as have developed virtues through overcoming them. It would seem that those who have been crushed would have reason to say that what they were faced with was not something that was a good placed before them by the Creator. Discussions of these points tend to trail into discussions of eschatology, claiming that in the final eschaton, all will be made good, and it will then be found that Divine Purpose was fully good and fully provident after all. Such eschatological discussions, however, place the solution to theodicy beyond discussion because they depend on what cannot be known (at least to finite creatures) because it is future.

In more recent developments of Irenaean-type theodicy there is a tendency to give up the notion of the fall as a primordial historical event or occurrence, and to see it as a mythological account of a general human difficulty and tendency -- a general impediment to development existing within all human life. This view also tends toward assuming that the fall (considered either as a primordial historical event, or as an impediment existing naturally within human life) was an inevitable consequence of human existence.

As Young Oon Kim has noted, one possible way of handling the problem of evil is to drastically reduce or qualify the goodness of God, and any theology which asserts the existence of divine predestination of evil and damnation, or of an eternal hell implies a limitation of God's goodness and love.10 In these views, God is sovereign, Lord of nature and history. What right do we humans have to question God's acts, and especially what right do we have to judge Him by our finite ethical standards? (The references above to Job and to Saint Paul's claims in Romans argue precisely this way.) In addition to Job and Saint Paul, the reformers -- Luther, Calvin and Zwingli -- tended to attempt to solve the problem of evil in this way. Those who attempt this solution argue that whatever God wills is right because God, as Sovereign, wills it. But that answer commits or leads to a logical absurdity: in asserting that divine sovereignty makes whatever God does good, there is an implicit assertion that what would otherwise not be good is good only because God does or wills it. This implies that 'good' does not have any independent meaning or status, and it 'good' means something different depending on who is saying or doing whatever is in question, then no logical discussion seems possible. If what God wills is good simply because God wills it, then there is no independent meaning to 'good,' and discussions of goodness will become impossible because there is no logical way of understanding or defining goodness. This solution, moreover, turns Christianity into a rigid form of determinism, makes God into a despot, and makes the (seemingly arbitrary) exercise of divine power more important than moral or ethical standards.

This problem of God versus man is a central problem of western monotheistic theology and culture, i.e., or Judeo-Christian and Islamic life, religion and culture. In fact, it is possibly the dominant problem of these cultures and religions. The God-versus-man problem, however, seems to be much less severe -- and possibly even nonexistent -- for the life, religion and culture of Oriental societies (I have in mind primarily Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Shinto, and their various offspring) because those cultures and religions do not really have a personal, sovereign, creator God. Instead they have a mote naturalistic god, a god that is everywhere and is expressed in nature and in human events and life, a god that is not really a person who says "I am." The orthodox Judeo-Christian tradition, however, has a God who is a sovereign person in a strong sense, who describes Himself in the great assertion, "I AM WHO I AM " of the Old Testament,11 a God who is so holy that His name cannot even be spoken by humans. In other words, God asserts his own "I-ness" from the beginning. In order then for humans to relate with this God, they must submit or bow down or humble their own "I-ness" below God's "I-ness." Human existence and well-being therefore seem to be circumscribed by -- or even compromised before -- God's existence, while God's existence or "I-ness" is not circumscribed by or compromised before human existence in the same way.

Attempts, such as those of Plantinga and others,12 to argue that God's creation of free beings means that they must have the real ability to choose evil seem to me to be problematic also. The doctrine of divine creation seems to me to imply that whatever characteristics any created person has -- whether those characteristics be faith or lack of faith, perseverance or lack of perseverance, love or lack of love, or whatever -- all those characteristics themselves are ultimately the characteristics that were given to the person by God. God is the Ultimate Cause, and hence the ultimate cause of the personality and character, the will and abilities, the desires and needs of each individual also. Each person is a resultant being, and hence not the cause of himself, or of his characteristics.

Most Christian attempts to account for such a God-human split or tension claim that it came about because of the fall of man. That account, however, is not fully convincing. If there was a fall (either a primordial disastrous one, or a general one that happens naturally to all in the course of human development), it seems that the divine-human split must have existed before that fall; if there had been no such split -- if human interest were not sometimes in conflict with divine desire, as an inevitable result of human existence -- then there would hardly be any possibility of any fall. A fall, if it happens for any reason other than divine predestination (and note that some theologies, such as that of Augustine, hold that the fall was predestined), could only come about because humans chose it because they were motivated by a human desire. (The only other possibility is that it was a purely random accident -- but in that case it is impossible to see how there could be any human responsibility for it, and any just account would require that God solve the problem by his fiat). Such human desire, at least in the case of the primordial fall, can be accounted for (assuming a non-Manichean doctrine of creation) only as a desire that arises as an inevitable result of the facts of divine creation. But such a desire must also be contradictory to God's desire. So the conclusion seems to be that some conflict between God's desire and human desire seems to arise inevitably from creation, which implies that the divine-human split or tension must be inherent, in some fashion, in creation. The choice confronting humans even before the fall, therefore, must have been between choosing God's way or denying their own happiness (or at least what they perceived as their present happiness -- in other words, they had to deny their perceptions in favor or divine law).

