The problem with theodicy

Atwood stated on Pontificators blog:
Daniel, I think it is true that there IS a difference between Lutheran and Catholic views of theodicy/freedom of the will. (If there isn’t a difference how can we be heretics?)

I will say yes, while I agree that there are some differences and some are better than others, I think both of them get swallowed up in the end in determinism–which is why it is absolutely impossible for Roman Catholic theology to be semi-Pelagian. What I see as the differences between them is analogous to the differences between Augustine and Origen. While the former is content in having a certain amount of tension involved in his doctrine at the price of remaining orthodox, the latter carries his implications out to their end (at least as a speculative possibility). Likewise, Rome embraces a form of synergism in respect to the acquisition of justice and to a certain degree, remaining just. But it is still underpinned by monergism for those elect persons to be not only infallibly but to INEVITABLY be elected to glory. In other words, it doesn’t really matter much how they got there whether it be formal, final, or efficient differences if man’s acts end up being inevitable. Determinism is determinism is determinism.

This can demonstrated whether we’re talking about Augustinianism, Molinism, Scotism, Thomism, Lutheranism, or Calvinism. All of them, in the end, have to deny man libertarian freedom to keep man stable–even if the former 4 are more ammenable.

This cashing out of salvation is a symptom of the idea of thinking of a person as a relation, and yes this goes back to the Trinity. If a person is just an internal relation of an essence and subsequently reducible to that essence, determinism is going to crop up some where down the line whether it be in one’s Triadology, Christology, Soteriology, or Eschatology no matter how much nuance one does in one of these theological categories. Origen has his determinism from the top, which is why movement of ‘the One’ involves kinesis resulting in genesis of preexistent souls into bodies, their kinesis and ‘travel’ back to ‘the One’ resulting in stasis, and then they self-diffuse again (sin in the eschaton), and the cycle repeats itself. Origen has the strongest view of predestination and of the apokatastasis one could have and he is consistent with the doctrine of God being absolutely simple in my opinion. This is why if you solve the problem at its root, you don’t have to mitigate it elsewhere and have the problem creep up again. This is also why sola fide was not only absent in Athanasius, the Cappadocians, Cyril, Maximus, et al, it’s not even logically possible. It all goes right back to Triadological and Christological problems.

Daniel Jones

One Response to The problem with theodicy

  1. Atwood says:

    Daniel:
    I think you’re going to have to find some other dialogue partner. I simply could not make head or tail of what you are saying. I am not trained in either philosophy or Greek patristic thought.

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