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Wright, N.T. "God, 9/11, the Tsunami, and the New Problem of Evil." Response, Summer 2005.

Dr Alex Tang

In Jewish mythology, the sea had always been symbolic of darkness and chaos and it comes as no surprise that it became the symbol of the enemies of God. There is no sea in the new heaven and earth. Again it should come as no surprise that the new creation will have no enemies of God. Whether there is literally ‘no sea’ in Revelation 21 will depend on one’s hermeneutics taking into account the symbolism of the book and its genre.

Redefining the problem of evil in terms of American behaviourism; (1)”we ignore evil except when it hits us in the face”, (2) “we are surprised by evil when it does”, and (3) “we react in immature and dangerous ways” did not change the phenomenon of evil in any way. Hence it is not right to call it the “new problem of evil.” It is the same problem and has always been the same.

The author then tried to explain the problem of evil with atonement theology.

J.I.Packer in his 1973 lecture, “The Logic of Penal Substitution: What did the Cross Achieve?”  outlined three sets of theories in which humanity’s problem were identified and then explained how Christ’s death on the cross solved that problem. These theories are (1) Humanity’s main problem is that we are trapped by powerful spiritual forces and Christ’s death is a ransom paid for our freedom( ransom theory or Christus Victor); (2) humanity need to know that God really love us. By sending his son to died on the cross, God showed his love so dramatically that we have no choice but to receive his love (moral-influence theory); and (3) God’s righteous anger towards our sinfulness. Christ bore our sins when he died on the cross so that we become blameless before God (penal-substitution theory). Most Protestants especially evangelicals subscribe to the penal-substitution theory.

From what is written in the article, the author seems to use the ransom or Christus Victor theory to explain the problem of evil. It does explain why evil is so prevalent in the world. However it does implied a weaker God has to pay a ransom in the form of Christ’s death.


|posted 7 June 2006|


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