Ellen White’s interpretation is that the problem of evil in this world rests squarely on the shoulders of Satan. This theodicy implies that Lucfier, being chief of the angels had the unique honor of having absolute clarity of God’s nature which made for a more heinous offense; in which he shamelessly maneuvered and deceived created beings of the supposed opposite of the truth of God’s love all to campaign for his ultimate superiority over Christ. Ever since his fall, Lucifer has been misleading angels and men on God’s character.
To raise doubts on God’s ultimate goodness is inciting rebellion on the sovereignty of God and therein lies the root of evil. God has given men free will whether to love and to serve him or not. With free will comes opportunity for sin to enter as most Christian beliefs, maintain. Agustinian theodicy emphasizes that free will was misused. From Adam’s mistake came sin, which all men has since then inherited. A merciful yet just God found a way to reconcile the world to Himself through the act of redemption of the cross.
Ellen White’s theodicy strongly aligns with this principle and further lifts up the cross as the banner of Christ’s triumph over Satan. It is where love found its ultimate expression and victory. While White rejects sin as evil and completely apart from God’s plan, she acknowledges that the consequences of evil can still be used for the purposes of God as reflected by Irenaean theodicy. Character formation, spiritual and moral growth specifically finds arable ground in suffering brought about by evil as this particular theodicy imply. Ellen White’s theodicy is compelling but not without equally compelling arguments theologians
and philosophers have raised. One must ask, if God meant to create imperfect or perhaps Critique of Reading 3 spiritually underdeveloped creatures susceptible to Satan’s lies, whatever consequences of sinful action must rest on God and Him alone. As previous discussions come to light, what will be the assurance of the promised eternity of no evil when the past utopian kingdom of God splintered catastrophically? If a loving, logical God restricts Himself in respect to man’s free will, how is this better than intervening to save man’s soul?
Investigation of one’s conviction reflects on man himself and his propensity to hold on to certain beliefs. Job is the oldest book written in the bible and tackles the very heart of the issue at hand. As the book lionizes God’s infallibility in light of undeserved and unsolicited suffering brought about by evil, same questions are asked. In the end we see that while no answers have been given, none are demanded any longer in the awe inspiring presence of God. For many people, it is not so much the problem of evil but the very real problem of pain.
Man cries out to a seemingly silent God, powerful and loving but holy and far removed from a fallen world. Ellen White ventures to lift up the cross as the reference to all who wonder about God’s love and justice. Although there are some points that bear further study with Ellen White’s theodicy in relation to extravagant allusion on personal prophecy, I find her position sound and able to stand with one leg on doctrinal reliability as afforded by scriptures, and the other leg on straightforward logic. The problem of evil is almost as old as the world itself but it is as relevant as ever.
There will always be outstanding questions that perhaps none can fully answer. It is in experiential, personal life testimonies that the subject is more than a discussion of theologies, it becomes truth lived out. Critique of Reading 4 References White, E. G. (1940). The Desire of Ages. California: Pacific Press Publishing Association. White, E. G. (1939). The Great Controversy. California: Pacific Press Publishing Association. White, E. G. (1989). Patriarchs and Prophets. California: Pacific Press Publishing Association.