Theodicy is the inquiry into the paradox that a loving God would witness and allow such endless evil as exists in the world.
Movies can be very informative as a parallel university which gives you a visual and story-based entry into such a problem or puzzle or conundrum or dilemma.
Take the Roger Corman classic film (based on the Edgar Allan Poe story):
The Masque of the Red Death from 1964.
Consider the following exchange between Prospero (Vincent Price plays a kind of “evil machine”) from the film:
Prospero: Somewhere in the human mind, my dear Francesca, lies the key to our existence. My ancestors tried to find it. And to open the door that separates us from our Creator.
Francesca: But you need no doors to find God. If you believe…
Prospero: Believe? If you believe, my dear Francesca, you are… gullible. Can you look around this world and believe in the goodness of a god who rules it?
Famine, Pestilence, War, Disease and Death! They rule this world.
The evil Prince Prospero is riding through the Catania village when he sees that the peasants are dying of the Red Death. Prospero asks to burn down the village and he is offended by the villagers, Gino and his father-in-law Ludovico. He decides to kill them, but Gino’s wife, the young and beautiful Francesca, begs for the lives of her husband and her father and Prospero brings them alive to his castle expecting to corrupt Francesca. Prospero worships Satan and invites his noble friends to stay in his castle which is a shelter of depravity against the plague. When Prospero invites his guests to attend a masked ball, he sees a red-hooded stranger and he believes that Satan himself has attended his party. But soon he learns who his mysterious guest is.
Theodicy and the Explanation of God’s Coexistence with Evil:
Wikipedia informs us:
Theodicy means the vindication of God. It is to answer the question of why a good God permits the manifestation of evil, thus resolving the issue of the problem of evil. Some theodicies also address the problem of evil “to make the existence of an all-knowing, all-powerful and all-good or omnibenevolent God consistent with the existence of evil or suffering in the world.” Unlike a defense, which tries to demonstrate that God’s existence is logically possible in the light of evil, a theodicy provides a framework wherein God’s existence is also plausible.
The German philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Leibniz coined the term “theodicy” in 1710 in his work Théodicée, though various responses to the problem of evil had been previously proposed. The British philosopher John Hick traced the history of moral theodicy in his 1966 work, Evil and the God of Love, identifying three major traditions:
- the Plotinian theodicy, named after Plotinus.
- the Augustinian theodicy, which Hick based on the writings of Augustine of Hippo.
- the Irenaean theodicy, which Hick developed, based on the thinking of St. Irenaeus.
One of life’s educational tricks (a pillar of Meta Intelligence) is to let the off-campus “university” of movies give you an on-ramp, if you know how to take it, into formal academe on the campus.