In some accounts of the origin of evil, Satan figures prominently as the seducer or deceiver of humans, and the primary onus or responsibility for causing evil is placed on Satan. This may be of great help in developing a demonology and an adequate theology and piety of evil and it may help toward an adequate theory of human responsibility, but it is of hardly any consequence for the problem of theodicy. It merely shoves the problem back one step earlier, to accounting for why Satan chose evil instead of good, which brings us only to the same set of questions as discussed above. Satan seems to be merely another victim in this drama, a character who is himself a created being, and who therefore faces a similar dilemma as the humans. In other words, the being who became Satan was caught in the same bind or dilemma of having either to submit to God, which meant to give up some perceived good, or else defying God, which meant his downfall. In either case, he lost something.

Anselm discusses the fall or Satan, and tries to account for it on the basis of a distorted will. Anselm tries to use this account to place the onus for Satan's fall on Satan himself, removing any onus from God. Anselm discusses the problem in terms of whether Satan was given perseverance and a will sufficient to resist falling. According to Anselm, God gave Satan a will and perseverance sufficient for him to avoid the fall, but Satan nevertheless fell. Anselm seems to suggest that it was Satan's failure to receive, and not God's failure to give, that caused the problem. It seems to me, however, that Anselm's answer does not accomplish his purpose or removing the onus of Satan's fall from God. It is obviously false to claim that Satan was given a sufficient will and perseverance to avoid turning to evil, as Anselm claims, for if Satan had had these sufficiently to avoid falling, then he would in fact not have fallen. The fact that he fell proves that his will and perseverance were not sufficiently strong to avoid falling. Since the will and perseverance he had were given to him by God, then the conclusion must be that God did not give him a sufficient will and perseverance to avoid falling, and if God offered but Satan did not receive, then this came about because God did not give Satan a sufficient desire or will to receive. I do not see that Anselm has really answered this problem.13 Another possible way of attempting to solve the problem of the origin of Satan may be to see Satan as a formerly good but imperfect being -- an angel who, like the pie-fall Adam, was growing toward some fuller state of existence -- who fell from that state, and then (or thereby) induced the human fall. In other words, it may be possible to adapt an Irenaean-type theodicy for the fall of Satan also, and in that way account for the Biblical suggestion that an evil being induced the human fall.

As can be seen from this discussion, the arguments and discussions about the problem of theodicy seem inconclusive in that there seems to be no solution (or at least no solution from logic or from theological speculation) that is not open to serious and seemingly unanswerable questions about its adequacy and accuracy. Young Oon Kim notes that some theologians and philosophers have concluded that the origin of evil may be a mystery that is beyond powers of human comprehension. But she also notes -- and she is surely correct in this observation -- that more and more Christian theologians tend towards a view that limits God's sovereignty in some way,14 despite the Biblical claims otherwise, and despite what seem to be the requirements for divine power inherent in a doctrine of creation. (But also, as noted above, many theologians, especially process theologians, tend also to give up those notions of creation that imply sovereign divine power.)

II. The Problem of Natural Evil

In most theological and philosophical discussions, evil has been divided into two types: moral evil and natural evil.15 Moral evil includes all the evils that pertain to human morality and includes such things as murder, immorality, theft, hate, envy, gluttony, exploitation of one person by another and so on. Natural evil is evil or suffering that comes about through the activity of nature or natural events, and includes such things as disease, natural disasters such as earthquakes, storms or tidal waves, plagues of animals such as locusts, big fish eating little fish, and so on. These so-called natural evils are problems for the question of divine goodness because some of them lead to unwarranted, unnecessary, or gratuitous suffering for sentient beings, especially humans. A solution to the problem of moral evil does not necessarily also mean that the problem of natural evil has been solved.

Many devout theodicies, whatever account they may have given of moral evil, have tried to solve the problem of natural evil by denying clause e through asserting that natural evils are only apparent and not real. Other views, such as Augustine's mentioned above, have tried to maintain that even natural evils came about through human choice or agency. Another possibility is to adopt a form of the aesthetic conception of evil (mentioned above in connection with Augustine) and apply it to natural events, claiming that the seeming evils are parts of one grander divine scheme (this is a form of denial of clause e for natural evils). Still another possibility is to attempt to divide natural evils into two groups, assert that one group is not really evil (i.e., deny clause e for that group), and then assert that the other group came into existence because of the culpable acts of human agents. For example, one might assert that there is no evil when big fish eat little fish, or when poisonous snakes attack and kill children (because these ate just the normal workings of nature, and nature is neutral), and also assert that if humans had not fallen and were fully perfected (i.e., if they had the divine "likeness" spoken of by Irenaeus) then either the natural evils would not occur or humans would have the ability to avert bad consequences from them (for example, by being able to predict earthquakes and by moving the inhabitants from the region to be affected, or by controlling or averting all diseases that result in unwarranted suffering). In other words, those views assert that although the results of some natural events are genuinely evil, even those evils came about because of the human fall.

