Theodicy - Why is there evil and suffering in the world?
Obligatory cat picture
"Why is there evil and suffering in the world?"
That's a question I've always wrestled with. A few years ago I was obsessed with it and in my studies searching for answers discovered I wasn't the only one. There is an entire branch of theology called "Theodicy" that is dedicated to this question.
There are three basic premises to Theodicy:
1. God is all good.
2. God is all powerful.
3. Evil exists.
If you think about it you will soon realize that those three fundamental truths are contradictory. How can evil exist if God is all good and all powerful? We try to explain this contradiction by watering down one or more of those 3 premises. Christendom tends to water down the second premise by saying that "Yes, God is all powerful, but He has given us free will". Eastern religions may water down the third premise by saying that "Evil is an illusion".
The problem is that if we follow any of our theological explanations to their conclusions they fall apart with contradictions and unexplainable questions, and we must ultimately end up on our knees in silence, worship, and adoration of the Living God.
In my studies I came across an obscure theologian named Arthur Gossip. His books were out of print and not available in libraries so I started buying them, original editions from the early 20th century, off of eBay. A chapter in his book "The Hero In Thy Soul - Being An Attempt To Face Life Gallantly" (you've got to love that title) was called "But When Life Tumbles In, What Then?" and was the sermon he gave the Sunday after the death of his wife. I realized it was an important paper on the topic of Theodicy and was surprised that even though it was referenced in a few places on the internet, it was not available anywhere.
In the forward to the book The Hero In Thy Soul, Arthur Gossip wrote
" 'But when Life tumbles in, what then?' was the first sermon preached after my
wife's bewilderingly sudden and undreamed-of death. The office-bearers of
Beechgrove Church, Aberdeen, included it in a memorial booklet issued for
private circulation. It has wandered so far over the world, and I have received
so pathetically many requests for copies from people in sorrow, that I have
included the sermon here, not without diffidence and some shrinking of soul. I
have not had the heart to work over it; and it is set down as it was delivered."
Because it was so important I decided to type it out and post it on this website, and take it down if I was ever contacted regarding copyright infringement. So here it is.
I live in this high tech world and work in the computer industry, but by nature I tend to be a Contemplative. One website I love is this one by a guy who spent a few years in a Carthusian monastery:
The Introduction is especially beautiful and whenever I need a mini-vacation I go there and read through it.
Like the Pharisees we obsess too much with following the rules. Every church I visit I hear a 3 point sermon on how we're not up to snuff and 3 things we must do to spiffy ourselves up. We are already up to snuff. We are redeemed by the blood of Christ. The rules should be in the foundation of who we are, but our focus as individual Christians and the Church should be on God, and being co-creators of beauty with Him.
Since I work in computers another reason for this website is to dabble around in my profession and passion when I have time, which is once or twice a year. This explains why it is in a half finished state with some odd features.