Original Research

The problem of theodicy and the theology of the cross

N. Vorster
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 41, No 2 | a302 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v41i2.302 | © 2007 N. Vorster | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 July 2007 | Published: 27 July 2007

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N. Vorster, School for Ecclesiastical Sciences, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa

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Theodicy is the attempt to justify God’s righteousness and goodness amidst the experience of evil and suffering in the world. This article discusses Karl Barth’s Christological and Jürgen Moltmann’s eschatological approach to the problem of theodicy. The central theoretical argument is that the problem of theodicy poses a major hermeneutical challenge to Christianity that needs to be addressed, since it has implications for the way in which theology defines itself. Questions that arise are: What are the boundaries of theology? What are the grounds on which the question of theodicy must be asked? Is the Christian understanding of God’s omnipotence truly Scriptural? The modern formulation of theodicy finds its origin in the Enlighten- ment that approaches the problem from a theoretical framework based on human experience. This theoretical approach leads, however, to further logical inconsistencies. Theology must rather approach the problem in the same way as Scripture does, by taking the cross, resurrection and parousia of Christ as point of departure. The cross and resurrection are a sign that suffering is not part of God’s plan and at the same time an affirmation of God’s victory over suffering and evil.


Barth; Moltmann; Suffering; Theodicy


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