This (last suggested) solution has a number or deficiencies or problems: (1) It tends not to be open to falsification16 because it insists on re-explaining any proffered counterexample by reference to its theory in such a way that the theory itself is never challenged. (2) It does not really take natural evil sufficiently seriously because it refuses to call it truly evil. (3) It takes too optimistic a view of human ability to predict and control the actions of nature. One of the results of the overthrow of the Newtonian world-view and its replacement with an Einsteinian and quantum-mechanical view is that natural events become, in principle, not fully knowable or predictable because the world is not a deterministic world. (4) This solution works only if for every case of so-called natural evil that results in gratuitous suffering, it can be shown that this suffering came about because of a (moral) failure by some agent (e.g., human or angel) other than God. In other words, even if it is shown that many or even most cases of gratuitous suffering from natural causes occur because of human (moral) failure, this is not sufficient to show that all such examples are thereby accounted for. It seems fair to say, then, that views which deny clause e for natural evil do not give a convincing solution to the problem.

Those views which try to deny the existence of genuine natural evil seem to me to be Pollyannaish. One can hardly see the natural order as only beneficial or benevolent unless one lives in an extremely mild and sheltered environment. The natural environment is frequently a threat to human life and well-being: this environment contains drought, poisonous plants, animals and water, life-threatening floods and storms, and unforeseeable malevolent changes in terrain, weather and other conditions. Other clear cases of problems arising from nature are widespread incurable disease such as cancer and sudden heart attack, inherited disease such as diabetes and birth defects, and diseases caused by unpreventable and unforeseeable accidents.

It seems clear that any doctrine of divine creation requires that God be the origin of the natural order along with its principles of operation. The existence of so-called natural evils seems to imply that the creation made by God cannot be wholly good, at least in any simple way. This suggests a deficiency in the Creator in that He has made a world in which there exists gratuitous suffering. In other words, the existence of natural evil tends to argue strongly that clause c is false. For this reason, devout persons attempting a theodicy tend to find themselves driven toward some solution that denies clause e for natural evils. But this attempt, as suggested above, is confronted by objections that seem overwhelming. Here, as before, discussions of the problem for devout theologians or believers tend to trail into discussions of eschatology, with a view that the eschaton will also be an eschaton for natural events and beings, as in the Biblical assertion that (presumably sometime in the future) "the wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox... "17

We can conclude our discussion of so-called natural evil, then, by asserting that it seems to present special obstacles for anyone who wishes to argue for divine goodness, that natural evil seems to be so prevalent and so powerful that it resists attempts to deny its existence as truly evil, that it may come about because of (human or angelic) moral failure but that this seems not to be the cause of every instance of human suffering because of natural events, and that attempts to account for natural evil on the basis of some claim that having a universe with these evils (or seeming defects) in it is better or more complete than one without the defects seem trite and banal especially in light of the enormous suffering that humans have in fact gone through at the hand of nature, f do not feel that any of the solutions ever offered for the problem of natural evils is really satisfactory.

III. Toward an "Existential" Theodicy: Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov

Since we seem to be left without a real solution when we teach the end of the various discussions, suggestions, and arguments connected with the various attempts at a theodicy for either moral or natural evil -- none of the arguments seems strong enough to overcome the various objections and counterarguments -- a different approach to the problem of evil seems to be called for. Such an approach would go beyond or outside the questions or arguments of theology, philosophy and logical form into the realm or lived human experience. An investigation of that kind seems to me to offer better prospects for offering something more conclusive and more convincing on the topic.

What we might call the "existential" problem concerning evil, as I see it, is whether evil and rebellion against God may be preferable to union with God, even if this rebellion leads to damnation. It seems to me that one strong strain in twentieth-century western intellectual and cultural life is just such a rebellion against God (and/or religion).18

In my view, many important issues, especially issues dealing with things that, following Aristotle, we might call matters of practical wisdom -- ethics, political affairs, matters of art and creativity, matters of human life-choices, and so on -- are handled much better in literature, drama and film than they are in philosophical discourses. I do not think that this means that I am advocating non-answers to those questions. I suggest, instead, that those issues are especially well presented by means of thought experiments, and that dramatic, novelistic, and film presentations are really exercises in thought experimentation of a particularly subtle and profound kind. Attempting to solve a problem by story or even by mythology is acceptable and necessity for novels, drama, film and other arts. Whether it is satisfactory as a philosophical answer depends, at least partly, on the philosophical temperament of the presented and the reader. It seems to me that much of philosophy (and theology) has been hampered by over-attention to what Stephen Toulmin calls "questions of logical form," along with insufficient attention to lived human experience or what he calls "collective reason" and "matters of function and adaptation."19

The best "existential" discussion of the problem of possible divine evil that I know of occurs in Dostoevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov and in various commentaries on that novel, especially the one by Albeit Camus in his The Rebel.20 Dostoevsky's novel should be understood, I believe, as an elaborate thought experiment, in which the natural consequences of various views and ways of life are shown in the life developments and life movements of the various characters.

