JD WALTERS SAID:
“I don't want to see good behind evil, I want to see good overwhelming and destroying evil.”
That’s because you approach evil from a very abstract, Panglossian perspective.
“Maybe this just comes down to a difference in temperament, but the idea that evil is just evil through and through, and is not initiated for some higher purpose, is of great comfort to me, as it is to Ben Witherington.”
i) You and BW3 presumably have a different theodicean strategies. You currently espouse open theism whereas he presumably affirms divine foreknowledge.
ii) Denial can be a comforting. It’s comforting for parents to deny that their kids would ever lie to them. It’s comforting for parents to deny that their daughter is hooked on drugs. It’s comforting for a wife to refuse to believe her husband is cheating on her. It’s comforting for her to continue believing that he really loves her.
iii) The problem with denial is that it’s a very fragile coping strategy. It requires you to compartmentalize your beliefs, suppress what you know, avoid logical inferences. Your coping strategy is constantly threatened by reality intruding on your comforting illusion.
iv) It’s just a fantasy to pretend that God has nothing to do with pulmonary embolisms. That traces back to God through a chain of cause and effect.
v) God didn’t “overwhelm” the pulmonary embolism. God wasn’t “in the trenches with us, fighting” the pulmonary embolism.
So that theodicy doesn’t even mesh on its own terms.
“If God is not behind evil, then I know that it is something finite, something creaturely, and as such entirely within God's providence…”
Non sequitur. If God is behind evil, then evil is still something finite, creaturely, entirely within God’s providence.
“…nothing evil can ultimately frustrate God's purposes.”
Finite godism lacks the funds to cash that check.
“On the Arminian view, evil is not a blessing in disguise, but blessings do still follow evil, just because God is constantly working to defeat and eradicate that evil.”
i) God wasn’t constantly working to defeat and eradicate the pulmonary embolism. You keep intoning these precious pieties, but they don’t line up with the actual situation.
ii) You also cast God in a purely reactionary role, a first responder.
If God intended evil for a good purpose, then evil will serve the purpose God intended. Accomplish exactly what God planned. Evil will subserve the good rather than subvert the good. Facilitate the good rather than frustrated the good.
But if God did not intend evil for a good purpose, then God must settle for limiting the harm. Making the best of a bad hand. Salvage whatever he can retrieve from the ruins–like a homeowner sifting through the rubble after a tornado.
“Amen. How could evil be anything else and still be evil?”
You’re not trying very hard. Not giving it your best effort. You’re sharp enough to know how simplistic that is.
Take the murder of Abel. Fratricide is evil. Paradigmatic evil. That was bad for short-lived Abel, bad for his grieving parents. Even bad for Cain, who was banished.
Yet it was good for Seth. Seth was the replacement child. Had Abel not been murdered, Seth would miss out.