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Theodicy refers to the theological paradox of an almighty and good God and the problem of evil, and attempts to reconcile it as consistent with the justice of God. The word was supposedly coined by the German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716), and is derived from two Greek words (theos, God, and dike, justice).


The premise which Theodicy is based upon is that God is omnipotent, just and benevolent, with the question being how can God be the author of evil,or allow evil and suffering to exist?

In response, various proposals have been made, such as,

God could,

  • 1. have made us (and angels) with no moral ability, depriving us from the moral ability to respond to or choose good.
  • 2. have granted us free moral agency, but never have given us anything to choose between.
  • 3. always move us to do good, and never allow us to choose evil.
  • 4. allow us to do evil, but immediately reverse the effect.
  • 5. allow us to do bad, but restrict us to a place where it would harm no one but ourselves.
  • 6. allow us to choose between good and evil, and to affect others by it, but not reward or punish us accordingly.
  • 7. Or God could have given us the ability to choose, and alternatives to chose from, with the ability to effect others and things by our choices, and reward or punishment us according, especially ultimately, while making the evil we do to work out for good of those who want good, and love God who is good. And as regards the latter, choose to enable redemption of penitent believers, through one who was righteous taking responsibility, for our sin, and paying the price for the forgiveness of sin, so that they may be forgiven and declared just, and thereby satisfy the requirements of holiness and justice, while enabling mercy.

Armenian responseEdit

Christian responses include the Armenian Apostolic position that argues that evil is a consequence of God giving man freedom to choose, and that, if choice means anything, man must have something to choose from, this being turning away from the good to do the opposite. As angels or man have chosen to do evil, this results in suffering. While God knows what man will do, that is not the same not as ordaining or or decreeing it.

Calvinist responseEdit

The Calvinist position is that of "determinism", which holds that man has a much more limited extent of free will, and that God has determined all things that will ever come to pass, as the Westminster Confession of Faith states. (3:1 5:2, 4) The Confession essentially states that God in His sovereignty is the first cause of all things, though many of the things which occur are through the "free" actions of man, which God influences. While, as one authority wrote, God "does not arrange things or control history apart from second causes..." He uses such as instruments, so as to make all things work together to accomplish His plan, which is for the good of those who love Him. (Rom. 8:28)[1]

Others, however, object to the further conclusions of Calvinism related to this.[2] While Armianism believes God has the right and the ability to ultimately determine all things, it seeks to reconcile the actions of God concerning the basis for the predestination of the lost with God's own statements about justice, (Dt. 24:16; etc.) while the Calvinist tends to appeal to God's sovereign right to do as He pleases, as Scripture does, (Rom. 11:20) in which not all things are revealed. (Dt. 29:29)

Non-Christian attemptsEdit

Non-Christian attempts to resolve this problem range from denying the omnipotence and or omniscience of God, to denying the reality of evil, to making God consist of a dual nature. However, the Bible upholds that God is both almighty and all-knowing, and of a consistent character, and that evil does exist as a reality, and is in opposition to the character of God.

References Edit

  1. W. Gary Crampton, A Biblical Theodicy

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