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God Is Not a StoryRealism Revisited$
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Francesca Aran Murphy

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199219285

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199219285.001.0001

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From Theodicy to Melodrama

From Theodicy to Melodrama

(p.132) 4 From Theodicy to Melodrama
God Is Not a Story

Francesca Aran Murphy

Oxford University Press

Thomas Aquinas first gave an empirical or inferential argument for the existence of a transcendent God and then dealt with the problem of evil empirically. But if one considers God's existence on a logical or deductive level, the problem of evil will come in pursuit on a logical level, or as the logical concomitant of ‘good’. Because it cannot draw on knowledge of the transcendent reality of God's goodness, modern thought tends to picture good and evil as set in melodramatic confrontation. The ‘Unknowable God’ is easily conflated with his opposite number, Satan. Jenson's narrative theology falls into the trap of melodrama by making evil a necessary feature of reality, existing because of Christ, and grammatical Thomism does so by evading the problem of evil via its agnosticism about our knowledge of God and his goodness. Given that God is not as unknown in Thomas' own theology as in grammatical Thomism, the best way forward is to use our knowledge of God's goodness first to appreciate the value of created reality as such, and second to restate Augustine's merely factual or empirical explanation of evil via the Fall. One may then say that what Job experiences is the love of God.

Keywords:   goodness, tragedy, comedy, fall, Kant, Hegel, Job, irrational, Poetic Justice

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