Dostoevsky also speaks to a number of other concerns in this novel. One is the question why indictments against God and religion have been so numerous and so persistent in this century. Another is that through his example and practice in producing what is really a dramatic novel, Dostoevsky implicitly gives his answer to the question of whether a dramatic art that is of great intellectual merit and aesthetic pungency can be constructed on a God-affirming or religion-affirming basis.21 Because this novel speaks to these questions so well, I think it is worth examining in some detail.

The indictments against God and religion in this novel occur primarily in Ivan's speech in a long conversation with his younger brother Alyosha.22 Ivan begins by declaring his love of life, despite whatever might occur, and despite logic. He then states that the eternal questions -- God and socialism -- must be settled first. He affirms belief in God and in an underlying order and meaning to life, but he quickly moves from that to a declaration that he cannot accept God's world because that world is unjust.

To support his charge of injustice, Ivan gives many harrowing and heartrending stones of the mistreatment and suffering or innocent children. These stories are so moving that finally Alyosha -- a novice -- agrees that he too would want the perpetrators of these injustices shot. Ivan pounces on this admission, and declares that it shows that the world is absurd. He demands retribution, and not in some infinite time or space, but here on earth (i.e., Ivan rejects any eschatological solution to the problem). He rejects the view that there is some higher harmony that these things serve (i.e., he rejects any aesthetic conception of evil), declares that he could not accept any harmony that required the intense sufferings of such innocent children, and ends with a statement of rebellion against God, saying:

"It's not God that I don't accept, Alyosha, only I most respectfully return Him the ticket."23

The force of Ivan's indictment of the world's injustice is so great that he compels even Alyosha to admit that the situation as described requires rebellion.

"Rebellion? I'm sorry you call it that," said Ivan earnestly. "One can hardly live in rebellion, and I want to live. Tell me yourself, I challenge you -- answer. Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature -- that little child beating its breast with its fist, for instance -- and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to bet the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth."

"No, I wouldn't consent," said Alyosha softly.24

Alyosha tries to protest that Christ -- because He gave his innocent blood for all and everything -- is the Being on whom a foundation for the edifice of justice and forgiveness is constructed. Ivan rejects this possibility too, in the well-known chapter entitled "The Grand Inquisitor" Although this chapter should be understood in terms of Dostoevsky's Slavophile attack on the Roman Catholic Church, it can also be seen as an attack on organized or institutional Christian religion in general. Religion has rendered ineffective Christ's attempt at liberation, replacing it with central planners who understand that the masses of people ate too weak and too desirous of comfort, regularity and material well-being to be able to follow and benefit from Christ's work and teaching. The Church (churches) have gone over to the devil but for good reasons; that side gives the bread, the peace and the power over kingdoms of the earth that Jesus rejected. The Grand Inquisitor has gone over to that side not for personal gain, but out of love for humanity because he realized that this way was the only way that could truly offer benefit to the struggling and unruly mass of people.

Albert Camus' comments on this novel are particularly astute and instructive. He notes that Ivan's rebellion goes beyond that of previous rebels against God, whose rebellion was primarily individualistic. Ivan changes the tone, goes beyond reverential blasphemy, and puts God Himself on trial.

If evil is essential to divine creation, then creation is unacceptable. Ivan will no longer have recourse to this mysterious God, but to a higher principle -- namely, justice. He launches the essential undertaking of rebellion, which is that of replacing the reign of grace by the reign of justice. He simultaneously begins the attack on Christianity.25

Ivan makes these attacks not because he does not believe in God, but because he feels that God is unjust, and hence evil; he ranks justice above the divinity, and refutes God in the name of moral value. Ivan attacks the interdependence in Christianity between suffering and truth. His rejection is so total that even if offered salvation or eternal life he would refuse, because to accept it would mean acquiescence to the injustice of the world. The problem with Ivan's total rejection of divine coherence, however, is that this stance leads to recognizing the legitimacy of murder and the condoning of crime. Once he has taken this step of rebellion, he must go to its bitter end, which is to replace God with man -- to the metaphysical revolution in which man occupies the place formerly held by God.26 But Ivan's rebellion leads to contradiction; there is now no basis on which to distinguish between what is permissible and what is crime. One man's view of what is permissible becomes as legitimate as any other man's view. Dostoevsky may be, as Camus claims, the prophet of the new religion of atheism and socialism, but Dostoevsky did not welcome or champion this development.

Dostoevsky replies to Ivan's devastating indictments throughout the novel, but especially in the account of the Russian Monk Zosima. As Nathan Rosen points out, Dostoevsky himself saw Ivan's indictments and the account of the monk as pro and contra on this issue of divine goodness or evil.27

The question of the genuineness of sainthood is not answered philosophically, but with the living example of Father Zosima; we see his virtue by observing his life, his teaching and his activity. His saintly example is contrasted with Father Ferapont, who possessed the trappings of genuine religion (fierce asceticism, fervent prayer, wearing chains under his robes to mortify his flesh), but who nevertheless spread discord and dissension among the monks. Ferapont represents, I think, Dostoevsky's admission that some religion is indefensible and even destructive -- religion of forms and trappings and even personal sacrifice without the essential heart.

Dostoevsky presents many things from Zosima' s life and from the lives of the other characters that reply to Ivan's indictments. I think it may be instructive and worthwhile to list and comment on some of the more important of them.

