Defending God: Biblical Responses to the Problem of Evil by James L. Crenshaw

By James L. Crenshaw

Within the historical close to East, while the gods detected gross impropriety of their ranks, they subjected their very own to trial. while mortals suspect their gods of wrongdoing, have they got the precise to place them on trial? What lies in the back of the human undertaking to impose ethical criteria of habit at the gods? is that this attempt an act of conceitedness, as Kant urged, or a way of maintaining theological discourse sincere? it really is this question James Crenshaw seeks to handle during this wide-ranging research of historical theodicies. Crenshaw has been writing approximately and puzzling over the problem of theodicy - the human attempt to justify the methods of the gods or God - for a few years. during this quantity he offers a synthesis of his rules in this perennially thorny factor. the end result sheds new mild at the historical past of the human fight with this intractable challenge.

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Nothing is said about the nature of their anxiety. Its reality is underlined by an adverb: “there” (sham) they experienced dread. This lone adverb sheds no light on the exact location, and nothing in the context helps clarify its reference. Does the allusion to invoking YHWH imply a cultic setting, perhaps Zion? If so, the adverb would locate God’s vindication of the righteous in Jerusalem. Psalm 48:7 uses this adverb with reference to the holy city, where kings are said to be overcome by fear like the pain associated with giving birth.

Because there is no similarity between the Hebrew words involved, the change appears to be intentional. The clear association of practical atheism with gross immorality has thus imbued Pauline theology. The psalmist’s concept of moral bankruptcy has become an instrument that Paul wields to undercut the dominance of the law in the minds of his readers. Belief that salvation comes through obedience to the law of Moses is far removed from belief that righteousness comes through acknowledgment of the existence of God.

Similarly, Ps 76:4 states that “there” (in Zion) YHWH broke the weapons of the enemy. Not every psalm uses the adverb sham in this sense. Some psalms use it without indicating a specific place (Pss 36:13, 122:4–5, 132:17). In one instance it occurs with reference to the river Jordan, where Israelites are said to have crossed on dry land (Ps 66:6). ” This exclamation recalls the unexpected allusion in Ps 48:8 to YHWH’s destruction of the ships of Tarshish by means of an east wind. The adverb sham rarely occurs in wisdom literature.

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