Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, Theological Studies PhD

First Advisor

Miroslav M. Kis

Second Advisor

Denis Fortin

Third Advisor

Martin F. Hanna

Abstract

The problem of evil has been an issue for all religions over the centuries. But it is a crucial issue for theism because of its affirmation of the co-existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God and evil. Theologians and philosophical theologians have developed a plethora of materials in response to the problem. However, according to critics, none of the responses in and of themselves adequately deals with theism's problem of suffering and evil. As a result, this study explores the warfare theodicy, a Christian response to the problem of sin, suffering, and evil, which seems to have been neglected by scholars for a long time. The study focuses on the writings of Ellen G. White and Gregory A. Boyd, the two foremost detailed and exhaustive presenters of the warfare theodicy in the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries respectively. The goal is to assess the relationship between the two models of warfare theodicy and the plausibility of the warfare theodicy as a Christian response to the problem of suffering and evil.

The approach to this study is descriptive, analytical, comparative, and evaluative. Chapter 1 provides a survey of the historical background for the problem of evil and introduces the problem, the purpose, and the methodology of the study. Chapter 2 describes three major Christian approaches to the problem of evil and scholarly critiques of these approaches, while chapters 3 and 4 analytically describe Boyd's and White's models of warfare theodicy, respectively. The first section of chapter 5 compares and contrasts the two models of warfare theodicy and the second section evaluates them. Chapter 6 summarizes the findings of the study and then answers the questions concerning the relationship between the two models of the warfare theodicy and their plausibility as a Christian response to the problem of evil.

The study shows that the differing outlook of the authors' use of science in theology leads to divergence in the two models of warfare theodicy. Therefore, to the question of the relationship between the two models, the study concludes that they may be related, but given the degree of their differences they are two distinctive warfare theodicies. Concerning the question of the viability of the warfare theodicy, the study concludes that although both models of the warfare theodicy leave some philosophical questions unanswered, the Great Controversy Theodicy is a more satisfactory Christian response to the problem of suffering and evil, and, the Trinitarian Warfare Theodicy is a less satisfactory Christian response to the problem of evil.

Subject Area

Theodicy, Good and evil--Religious aspects, Suffering--Religious aspects--Christianity, White, Ellen Gould Harmon, 1827-1915--Views on theodicy, Boyd, Gregory A, 1957- --Views on theodicy