1. Zosima gives three stories about his life before his conversion -- the story of his brother Matkel, the story of the duel, and the story of the murderer's confession. Each story contains an element of mystery, which suggests that all human life has a mysterious dimension encompassing the mysteries of faith, conversion and cosmic justice.

2. Zosima tells the story of Job, but ignores Job's claim about his innocence, focusing instead on the fact that the lost children were later replaced, and on the mystery that the new children erased from Job's memory the pain of the earlier loss. This is an indirect answer to Ivan's concern about the suffering of children. It is also implicitly a kind of eschatological solution to the problem of suffering, and perhaps a tacit claim that only an eschatological solution is available.

3. Although accorded the status of a saint by the common people, Zosima neither mocked them not was obsequious toward them, but merely served them with dignity, giving blessings and counsel, thereby contributing to their genuine well-being. As a man of religion and tradition he embodies what is best in life and contrasts dramatically with the lives of other non-religious characters, especially the Karamazovs.

4. Zosima brings together the father Karamazov with his sons so that the father's buffoonery and despicableness temporarily subside. Yet the meeting is ultimately unsuccessful; although Zosima is a saint, he does not work miracles that go beyond or usurp the responsibility of others who meet with him. This suggests that, in practice, the power of true good is circumscribed by or responsive to human choice and the contingencies of human existence.

5. Zosima recommends that Alyosha, the novice, leave the monastery and marry, a recommendation in striking contrast with Ivan's troubles with the women in his life. Ivan cannot achieve intimacy tot any extended time, but Zosima sees intimacy as part of Alyosha' s salvation.

6. Zosima' s faith is neither uneducated not blockheaded, though simple and elemental. He wears it with good humor and good feeling for ail, and spreads goodness to all who will accept it. This contrasts with the gloom and nervousness Ivan spreads to his companions. This suggests that Ivan's concern with justice does not translate, in practice, into an increase in goodness, but rather into an increase in a kind of evil.

7. When Zosima dies, his body decays and begins to smell, denying to others the supernatural miracle they expected. But a greater miracle happens in that Alyosha and Grushenka go through several stages of inner transformation, culminating in the "Cana of Galilee" episode. Zosima brings the true miracle of inner change of heart; this miracle comes when one follows true insight and prefers doing good to doing evil.

8. Despite the brother Mitya's passion, his hatted of his father, his need for money, his vow to kill his father, and even the opportunity and the weapon, he runs away from the temptation to patricide. If the Grand Inquisitor were tight, these psychological and material causes should have compelled him to the deed. But every reader realizes the genuineness of his refusal and his self-restraint. His example shows that people have the inner capacity to overcome those forces. This is a kind of proof (or at least very strong evidence) that psychological and material causes (or forces) are not compelling or overwhelming, and that they are subservient to human will and choice. This amounts to a strong refutation of all forms of materialism and of psychological theories, such as Freudianism, which affirm psychological determinism.

9. Ivan goes away profoundly depressed after reciting his tale to Alyosha, and finally recognizes that this depression is caused by the revolting familiarity and impiousness of Smetdyakov. Even though Ivan hates his father and would like to see him dead, Smetdyakov's lack of piety toward the father grates on Ivan. Also, Ivan himself confesses complicity in the murder in the end, even though this is irrational and ridiculous because he knows no one will believe him. So even Ivan operates at the personal (which is to say, real) level by a different ethic than the one he expressed earlier in his speech to Alyosha. We might call it an ethic of human relationships and human love, as opposed to an ethic of justice.

10. Ivan goes mad in the end, while those who follow the way of life of Father Zosima undergo inner transformation to a higher state of consciousness and way of life. This suggests that rebellion against God and against divine notions of goodness leads to psychological, social and even physical degradation, whereas saintliness of life -- following the divine order -- has the opposite effect.

11. The atheistic socialism that Dostoevsky and Camus see (correctly, I believe) as the alternative to the religious view does not solve the problem of justice, but in fact ultimately promotes much greater injustice, even in the economic realm where it is supposed to be paramount; we have observed this dramatically in the last decades. So rebellion in the name of justice does not work even for its own ends.

Through all these episodes Dostoevsky has presented an answer to the existential problem I mentioned above. He has shown both the consequences of rebellion against God and against the divinely-created cosmos, as well as an alternative to this rebellion, and has presented all this in the form of an elaborate thought experiment. The novel can and should be seen as presenting a kind of theodicy. It is not a theodicy given in terms of theological or logical investigation or presentation, but what, for want of a better term, I have called an "existential" theodicy.

In addition to that, by his own work of art, as well as through the contrast between Fathers Zosima and Ferapont, Dostoevsky offers an answer to the question about whether a non-trivial and important dramatic art can be constructed on a basis other than a God-indicting one.28 Dostoevsky himself does not shrink from criticizing religion in his dramatic novel (he does it through his presentation of Father Ferapont), but presents even that criticism on a religion-affirming basis (an affirmation of the genuine goodness of Father Zosima). This novel demonstrates a possible way in which true religion can both do away with the need for rebellion and lead to greater things: to a superior dramatic art and to the kind of human well-being furthered by Father Zosima.

