Genesis 3: 15 15 [God speaking to Satan in the form of a serpent] I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel. CCC The Christian tradition sees in this passage an announcement of the "New Adam" who, because he "became obedient unto death, even death on a cross", makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience of Adam. Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ's victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin Immaculate Conception and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life.
Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil. Without his divine life within us, we remain subject to sin and death, which is the inheritance of Adam. A sacrament therefore, is Christ acting through his Holy Spirit in the Church to impart to us his very life i. In John Jesus speaks of Himself as the vine, and us as the branches. Everyone who remains in Christ bears much fruit, for without Him we can do nothing.
We need God's life within us, for otherwise we remain spiritually dead i. We get that supernatural life through the sacraments of the Church that Christ instituted for that very purpose.
6. The Creator of the Best of All Possible Worlds: Or the Evil Creator of the Worst?
By natural birth we are children of Adam and are heirs to sin and death, and so all men need to be "born again" so as to become children of God in Christ Jesus and to inherit eternal life. Jesus speaks of the absolute necessity of this new birth in John 3: John 3: 3. Jesus answered and said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above. Nicodemus said to him, "How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother's womb and be born again, can he?
Jesus answered, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ's grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle. Through Baptism the natural man is freed from the power of Satan, sin and death and is "born again" to the supernatural life of grace in Christ, re-united to the Father through the "washing of regeneration" in the Holy Spirit.
CCC But why did God not prevent the first man from sinning? In the first half of life, we are naturally preoccupied with establishing ourselves; climbing, achieving, and performing. But as we grow older and encounter challenges and mistakes, we need to see ourselves in a different and more life-giving way. This message of falling down - that is in fact moving upward - is the most resisted and counterintuitive of messages in the world's religions.
Falling Upward offers a new paradigm for understanding one of the most profound of life's mysteries: how those who have fallen down are the only ones who understand "up". For too long we have naively believed in the modern idea of human progress. In contrast, postmodern thinkers have rightly argued that evil is real, powerful and important, but they give no real clue as to what we should do about it.
In fact, evil is more serious than either our culture or our theology has supposed. How then might Jesus' death be the culmination of the Old Testament solution to evil but on a wider and deeper scale than most imagine? Can we possibly envision a world in which we are delivered from evil? How might we work toward such a future through prayer and justice in the present? These are the powerful and pressing themes that N.
Wright addresses in this book that is at once timely and timeless. I have been wrestling with the philosophical problem of evil most of my life, first In philosophy, then in theology, and then for decades as a clinical psychologist. This book places the philosophical problem of evil in its proper context, addresses the key questions, all the while inspiring the reader to behold the love of God with jaw-dropping awe and gratitude.
As always, NT Wright gives thorough and independent examination to his subject and offers the answers most needed if not the ones readers most long for. Wright does not address why evil exists, for he does not stray into philosophical questions God chooses not to answer. Rather, Wright offers us a succinct explanation of what God does tell us about evil: what God has done, is doing, and will do about it. It didn't help me with the problem of Evil but very helpful with understanding Forgiveness.
It is a form of justice. Viewed theocentrically, the two are complementary aspects of God's glory. Advent is right to hold them together as it does.
- Evil and the Justice of God | Notes & Review | vialogue?
- Filibusters and Cloture in the Senate!
- The Problem of Evil in the Book of Job.
- Two Wings to God.
Then are there grounds for hoping that justice can be assumed without remainder into mercy -- that God's greatest glory demands that all be saved? If perfect justice and infinite mercy intersect on the cross, is universalism not the proper outcome? Advent answers no. Mary's Advent hymn is the Magnificat, not "Away in a Manger.
Divine mercy never collapses into an idealized present day, negligent procrastination, or the false promise of universalism. When the Church observes Advent, it promises that in the end, final justice will arrive 2 Pet. But what good is this promise after Ninevah? Why can God not simply repent of it like he repented of so many others, and leave Revelation's martyrs sulking like Jonah? Judgment Day's difference is its finality.
It makes good on all of God's earlier judgments and mercies. Without it, all of God's other redemptive acts are compromised, including the cross, and emptied of their power to liberate. If God will not do his job as judge, we may as well sin that grace and more sin may abound, or take the gavel from him and do the job ourselves. Miroslav Volf contends persuasively that only the promise of eschatological violence is enough to break the cycle of violence. Advent is a theodicy that satisfies.
It helps keep the Lamb's War from becoming the Church's. But is even the assurance of final justice enough? What about justice today? Advent's Old Testament readings center in Isaiah, 32 which delivers its messages of hope against the backdrop of Israel's terrible experiences of God's justice. It was justice delivered early that shook Israel out of its overconfidence in the Davidic covenant. In the same way, 1 and 2 Peter correlate the Genesis flood with the heavenly fire, the ark's inhabitants with the baptized, and Israel in exile with their own churches.
Advent's eschatological orientation gives Christians more than a future. It gives them a present. Jesus' career inaugurated a victory over natural corruption. His followers are not left wallowing in injustice until their Master's return. His victory continues to unfold in their proleptic colony of the coming order, 35 whose sanctification anticipates and prepares for Jesus' return. Does God care about suffering? Is God going to act? Furthermore, the Kingdom's colony occasionally receives assistance from a surprising place: Caesar's sword.
