Sunday, March 5, 2017

Theodicy: Problem of Evil Continued

This post is continuing a chain started on March 3, Theodicy Introduction.

I realized while thinking about the introduction to this series, as I discussed the problem of evil it was in an impersonal manner.  I discussed how the masses view it, as opposed to how it impacts you, the reader.  As our Savior is a very personal being it is more important that this applies to you than me simply attempting to answer a question the masses posed.

While the problem of evil is a general idea with predefined and argued attributes, it is something very real in every person's life.  Like the adage goes, "Life sucks, then you die," a constant across every life is suffering.  While I don't know what you have gone through, if you have not gone through a trial that has brought you to your knees, you will.  The worst of these trials are often more than we feel we can take.  Joseph Smith was one of the greatest men to live and in his darkest moment he plead "O God, where are thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?" (D&C 121:1)

Here, Joseph Smith was essentially asking the problem of evil himself.  I read that passage as, "God, you have all power.  I know you can end this suffering, I know you can.  And God, you love me.  So if you have all power, and if you love me, how can you see all that I and those I love are going through and still let us suffer?  You must be gone, gone into hiding, because if you were here I cannot understand how you do nothing!"

I read it this way because honestly that is how I have felt before in my life.  After a broken engagement, I asked this very question.  If I am being honest, I did not answer this question well.  I became angry and distant with God because I did not want the brand of love of He was offering.  This meant that as I dealt with my greatest suffering, I had to deal with it alone.  I forced out some of God's mercy.

As I answer the question of the problem of evil to the masses, I hope that I also find a way to make the answer personable.  So that when you come to a moment of suffering you will not forsake your greatest comfort as I once did.  To be like our Savior who in His suffering cried for His father to take away the bitter cup, but said "nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." (Luke 22:42-43) And as Christ was then comforted with an angel of support, strengthening even the Son of God, I know God will give aid to you if you humbly seek him.

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