IV. Unification Theodicy as an "Existential" Theodicy

Unification theology, as presented in the Divine Principle and elsewhere, gives an elaborate account of the origin of evil. It asserts that evil originated in the fall of man, and claims that this fall was instigated by the being who became Satan through the process. Divine Principle discusses the question of God's role in the origin of evil, but does this in a novel way: it presents a number of reasons why God did not intervene in the process of the fall to prevent the occurrence of evil. Unification theology does not, however, present an explicit theodicy, although it has a basis on which a theodicy can be constructed, and Unification theologians have presented many reflections on and developments of this matter. Unification theology does modify or limit the power of God, or at least limit God's power to contravene human choice and action, and in that it has affinities with process theology. It also asserts that the humans were immature and growing toward perfection when they fell, and that their growth to perfection was something for which they were partly responsible. Then situation presented them with moral choices which they had to resolve in the right way in order that their growth could take place. In this, Unification theology is quite similar to Irenaean theodicy.29

Unificationism's handling of the problem of theodicy seems to me, however, to be at its core and in its motivation much more like what Dostoevsky gives us than what is given in any of the received Christian (01 other) theological or philosophical accounts. Unification piety based on the oral tradition and common practice seem to me to adopt something very much like Dostoevsky's solution to the problem of seeming divine evil. This piety and oral tradition present many stories of people and their lives and actions -- especially stories about Rev. Moon and his faithful disciples -- and shows that they have overcome adversity, empathized with the suffering of God and of humans, and have accomplished many feats of faith and action, and thereby spread goodness and well-being. These lives have had that effect in spite of adversity and of seemingly hostile circumstances.

It is accurate to say, in fact, that the dramatic story of God's desire, His suffering, His hope, and His history (i.e., the history of His interaction with humans, with Satan, and with the world) is the central matter of Rev. Moon's preaching and teaching, and that this preaching and teaching forms the core of Unification piety and the impetus for the dynamism of the Unification Church and its members and activities. Most Unification members would probably testify to having had some personal experience of God's suffering, suffering that came about because of the fall and because of repeated instances of evil. This gives Unification piety an enormous impetus toward working to relieve God's suffering through solving, eliminating, or doing away with evil and its consequences. In addition, Unification doctrine and piety have an enormous emphasis on and certainty of the imminent eschaton, an eschaton, however, which can be achieved only through human work, effort and sacrifice. The stories of people who have achieved something in advancing this present immanent eschaton are, then, of very great importance both in assuming Unification Church members that the eschaton is at hand and can be brought about, as well as in spurting them on to more and greater feats of faith, sacrifice, endurance and accomplishment.

Unification theology claims that God is not responsible for the moral evils that befall us, and indeed that God does all that is possible to avoid them, but God is bound by the choices made by humans. It asserts that God's creation of man and His giving the characteristics and circumstances that were given to humans was an act of love, love which would also risk being hurt. Much of this doctrine is, in practice, conveyed in the form of stories about Biblical and other characters, and about God. This has been called a process of "re-mythologization."30 The task of Unification piety and practice, then, is to persuade humans to make the choices that will lead to God's victory, which will, it is asserted, also lead to human well-being. Those choices must conform to God's will and principle in order that goodness result. Unificationism asserts that God's heart and will and purpose can be known -- it seems to say that this can be done through God's prophets, through divine revelation, and so on, but it is somewhat vague about how we may distinguish between veridical and false representations of the divine -- and that religions have the task of truly apprehending these and of making them known to all people. It also asserts, however, that to do this and to carry out the divinely appointed task and mission, people and religions must unite on and work on and achieve a higher dimension than has heretofore occulted. The stories told in the oral tradition have the function of reinforcing these challenges and possibilities.


The existence of evil often seems to be such clear evidence of either the evil or the powerlessness or God and/or religion that many people have concluded that God and/or religion cannot Of should not be defended. But the alternative to alliance with God is rebellion, and rebellion, as Dostoevsky suggests and as historical events in the twentieth century seem to demonstrate,31 leads to much worse consequences, even in the dimension over which the rebellion took place. So we are warranted in concluding, I think, that God's goodness is at least greater than the goodness of any person who presumes to base goodness on some human perception, i.e., we can conclude that theistic humanism is better and offers greater hope than anti-theistic or atheistic humanism.

In this paper I have not discussed the problem or good or acceptable versus bad or unacceptable religions, except incidentally in connection with Dostoevsky's contrast of Fathers Zosima and Ferapont. It is surely clear to everyone that some religions, or even some things from all of them, must be rejected as indefensible. A fuller discussion of the problem of theodicy would need to separate between indictments of religion and indictments of God, discuss the issue of how to distinguish or separate good from bad religions or religious practices, and discuss the problem of whether the existence of false or bad religion and religious practices means that God should be charged with evil or failure. Solving that problem would almost certainly require discussion of the problem of revelation, with an attempt to answer the question of how we might distinguish between true or reliable revelations and false or unreliable ones.32

A thorough solution to the problem of theodicy and the goodness of God and religion may not be possible. The problem of natural evil seems to me to be especially resistant to solution. I do think that Unification theology -- or, more accurately, an extended Unification doctrine based on Unification theology and other Unification doctrines, offers some promise of being able to answer many of the most serious and important indictments of God and of religion. For the most part, however, this still remains as a task to be achieved, rather than an accomplishment to be celebrated.


