1. Directly addresses the classmates’ threads by providing thoughtful analysis and evaluation.
2. Must reflect a strong understanding of the subject material. You may provide additional thoughts from the text or other theological resources that would contribute to the subject being discussed.
3. As stated above, avoid casual talks and testimonies by interacting theologically and critically. If you disagree with a classmate, respectfully argue your case and seek to edify him or her.
4. It must be well-written. Curt responses such as “I agree with you,” “Ditto,” “You took the words right out of my mouth,” “You go, Bob!” etc., are not appropriate.
5. If you reply to more than 2 classmates’ threads in a forum, please specify which 2 replies you want counted for your grade by commenting accordingly at the end of both replies. The third and fourth replies (and any more) will not count towards your grade.
6. Greetings, citations, and closings are not part of the total word count.
7. Please review the DB Forum Replies Rubric in order to maximize your grade.
Reply to david
The “problem of evil” can definitely be a problem, especially to explain to those critical of the Christian faith. In looking at Erickson’s various themes, “A Reevaluation of What Constitutes Good and Evil” seems to have some merit, but I believe can present new problems as well (Erickson 2013, 396). One problem is that it would be hard for those critical of the faith to accept that God can see outcomes that are good because our information is incomplete.
Erickson’s “God as the Victim of Evil” presents some difficulties as well (Erickson 2013, 401). To those hostile to the Christian faith, it could seem if God allowed Himself to fall victim to evil, it would call into question His omnipotence. One could also wonder why He would allow Himself, Christ and mankind to fall victim to sin when He could have prevented it altogether. This theme does not seem to answer this nagging question.
“Evil as a Necessary Accompaniment of the Creation of Humanity” offers some appeal for those who are critical to the Christian faith (Erickson 2013, 395). Erickson states “Humans would not be genuinely human without free will… And the possibility of evil was a necessary accompaniment of God’s good plan to make people fully human” (Erickson 2013, 395). I believe most would have to accept that if man has free will, which most of those hostile to the Christian faith would probably claim, then the possibility of one deliberately choosing evil is probable.
While “Specific Evil as the Result of Specific Sins” seems to run hand in hand with “Evil as a Necessary Accompaniment,” it fails to answer the cause of all of evil. While it makes sense that specific evil is the result of specific sins as Erickson argues it, it does not explain all of evil. For example, Erickson gives the example of Jesus explaining why the blind man was born blind (John 9:2-3). Jesus specifically states it was not due to sin, either the blind man’s or his parents’ (Erickson 2013, 400).
I believe the best way to answer one who is critical to the Christian faith is “Evil in General as the Result of Sin in General” (Erickson 2013, 398). Erickson argues that sin entered the whole human race when Adam and Eve sinned. Mankind now has a tendency to sin. Evil is the result (Erickson 2013, 398). This offers a better reasoning to why God allowed this to occur. Erickson explains “For humans to be genuinely free, there has to be an option. The choice is to obey or to disobey God. In the case of Adam and Eve, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil symbolized that choice” (Erickson 2013, 399).
I know God needs nothing, especially from us. Scripture tells us we are to love God with all we are (Mark 12:30) and He is “jealous” for our worship (Exodus 34:14). To show love to another requires an act of a person’s will. For love to be returned to God, one would have to choose to do so. One would also be free to reject God, which human history records many examples. Not to love God who created man and demonstrated His love to us through Jesus (Romans 5:8) would seem to me to be the ultimate definition of evil. So “Evil in General” seems to me to be the best response to one who is critical to the Christian faith.
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Erickson, Millard. Christian Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013.
Reply to nicole
Erickson’s writing on the problem of evil was interesting, yet on pint. For those who are critical of the Christian faith with many opinions and questions, it can be sometimes hard to find the right words to answer them. Erikson discusses four ways the problem of evil has been handled philosophically and not philosophically. They are first, some people try to justify evil by rejecting the theological system because God exists. Second, don’t argue because the theistic arguments. Third, they argue the existence of evil as if God is nonexistent. The fourth and final is to argue against the Judeo-Christian concept of God. So, because each person may have a different understanding or belief of who God is, determines how they approach the questions that they have about the problem of evil and God. There are three areas that they focus upon when trying to determine the nature of the problem of evil, such as, God is all loving, God is all-powerful, and Evil exists in a world created by such a God.
There are some problems of evil, such as, the religious problem, and the philosophical problem. You also have to take in account also the degrees of evil. The best beneficial theme to handle these questions in conversation to me is the perception of God. I will explain myself by using the theological positions, which are also great to use when witnessing and evangelizing. First for God is omnipotent, I would refer to the Scripture Revelation 19:6. I would explain that God is almighty and ruler of all. Next, for God being benevolent in some sense of evil, then God’s good will and the scripture I would refer to is 1 Corinthians 7:3. For the last one which evil is present in the world, which is what is going on today. I would explain that we are in this world that has evil, but we are not of this world if evil if we decide to follow God and we are filled with the spirit, walking and living in the spirit daily, evil will have to flee from our lives. Adam and Eve decided to disobey and opened up evil to mankind which was not originally a part of God’s plan for the earth. Erickson states, “Consequently, contrary to perceptions of atheists and even some theists, the same problem of evil cannot confront all theological systems. Each system has its own problem and requires its own answer.” The lack of knowledge and understanding of man to know what they are dealing with is what has caused evil to spread so quickly and especially against the believers. Evil is part of the spiritual battle that we face daily. Your relationship with God is your one of your devices against evil.