Theodicy means vindication of God. It is to answer the question of why a good God permits the manifestation of evil, thus resolving the issue of the problem of evil. wiki

Just as, in my view, the existence of God is often merely defined and deduced into existence, if we accept for the sake of argument that a God, the God, my God does in fact exist, how is the “vindication” of this God in the face of evil not also just defined and deduced into existence?

The point below [and my reaction to it] is taken from my own “on discussing god and religion” thread:


[b]Let’s run this by the religionists here. But, really, how could they not all be reduced down to this: God works in mysterious ways.

Or, for the Buddhists, the universe works in mysterious ways.

K: I am going to work out this one part of the post…

I hold that those who use the “god/universe works in mysterious ways”
are using that as a cop out… it allows them to punt on any real thought
about the religious viewpoint…it allows them to avoid doing any real thought
as to this question of “evil” for one…

“what is evil?”

and we can avoid dealing with that question, by just saying,
ah, god/universe works in mysterious ways… and I’m off the hook…
no more thought necessary… god/universe works in a mysterious way…

and I am not responsible or going to be accountable given “god/universe
works in mysterious ways”…

I hold that the very presence of “evil” negates, denies the idea of “god”…

god is good or god is about love… and so, what about “evil?”

ah, god works in mysterious ways and I don’t have to engage with that
question…see how that works…

what does the presence of “evil” really mean?

and in fact, what is “evil?”

we can’t even come up with a very good explanation of what “evil” is…

define “evil”…

and please avoid using the tired and cliche saying, “god/universe works in
mysterious ways”…


Still, I also think the faithful fall back on the “mysterious ways” of God or the universe because it’s either that or having to accept that human pain and suffering is essentially meaningless.

In other words, given what can be argued is but the brute facticity of an existence utterly lacking in anything that might be seen as the equivalent of a teleological foundation.

Instead, from the perspective of the Humanists, we have to create our own “human all too human” facsimile: reason, ideology, deontology, scientism.

Then [for me] it’s how close to or far away from others are in regard to “I” being “fractured and fragmented”.

This fucking thing:

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values “I” can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction…or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then “I” begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

What I wouldn’t give to actually figure out a way to yank myself up out of it. God or No God.

The Good, The Bad and Theodicy
John Holroyd on the pitfalls of academic debates about God and evil.

In other words, any particular individual watching it can react to it from any number of conflicting perspectives. Construing and differentiating the good from the bad with or without a faith in God. But one thing doesn’t change for any of them. This: that throughout human history in almost every community there were, are and probably always will be behaviors deemed good and behaviors deemed bad. And, if there is a God, then He is around to pass judgment on it when push comes to shove and we go up or down.

But, if there is a God, how to explain why there are any bad guys embracing evil at all?

And, sure enough, the faithful have any number of arguments to explain it. Just Google “God and the problem of evil”: … revision/5

And, given any particular context, the arguments can be seen as more or less reasonable.

And who are we as mere mortals to grasp the “eternal significance” of, for example, the 24,000 babies who are stillborn in America alone each year, or the 3 million children who die from starvation every year, or the countless millions that have died, die, and will continue to die from one or another “natural disaster” year in and year out. Or from the next “extinction event” to thump planet Earth. That’s for a loving, just and merciful God to file away under “mysterious ways”.

Here is an alterior take, albeit a relative one. What if we should agree to the indefinity of a god , a albeit a god who doesen’t sack us into a pantheistic irreducibility.

A god of relative measure between substance and form.

What to a god who can co-experience our own self awareness with or without god himself.

One god without this focused awareness of each and everyone,may wish to perceive us teleologically through our eyes, as if he was a construct as You suggest, or matematico-phisically with evolving corresponding relation between them.

Then , god can actually look at men as if they were made of multitudes of sparks corresponding to our view of the heavens , lit up as do big manifold objects in the universe’s night sky, the stars and other galactic objects.

In this sense of teleilogical accute-ism, stars may have life , existence, and being, as a potentially
significant relative quantum state.

The whole cosmos including consistence with the infinite multiplicity that ever recurs, reaches a specific state of infolded disattachment, where the particular habitable planet recurs into it’s pre-enlighted past- experience it’self and it’s stage of civilization as does a part of a photograph blown way out of proportion, and You may get the picture.

The absolute reducement of such toward absolute zero. persisting in a state approaching absolute anti matted, time, curves to form a near perfect absolute curve approaching The Ring, which becomes A strange phenomena like black holes and such. …such attribution curve into a foundation ofabsolute sorts, Asimov may be aware if here, …

To get the sense what transpires here are manyfold transforming forces, some likened to the opposite if cell division- causing the eventual collapse of the entire cosmic architecture into an infinitely pure absolute …that is indefinitely definiable, over and above if what can currently be described as 'energy’beyond the indifineable nothingness beyond description.

