Friday, February 18, 2011

What Richard Said

Well, it's really what Jurgen Moltmann said.

Richard's interested in universalism as a means to theodicy, and posted about it. But I was really struck by this bit he quoted from Moltmann's Trinity and Kingdom:

The question of theodicy is not a speculative question; it is a critical one. It is the all-embracing eschatological question. It is not purely theoretical, for it cannot be answered with any new theory about the existing world. It is a practical question which will only be answered through experience of the new world in which 'God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.' It is not really a question at all, in the sense of something we can ask or not ask, like other questions. It is the open wound of life in this world. It is the real task of faith and theology to make it possible for us to survive, to go on living, with this open wound. The person who believes will not rest content with any slickly explanatory answer to the theodicy question. And he will also resist any attempts to soften the question down. The more a person believes, the more deeply he experiences pain over the suffering in the world, and the more passionately he asks about God and the new creation.

"It is not purely theoretical, for it cannot be answered with any new theory about the existing world." Put another way: theodicy is about reconciling our experience of the world with the claims people are making about God. Good theodicy is an effort to develop a living, harmonious understanding of the universe, rather than a manufactured, dead one, riddled with contradictions and conflicts.


Mike Gantt said...

A truly biblical theodicy, I think, would have to begin with the acknowledgement that sin (evil) preceded the creation of which we are a part, and that this creation was in fact God's intended means to deal with that evil. In other words, the original sin was not committed on earth.

I do believe that everyone is going to heaven and present a biblical case for it. However, I also believe that God is calling all of us to repent. The purpose of our repentance is not to guarantee us a place in heaven, for that, as I've said, has already been determined. Rather, repentance will bring us benefits in this life and the next which we would not otherwise receive.

klatu said...

The first wholly new interpretation for 2000 years of the Gospel and moral teachings of Christ is on the web. Redefining all primary elements including Faith, the Word, Law, Baptism, the Trinity and especially the Resurrection, this new interpretation questions the validity and origins of all Christian tradition; it overturns all natural law ethics and theory. At stake is the credibility of several thousand years of religious history and moral teaching. What history, science and religion have agreed was not possible, has happened.

Using a synthesis of scriptural material from the Old and New Testaments, the Apocrypha , The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Nag Hammadi Library, and some of the worlds great poetry, it describes and teaches a single moral LAW, a single moral principle, and offers the promise of its own proof; one in which the reality of God responds directly to an act of perfect faith with a demonstration of His omnipotence, an individual intervention into the natural world; 'raising up the man' correcting human nature by a change in natural law, altering biology, consciousness and human ethical perception beyond all natural evolutionary boundaries. Intended to be understood metaphorically, where 'death' is ignorance and 'Life' is knowledge, this experience, personal encounter of transcendent power and moral purpose is the 'Resurrection', and justification for faith. Here is where true morality and perfect virtue, called righteousness begins.

Here then is the basis for the first ever viable religious conception capable of leading reason, by faith, to observable consequences which can be tested and judged. This new teaching delivers the first ever religious claim of insight into the human condition, that meets the Enlightenment criteria of testable, verifiable, direct cause and effect, evidence based truth embodied in action. For the first time in history, however unexpected, the world must measure for itself, the reality of a new claim to revealed truth, a moral tenet not of human intellectual origin, offering access by faith, to absolute proof, an objective basis for moral principle and a fully rationally, justifiable belief!

This is 'religion' revealed without any of the conventional trappings of tradition. An individual, virtue-ethical conception, independent of all cultural perception in a single moral command, and the single Law finds it's expression of obedience within a new covenant of marriage. It requires no institutional framework or hierarchy, no churches or priest craft, no scholastic theological rational, dogma or doctrine and ‘worship’ requires only conviction, faith and the necessary measure of self discipline to accomplish a new, single moral imperative and the integrity and fidelity to the new reality.

If confirmed, this will represent a paradigm change in both faith and the moral and intellectual potential of human nature itself; untangling the greatest questions of human existence: consciousness, meaning, suffering, free will and evil. And at the same time addressing the most profound problems of our age.

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Matthew said...

@klatu verata coughcoughcough

Both of those sound like unusual ideas. They're not necessarily ideas that I find compelling, but they are definitely unusual.

Scott said...

I'm giving an exam to my undergrads tomorrow, and I told them if they can't communicate an idea briefly and succinctly, it probably means they don't understand the idea.

Granting there are ideas too complex to be communicated briefly, I'd say the vagueness and constant name-dropping (idea-dropping?) in klatu’s comment suggests he does't understand what he's trying to say -- or else he knows that if he stated the idea clearly, no one would follow the link.

My apologies if I'm taking the comment too seriously by even commenting on it.

Matthew said...


Yeah, I'm with you on all that.

Although I wonder if I'd be willing to grant the assertion that "there are ideas too complex to be communicated briefly." I'm inclined to think that /any/ idea can be communicated briefly, and with little enough smudge that it would be recognizable to a third person who completely understood the idea.