*. Parts of this paper are revisions of sections taken from my earlier papers: "Is God Good and Can God be Defended?" presented in Theme Group Three, "In Defense of God," at the New ERA Conference "God: The Contemporary Discussion, III," Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico, December 30, 1983, to January 4, 1984; "Dramatic Art and Religion," presented in Theme Group Three, "Religious Art; Images of the Divine," at the New ERA Conference on "God: The Contemporary Discussion, IV," in Seoul, Korea, August 9-15, 1984; and "Unification Thought and Religious Knowledge," presented in Committee VII of ICUS XIII, Washington. DC, September 2-5, 1984.

1. Young Oon Kim presents an excellent introduction to the problems of theodicy in her An Introduction to Theology (New York: The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, 1983), pp. 67-71.

2. A few philosophers and theologians, such as Alvin Plantinga, have argued otherwise, claiming that there is not any necessary logical contradiction in as setting the conjunction of all those claims or clauses. What is at stake in those discussions is an investigation of how the rather cryptic and compressed assertions in each of those clauses is to be understood or "unpacked." In particular, those discussions usually argue that for God to be fully loving and powerful and competent does not necessarily logically require Him to solve every evil that exists. See Alvin Plantinga, God and Other Minds (Cornell: Cornell University Press, 1967). Among other discussions of these issues are the various papers in Nelson Pike, ed., God and Evil (Englewood, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1964); Edward H. Madden and Peter H. Hare, Evil and the Concept of God (Springfield, II: Charles C. Thomas, Publishers, 1968); Nelson Pike, "God and Evil: A Reconsideration," Ethics. LXVIII (1958), p. 119; Terence Penelhum, "Divine Goodness and the Problem of Evil," Religious Studies. II (1966), p. 107; Edward H. Madden and Peter H. Hare, "Evil and Inconclusiveness," Sophia, XI (1972), pp. 10 ff.; Austin Farrer, Love Almighty and Ills Unlimited (New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1961); and Dewey J. Hoitenga, Jr., "Logic and the Problem or Evil," American Philosophical Quarterly, IV (1967), pp. 121, 122.

3. See Job 38:1 to 42:6.

4. Romans 9:14-26.

5. Romans 9:16 RSV.

6. Romans 9:20-22 RSV.

7. The most thorough presentation or the process account or limited divine power occurs in Charles Hartshorne, Omnipotence and other Theological Mistakes (Albany: The State University of New York Press, 1984); see also David Ray Griffin, God, Power and Evil: A Process Theodicy (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976).

8. John Hick, Evil and the God of Love (London: Macmillan, 2nd ed., 1977); see also Hick's article, "The Problem of Evil," in Paul Edwards, ed., The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 8 vols. (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. and The Free Press, 1967), 3:136-141. My account here of Augustine, Leibniz and Irenaeus is based on Hick's presentation.

8. Hick, for one, favors the Irenaean account.

10. Kim, op. cit., p. 68.

11. Exodus 3:14 RSV.

12. Plantinga, et. al., op. cit.

13. Anselm's discussion of this is contained in De Casu Diabo/i. An English edition is Anselm of Canterbury, Truth Freedom and Evil: Three Philosophical Dialogues, trans, and ed. by Jasper Hopkins and Herbert Richardson (New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, Harper Torchbooks, 1967), pp. 145-196.

14. Kim, op. cit., pp. 69, 71.

15. Some philosophers and theologians have questioned whether there really is or should be such a distinction. Without entering into that discussion, I will assume here that the distinction can be upheld.

16. The term 'falsification' is used here instead of a reference to lack of verification because the verificationist program has been shown conclusively to be defective, but the requirement for falsifiability, while it has been attacked as also untenable, may be considered to be a minimum requirement for something to be truly scientific. The locus classicus for discussions of falsifiability as a counterproposal to verifiability is the writings of Katl Popper, especially his The Logic of Scientific Discovery' (London: Hutchinson and Co., 1959; New York: Basic Books, 1959). AH of Popper's subsequent books have dealt with this issue at length and expanded or refined his previous views. The best introduction to and summary of Popper's work occurs in his own "Autobiography of Karl Popper, "in Paul Arthur Schilpp, ed., The Philosophy of Karl Popper, The Library of Living Philosophers, Vol. XIV, in two books (La Salle, II: Open Court, 1974), bk. 1, pp. 3-181. An excellent account -- so good that I consider it essential -- of the downfall of the verificationist program and its replacement with a critical (falsificationist) theory is given in Walter B. Weimer, Notes on the Methodology of Scientific Research (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 1979). A seminal discussion of and expansion of Popper's falsificationist program occurs in Imre Lakatos's article, "Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programs," in Imre Lakatos and Alan Musgrave, eds., Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge (London and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1970).