The Good, The Bad and Theodicy
John Holroyd on the pitfalls of academic debates about God and evil.

Again, however, the beauty of religion is that it no less subsumes logic in God’s “mysterious ways” than it does everything else. And there it is: faith. You don’t even have to demonstrate how or why this is true. You merely take that leap to God and even the Holocaust and pandemics and natural disasters are all “explained away” is beyond the reach of any mere mortal grasping the ways of a “loving just and merciful” God. Then it just comes down to your own personal agonies. Any particular horrors that become apart of your existence. God then is testing your faith. And, besides, what’s the alternative? You lose your beloved son or daughter or mother or father or husband or wife or close friend to the coronavirus or the earthquake or the volcanic eruption and it’s either God and your religion or accepting that it is all subsumed instead in the brute facticity of an essentially meaningless existence that for each of them is now the embodiment of oblivion.

On the other hand, what did any of them know of God’s “mysterious ways”? Misdeeds? Mere mortals attributing to an omniscient and omnipotent God acts that mere mortals themselves decide are either good deeds or bad deeds? Come on, both the old and the new atheists here come up short in doing battle with God. Just ask the faithful.

Theodicy is and will ever remain a stacked deck. And the last time I checked I am myself still a “mere mortal”.

So, I recognize the futility of bringing this up to the true believers. On the other hand, what else is there? One of them might have an explanation that I can make some sense out of.

Someone here, perhaps?

The Good, The Bad and Theodicy
John Holroyd on the pitfalls of academic debates about God and evil.

Got that?

Of course when you approach theodicy “academically” in a “philosophical debate” how does this not come down to a battle of wits? Who has a greater command over the definitions and deductions generated in discussing God and evil.

Real evils?

We’ll need an actual context of course. Or is that just my thing here? Am I simply too naive to grapple with theodicy on their level?

Seriously, someone here please make the attempt to bring this out into the world of human interactions…interactions involving behaviors that some see as good and others as evil. How would a conflict of this sort be connected to a particular understanding of an omniscient and omnipotent God argued by many to be “loving just and merciful”? Evil from the perspective of theodicy construed academically and evil as fiercely debated by mere mortals given a specific situation or set of circumstances.

Forget broadening his point, how about narrowing it down to a discussion of theodicy [pro and con] in regard to abortion, or homosexuality, or social justice.

Yes, you can discuss evil “philosophically” or you can go out into the world and actually do something about it. Be less problematic and…make things worse?

That’s the thing about reconfiguring words into worlds when confronted with moral and political value judgments in conflict. Both sides can prefer “action” and from the perspective of each side things are only that much more abominable. Especially when the “action” revolves around one or another authoritarian or ideological or dogmatic agenda. Which is why those like me suggest instead that, to the extent it is feasible, practical and realizable, moderation, negotiation and compromise is likely to become the “best of all possible worlds”.

Providing of course that in regard to things said to be good or evil your own “I” is not as torn and tattered as mine is.

The Good, The Bad and Theodicy
John Holroyd on the pitfalls of academic debates about God and evil.

Logic and morality. I won’t even pretend to untangle all of the variables here. Come on, where does the part that we can encompass in reasonable communication end and the part where the subjective/subjunctive “I” is able to actually demonstrate that their moral and political value judgments encompass the logical, rational, epistemological truth.

And throw in all of the assumptions that revolve around an omniscient and omnipotent God? Is the word of God necessarily logical? Can God’s own ghastly creations – natural disasters, extinction events, countless diseases – be grappled with by mere mortals using the tools of philosophy?

On the other hand, from my frame of mind, you would have to be an omniscient God in order to accomplish this. After all, can any of you grasp the lives of those who lived them in ways you haven’t a clue regarding? Can you take into account all of the multitudinous experiences millions and millions around the globe have had that create “backgrounds and inclinations” embedded in untold combinations of historical, cultural and circumstantial factors? All in order to acquire a God’s eye view in order to pursue a morality in which one size fits all?

Why? Because it can be determined rationally, logically, epistemologically that someone either ought to believe in God or lose their faith given the pain and the suffering that they have endured? This is not more likely to be rooted instead in the arguments that I make?

And it’s not like those who do subsume their miseries in God and religion have any better alternative. What, to believe that their terrible pain or grief or bitterness or anger can only be subsumed instead in an essentially meaningless No God existence?

Why not place that wager on immortality and salvation by betting on the God or religious path that you are able to think yourself into believing in? It’s just a matter of still being able to. Some can, others can’t.

Bottom line [his and mine]:

I merely suggest that in the absence of that crucial confirmation that a God, the God is in fact your God, it is likely that the choice that you make here is only able to be communicated to another up to a point. It is rational to you more because you have managed to think yourself into believing that it is. At least until the next round of pain and suffering. Then [existentially] that may well be the one that changes your mind.

