Rawlings School of Divinity
Master of Arts in Christian Apologetics (MA)
Ronnie P. Campbell
problem, evil, suffering, theodicy, defense, community, love, sin, meaning, value, being
Christianity | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion
Huls, Jonathan Michael, "Explanatory Ultimacy, Epistemic Access, and Evil: A Community Theodicy" (2023). Masters Theses. 961.
This is a work about meaning and value. How do human persons find meaning? Why do human persons have value—or do we? A stubborn problem of meaning is evidenced by the perennially treated theistic problem of evil. How is an all-powerful, all-knowing, and morally perfect God compatible with a world filled with violence and hate? If God is powerfully perfect, why is His world not perfect too? This project endeavors to notice that an answer to this problem depends on properly grounding human access to meaning—especially the meaning of the words God, and evil. It is argued herein that there can be no meaning, moral or otherwise without an explanatory ultimate to provide it. Likewise, a human relation to that ultimate is needed to explain the value in human persons. This thesis argues that God, as an indivisible Community of Love supplies a satisfactory explanatory ultimate for perfection, and thus a competent source of moral meaning. Since the creation entails features of the Creator, the incommensurable value of love, as seen in the self-giving of one person for another is offered as the sufficient reason motivating God’s creation—as well as the morally sufficient reason for God’s permission of evil. It is argued that evil results from the misorientation, or sin of a free moral creature’s life in relation to their Creator. In short, the meaningful problem of evil is a problem of sin. Therefore, the meaningful solution to the problem of evil is found in the perfect life of Jesus Christ who has exhausted the power of sin and death in the perfection of His own Love and Life. There are in fact such things as meaning and value, and their explanatory ultimate is Love. God is Love.