Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Problem of Theodicy

Steve Martin has another in his series of posts on John Polkinghorne quotes, but he begins the post with some musings on theodicy and the earthquake in Haiti:
The first song we sang that morning was Indescribable. Now, this isn’t my favourite worship song and I usually simply stop singing when the second verse starts with “Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go …”. I’m always surprised that more people don’t find this line a little uncomfortable (Anyone here been hit by lightening? Anyone have someone they love killed by lightening?), but given current events, I was sure others must also see the problem.

Apparently not. The song continued without even a hint of irony. Ok, how about we change that line to “Who has told every tectonic plate when is should slide …”. Does that help illustrate the problem? Maybe we need to be a little blunter: “Did God kill all those people in Port-au-Prince?”
I sometimes wonder if my own view of God's interaction with Nature isn't a bit facile. I remember when a hurricane came up the east coast and people remarked that they were praying that the hurricane would not hit their town. Hurricanes form for a reason and are necessary for the proper functioning of the planet. Is that kind of prayer invoking God as cosmic valet? Does God really micromanage on that level? Read the whole thing.

Now playing: Mike Rutherford - After Hours
via FoxyTunes

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