Thanks Sean and Jimmy,
My interpretation of what I heard in the lecture may certainly be off. And remember this is about framing a discussion with someone who likely A)considers evil/suffering as evidence that God does not exist, and/or B) if God exists, he cannot possibly be good. The non-id theodicy seems to mainly address “B.”
But this jist of the lecture seemed to be that God’s love for you (the unique individual) is so immense, that loving you in the midst of a world where evil and suffering exist, was the more loving choice than doing a reset where “you” would not exist–it would be an entirely different humankind.
Now if I’m presenting that argument in a discussion, how do I respond if asked?
Why couldn’t an all-powerful God remove evil and suffering from the world without wiping out me and all my familial lineage? When I was a kid my Grandmother took me to Sunday School and they told me that God planned me before the world ever came into existence…if God exists and I go back that far, then why is it impossible to alter creation without wiping all planned humans out of existence? Why must it be a different set of people?
The theodicy as presented was very centered on showing God’s love for the person, and I think it goes a long way in expressing that love. I think it illustrates to the questioner the tremendous value God places on their life, that their existence and the love He had for them more than outweighed any hardship their life may have, and they have the promise of eternal life with God if they accept that love.
Of course my prayer would be that the questioner begins to feel that love and soften. But I’m used to the skeptic trying to poke holes in the logic–had lots of practice with my Dad. So where I see my “starting point” in the story of creation and mankind seems to be very significant. That’s what I’m trying to work out.
Perhaps this struck me because I had just recently re-read the first week of “days” in the Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Here are excerpts from Day 2 / You Are Not an Accident:
Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. He thought of you first. It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you! The Bible says, “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me.”
God prescribed every single detail of your body. He deliberately chose your race, the color of your skin, your hair, and every other feature. He custom-made your body just the way he wanted it. He also determined the natural talents you would possess and the uniqueness of your personality. The Bible says, “You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.”
God’s motive for creating you was his love. The Bible says, "Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love."
God was thinking of you even before he made the world. In fact, that’s why he created it! God designed this planet’s environment just so we could live in it. We are the focus of his love and the most valuable of all his creation. The Bible says, “God decided to give us life through the word of truth so we might be the most important of all the things he made.” This is how much God loves and values you!
If God can do all of that…why would it not be possible, assuming God chose to do so, to create a modified world where the same persons came into being.
I do get the philosophical argument. But is the theodicy considering God’s all-powerful capacity? If this is where my feeble, non-philosophical brain immediately went, then what about the astute, logical, intellectual questioner?