Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Olson's slapdash theodicy

Rule those out and you are back to God’s simply permitting natural and man-made disaster to happen because this is a fallen world and the kingdom of God is not yet.

Unfortunately for Olson, that utterly fails to solve the problem he posed. He says the Calvinist God is arbitrary. God randomly destroys some towns through natural or manmade disasters while passing others by.

Yet Olson’s alternative would only be coherent if God has uniformly withdrawn from a fallen world. If God never intervenes to prevent or deflect a natural or manmade disaster.

But when Christians hear about an imminent or impending disaster which threatens their family or friends, strangers or neighbors, they pray that God will step in. Clearly they don’t always get what they ask for. Yet unless Olson is a postlapsarian deist, he must believe that on some occasions, God does respond to their prayers by intervening to save lives in the face of some looming catastrophe.

But in that event, Olson’s alternative is no solution. Why does the Arminian God randomly answer some prayers for deliverance, but not others? Perhaps Olson will say God’s selective intervention isn’t really arbitrary, appearances notwithstanding. But, of course, if he can say that, so can Piper.

Remember that Olson is a guy who routinely accuses Calvinists of failing to think through the implications of Calvinism. Yet Olson is a shallow thinker who constantly offers half-baked solutions.

Olson is simply a reactionary. He’s defined by what he opposes. He’s against Calvinism. He doesn’t have a coherent alternative. He doesn’t get that far. He can’t.