Yes, here, on this thread, the best of all possible worlds. I simply point out that with so much at stake on both sides of the grave, communication breakdowns are far more likely to be the rule.

The Good, The Bad and Theodicy
John Holroyd on the pitfalls of academic debates about God and evil.

On the other hand, you may imagine that my aim here is to suggest that evil and suffering can only really be broached and understood from a first person subjective/subjunctive frame of mind. The alleged existence of God simply configures it in the direction an omniscient and omnipotent frame of mind. And to a mind said by many to [ultimately] be “loving just and merciful.” What of human evil and suffering then?

But the discussion is only “lowered” here to the extent it can be demonstrated that in fact there is a “higher” frame of mind from which to approach it. At least in accepting that there is no objective moral font that mere mortals can turn to to resolve conflicting goods there is at least the possibility that “moderation, negotiation and compromise” can be sustained as the “best of all possible worlds”.

Okay, but what doesn’t change from my own perspective is that this “connectedness” can involve an enormous amount of pain and suffering. And the part of our consciousness that “engages” in connecting to it reacts from a subjective/subjunctive point of view. Out in a particular world understood in a particular way. And this is applicable to both the believer and disbeliever. It’s just that the subjective assessment of the believer allows for the existence of a transcending entity into which questions of this nature can be subsumed. God or the “Universe” becomes a way in which to make it all objective.

And around and around and around they go. As though one can actually establish that either a belief or a disbelief in God could be assessed [by philosophers or scientists or theologians or anyone else] as creating a greater “moral hazard”. And it’s a “live debate” from my own frame of mind because conclusions seem only able to be derived from the perspective of one or another subjective point of view.

The Good, The Bad and Theodicy
John Holroyd on the pitfalls of academic debates about God and evil.

On the other hand, when the experiences they share are embedded deeply in all manner of pain and suffering, the only way in which to understand it in the “best of all possible worlds” is in being able to subsume it all in God or religion.

If your mutual understanding and working together doesn’t make the pain and suffering go away, then you either agree to leave all that to the ecclesiastics or you might end up thinking about it all as I do.

Questions are asked. Different faiths exchange possible answers. But, in the interim, in the absence of God manifesting Himself with the only explanation that really matters, it’s like questions and answers being exchanged regarding all other aspects of human interactions in the is/ought world: they’re right from their side, we’re right from ours.

Muddling through the “actual contexts” given one or another intertwining of might makes right, right makes might, democracy and the rule of law.

And what we do here: discuss and debate it.

Then this: the best of all possible worlds…

Yes, and when the next “super volcano” or the next “big one” from space precipitates the next “extinction event” here on planet earth that becomes magnified a thousand fold. A multicultural reaction on steroids.

But there is still the grotesque horror of the event itself. A global catastrophe of truly epic proportions.

And God.

Philosophy of Religion
Chapter 6. The Problem of Evil
Section 4. Theodicy … eodicy.htm

The classic example being this one: … 1400034728

The idea that God is in fact loving, just and merciful…just not omnipotent. And that can work for some precisely because no actual God has ever been demonstrated to exist. If God is just something you define or deduce into existence from a world of words concocted in your head, the problem/paradox embedded in centuries of at times excruciating human pain and suffering can be resolved in any number of ways:

Here at ILP of course we’ve had any number of “spiritual assessments” over the years…members providing us with explanations from any number of conflicted denominations – and from “personal” TOE – for why the world is what it is. But one thing never changes: that truly horrific human pain and suffering derived either “man’s inhumanity to man” or from one or another “natural disaster”.

The covid-19 pandemic being just the very latest example of how we are confronted with the “will of God”.

Philosophy of Religion
Chapter 6. The Problem of Evil
Section 4. Theodicy

The God of the Old Testament.

And, again, isn’t this really the only way in which to reconcile God – any God – with the world that we live in? There is so much pain and suffering around – staggering amounts of it! – that only a man or a woman desperate for immortality and salvation can take that leap of faith to worshipping and adoring the nasty brute of the Old Testament. Here it seems to be more about fearing the wrath of God than anything else.

That at least makes sense.

The God of the Old Testament is like the unbridled capitalist. The God of the New Testament – Jesus Christ – is, instead, more the yearning among the flock for the socialist alternative.

Okay, so given things like natural disasters, viral pandemics and extinction events, what else is there but linking this more “perfect” God to a will that mere mortals are simply unable to grasp. Everything, apparently, will be explained to faithful on the other side of the grave. And in paradise no less.

And there are only going to be problems when the idea of God and the ideal God actually have to acknowledge just how ghastly human pain and suffering is. But, up in the spiritual clouds, the solutions can simply be “thought up”.