17. Isaiah 65:25 RSV.

18. Evidence for this claim seems to me to be ubiquitous and overwhelming. Darwin, Marx (with Lenin) and Freud are the most important intellectual fathers of modernity, and each of them rejects religious answers or solutions to the problem at hand; Marx and Freud also seem to reject God. Much of the film and drama of the twentieth century is explicitly anti-religious, cf. Christopher Durang's drama, Sister Maiy Ignatius Explains it All For You, and the films of Eisenstein, Bunuel, Cocteau, Hawks, Bergman, Fellini, Coppola, Altman, Fassbinder, and many others, including all the current "youth-market" films coming from Hollywood. The whole tenor of Western culture in the twentieth century is overwhelmingly secular, despite some important counter examples.

19. Stephen Toulmin, Human Understanding, vol. 1 of proposed 3 vols. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972), p. vn.

20. One edition of the Dostoevsky novel is the Norton Critical Edition: Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, ed. by Ralph E. Matlaw (New York: W W Norton and Co., 1976); all citations here are from that edition. This edition also contains critical commentaries on the novel, including that of Camus. An English edition of Camus's work is Albert Camus, The Rebel, trans, from the French L'Homme Revoke by Anthony Bower (New York: Vintage Books, 1956).

21. Dostoevsky's work is parochial and anti-modern, however. For that reason it is not really a good answer to the dramatist's problem in the twentieth century. In this century it is almost impossible to produce a dramatic work -- theater, film, or novel -- which is of great intellectual and aesthetic merit and at the same time religion-affirming or God-affirming. Most religion-affirming or God-affirming drama in this century has been sappy and embarrassing.

22. The Brothers Karamazov. part II, book 5.

23. Ibid., p. 226.

24. Ibid.

25. Albert Camus, The Rebel, trans, by Anthony Bower (New York: Knopf, 1956). The section of The Rebel dealing with The Brothers Karamazov is reprinted in the Norton Critical Edition, op. cit., and my citations are from that edition, pp. 836, 837.

26. Ibid., pp. 836-839.

27. Nathan Rosen, "Style and Structure in The Brothers Karamazov (The Grand Inquisitor and the Russian Monk)" in Russian Literature Triquarterly, I, (1971), 1, 352-365. Reprinted in the Norton Critical Edition, op. cit., pp. 841-85 1. My presentation here of Dostoevsky's points in reply to Ivan's accusations of God owes very much to Rosen.

28. But see note #21 above on this problem. Since Dostoevsky's work is from and of the nineteenth century, it may offer little help to the dramatist or the present day.

29. There is a growing literature on Unification theodicy. Besides Young Oon Kim's various books, there are presentations on and discussions of this issue in several of the conference proceedings from conferences sponsored by New ERA and the Unification Theological Seminary. One is by Stephen Deddens, "Toward a Unification Theodicy," presented at the New ERA Conference, "God: The Contemporary Discussion, II," Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, December 30, 1982 to January 4, 1983. Jonathan Wells has written an important (but unpublished) work on the topic; see also his "Fall of Man Lecture," in Darrol Bryant, Ed., Proceedings of the Virgin Islands' Seminar on Unification Theology (Barrytown, NY: The Unification Theological Seminary, 1980), pp. 47-55, and the discussions following on pp. 55-59, and pp. 70-79. Other Unification theologians have also written and spoken on this question. See, for example, my papers and the papers of Dagfinn Aslid, Klaus Lindner, Andrew Wilson and Anthony Guerra, as well as the transcript of various discussions in Frank K. Flinn, ed., Hermeneutics 6 Horizons: The Shape of the Future (Barrytown, NY: The Unification Theological Seminary, 1982).

30. See Frank K. Flinn, "The New Religions and the Second Naivete: Beyond Demystification and Demythologization," in Ten Theologians Respond to the Unification Church. Herbert Richardson, ed. (Barrytown, NY: The Unification Theological Seminary, 1981) pp. 41-59.

31. I have not discussed the history of twentieth century rebellion against God and religion in this paper. The greatest evils of the twentieth century have been perpetrated, I believe, by the Nazis, the Fascists, and the Communists, all of whom owe their paternity to Lenin, who was virulently opposed to religion and to divinity. One could say that Dostoevsky was remarkably prescient in foreseeing that the rebellion he spoke of leads directly to Leninism. It is also true that very great evils have been committed by devout religious believers, even while using religious texts or themes to justify what was being done, such as the instigation of apartheid in South Africa by devout followers of the Dutch Reformed Church. I think it is accurate to say, however; that an impartial weighing of the scope and amount of evil committed would conclude that far greater evil has been committed by those who have explicitly rejected religion and God than by those who claim to be religious or to be following the divine will. All this is, however, a topic that requires a great deal of exploration. It must be left for another time.

32. I have tried to discuss the problem of false versus true revelation and suggest how they might be distinguished in my "Millennial and Utopian Religion: Totalitarian or Free?" in Joseph Bettis and S. K. Johannesen, eds., The Return of the Millennium (Barrytown, NY: New ERA Books, the International Religious Foundation, Inc., 1984), pp. 119-136. 

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