The ecclesial and civil ethics of Romans , like those of the Petrine corpus and Revelation, is grounded Christologically 43 and eschatologically. As the Church's present mercy participates in the final mercy "Overcome evil with good," Rom. To conclude: Advent presents the problem of evil not as an objection raised against Christian theology and ethics but as a constructive part of it. Advent names theodicy not chiefly as an intellectual or even existential exercise, but as a praxis: Because Jesus has come and gone, and comes again, repent; watch and pray; submit to God and to one another; honor the emperor; go and make disciples; suffer in Christ; conquer by persevering.
Catholics light the Advent candle, Salvation Army officers ring bells for the hungry.
God’s Justice and the “Problem of Evil”
Both communities act out answers to Hume's supposedly airtight logic: "Is [God] willing to prevent evil, but not able? He, more than anyone, bore the evil of his own justice and mercy. Yet it was on Calvary that evil was vanquished. We would have been vanquished along with it, if not for the time God has given for us and you too? Not everyone will find these answers satisfactory, or even pleasant. Some will want God's patience to run on forever; others wish it had run out long ago.
God's plans are bitter-sweet even to John the Seer Rev. Jonah's own final response is left out of his story, where it is God who gets the last word. Therefore it is not a self-contained argument, but depends upon material concerning the rest of the divine economy of salvation, as expressed in the rest of the liturgical year.
There was of course no uniformity, or even coherence, to the various Jewish responses to evil and injustice. But the figure s of the Messiah and the Son of Man figured prominently in many, and it was from these circles that Christianity seems to have emerged. Dodd finds the confession of Jesus' prompt return to judge the living and dead an authentic dimension of the primitive kerygma of the earliest Church.
He would not therefore have deprived him of the most excellent and precious form of goodness, namely the gift of liberty and free-will. For how could a nature that was enslaved and subject to necessity be called an image of the sovereign nature? Taylor, ed. In this collection Hick's essay falls into the Christological rather than the merely theistic cluster. The Christian reading of Job found in Rom. James Wm. McClendon, Jr. Whether or not they are wrong per se , they must be inadequate.
The first is the recovery of apocalyptic consciousness in biblical studies. Honest historical critics of Jesus' career will no longer let theologians forget that Jesus' apocalyptic sayings and the Church's early expectation of his quick return are firmly embedded in the earliest strata of the New Testament traditions.
Jesus thought God's imminent eschatological judgment to be the final answer to the problem of natural and moral evil. The second helpful development is the revival of apocalyptic practices in the Church. Off the continent, apocalypticism had long been on the rise in evangelical Dispensationalism and other millennial movements, whose popularity continues to grow worldwide. Millennarians adopt the biblical picture that Messiah is the answer to the problem of evil. Earthquakes, wars, and oppression are all signs that Jesus is coming, and justice will follow.
The Problem of Evil in the Book of Job
This conviction may be worked out poorly and even abusively in many millennarian communities. Eschatology is sometimes reduced to futurism. But the recovery of eschatological practice to an extent reminiscent of the early Church has been healthy, at least in principle.
The third development is postmodernity, which has helped restore theology's premodern appreciation for the practices of the worshiping Church as a source and example of theology. In them, we gain an epistemological ground for insight into the economy of salvation and the nature of God. In the gathered and worshiping Messianic community, we see "the Christian rationality" acted out. These are strange bedfellows indeed: Historical criticism, fundamentalism, postmodernity, and liturgics!
But each in its own way appreciates the importance of eschatological, Christological, and practical categories in Christian theodical reflection. The Church's response to suffering was provided by Jesus himself, received from his apostles, and has been shaped and lived out even if poorly in his Church. While Hellenistic concepts of divine attributes and Platonistic accounts of evil have their place in Christian thought, they are neither the first word nor the best word on the matter.
They stand in great need of clarification and correction by the Church's more traditional Christological answer to suffering in God's good creation. First, the Lord's Prayer sees salvation as salvation from : "Let your Kingdom come In the wealthy West, most of us have so much food that we have to fight the battle of the bulge. In the ancient world, however, it was not so.
Too often, according to Asaph, the wicked were fat and happy. They were getting away with abuse and corruption. They live easily and no one does anything about it. Injustice is real. So, it seemed to Asaph that godliness and righteousness seems futile.
Lesson 7: What to Do When Evil Prevails (Malachi 2:17-3:6)
Suddenly, however, Asaph had a turning point and it was not where we might suspect. His perspective on the reality of the suffering of the righteous did not come when he engineered a social justice movement within Israel. He saw the end of the wicked. He saw that where they were standing—in contrast to where Asaph stands—is slippery, that they will be destroyed.
At that moment the evil were not changed but Asaph was. His heart was pierced. He realized that he had been thinking not like a believer but like an animal.
Evil and the Justice of God | Notes & Review | vialogue
He confesses his ignorance of God. Do not let the liberals and the critics tell you that the Old Testament believers had no idea of heaven or eternal life. They most certainly did. Indeed, in the last section of the Psalm, Asaph has turned his eyes entirely to the Lord, where he finds real help. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. Asaph freely acknowledges three truths: God is sovereign and governs all things; that his ways are mysterious to us; that human agency is real. The wicked choose freely, without compulsion to do what they do to the innocent and they are morally responsible before God for their free choices and acts.
God is in charge of it all. That is why Asaph complains and laments.