Philosophy of Religion
Chapter 6. The Problem of Evil
Section 4. Theodicy

So, leaving the part where an omniscient God is compatible with human freedom aside, we are to believe that the God of Moses and Abraham allows the pain and suffering endured by His flocks still today to persist because of something done by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. We are made to endure unspeakable tortures for something that others did. We didn’t disobey God, they did. But it’s all the same.

And yet [of course] most of us would find it utterly appalling to punish children for the transgressions of their parents. Let alone for their parents parents or their parents parents.

And, again, what of the terrible agonies endured by men, women and children brought on by natural disasters and ghastly diseases and extinction events? How is that explained when human obedience and behaviors have little or no part to play at all in these catastrophes?

Another bizarre frame of mind. As though Satan himself is not just another creation of God. And what of Satan literally entering the bodies – the hearts and souls – of mere mortals. Blame it all on us? Going all the way back to Adam and Eve.

And what of all those who lived, suffered and died, before this? And [seriously] what did Christ have to say about the terrible suffering endured by mere mortals due to “acts of God” beyond their control?

My own point as well.

On the other hand, my own point is as well to note the obvious. That in the absence of God, all human pain and suffering is essentially meaningless and life itself ends in oblivion.

So, if the only alternative to that is to invent a loving, just and merciful God and then subsume all the pain and suffering in His “mysterious ways”, how can that not be better than an essentially meaningless existence that tumbles over into the abyss that is nothingness?

I’ll still choose that if I can come up with a way to.

Philosophy of Religion
Chapter 6. The Problem of Evil
Section 4. Theodicy

This might seem more reasonable in regard to human interactions in which the pain and the suffering are more clearly the result of bad or immoral decisions. Your body has to be punished so that your soul can learn to avoid the pain and the suffering by choosing more righteously.


1] what of the terrible pain and suffering inflicted on children and babies and infants?
2] what of the situations embedded in “rival goods”, in which mere mortals on both sides of the the conflicts genuinely and sincerely believe their own moral values are righteous ones?

And then the part where pain and suffering comes as a result of natural disasters. I remember a newscast once in which a woman insisted that the deaths brought about about by a hurricane were God’s way of telling us that we should not build homes too close to the shoreline.

Exactly. All the terrible pain and suffering inflicted on those oblivious even to the existence of a God allowing pain and suffering in order to make them a “truly good person”. And the staggering extent of the tortures that those who are already God fearing “good people” are made to endure.

Here, it would seem, there is nothing left but to fall back on the only explanation there is: God’s mysterious ways. Anything that happens to anyone can be accounted for here.

Philosophy of Religion
Chapter 6. The Problem of Evil
Section 4. Theodicy

What can I say? Sure, if you are able to think yourself into believing that something along these lines is true then for you it’s true. That’s the beauty of living in a world where the evolution of biological life on Earth has culminated in human brains able to believe in things not even remotely able to be demonstrated.

Minds able to reconcile an omniscient God with the free will of mere mortals. Minds able to worship and adore a God that has inflicted mind-boggling amounts of pain and suffering on the flocks down through the ages. After all, is not God ultimately responsible for the existence of such things as the covid-19 and HIV viruses?

But: blame Adam and Eve, not God?

Of course all of this is just “thought up”. In theory it is true and all any of us can do is take a leap of faith to it and live our lives as though it were in fact true. After all, if it is true and you live your life accordingly you are rewarded. And if it is true and you don’t live your life accordingly you are punished. And if you can’t figure out why the good people are punished you can just go back to Adam and Eve and assume that the Fall is manifested in ways that are beyond the reach of mere mortals.

Knowing of course that unless you are able to think yourself into believing it, you’re left with hundreds and hundreds of conflicting moral narrative here and now to choose from and then oblivion there and then.

My solution for this is that God is finite and the universe is alive.

And you would go about demonstrating to us that this is true…how?

Take the covid-19 pandemic. The terrible toll that has taken on millions around the globe. How does God being finite or the universe being alive help us to make sense of it?

In terms of “the problem of evil”?

Creation took a long time to form.
So its creator took a long time to form it.
So its creator is finite because it takes him a long time to do things.

Reality is very non random.
Also there is a similarity between new and old cosmic bodies.

And you would go about demonstrating to us that this is true…how?

And, again, given the point of the thread…

…how would this point of yours possibly be applicable?

Give it your best shot.

Notice im not here to debate how nice or how evil God is.

This is just a question of creation vs evolution.

There has been much said on both sides of this debate.

The fine tuned qualities of the universe.
The irreducibly complex qualities of some living things.

The answer revolves around deduction.
We can’t ask God if there is a god,
and we can’t ask reality if it is alive.
But deduction shows clues about how much of this whole thing is like this or like that.

What if i asked you to prove there is no creator?

Demanding proof is for lazy half-philosophers.
You gotta get it yourself.