Maryanne J. Kane’s Article for National Catholic Reporter “Why does a loving God permit pain?” – My Response

by Frank L. Jordan III

(Maryanne J. Kane’s article can be found here.)

The question of what God’s role in relation to the painful aspects of life is one of the most vexing in recorded history. Everyone has a theory – some being supported by evidence, others not. My theory is a simple formula:

A) The known Universe derived directly from its source, or God, at the Big Bang.

B) The realities of that early Universe (i.e., the chemical elements, gravity, electromagnetism) HAD to be what they were. God did not just “create” them any way he/she wanted to. They are realities that derived directly from their source and thus share in that source’s reality.

C) The changes that have occured in the Universe since its beginning have been due to a COLLABORATION between God and the measurable realities within the Universe. Evolution is a result of that collaboration.

D) Natural and moral evil is explained as the result of God being in CONTENTION with the realities that derived directly from him/her.

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Jesuitical replied: Interesting reply, but noted is that it is entirely devoid of scientific input. It is an example of arguing from a conclusion and/or a belief not from evidence. This is not to deny a god, or a creator God, but a postulate of science to follow the evidence wherever it might lead. But then, you did say ‘my theory’. Once more, in your case theory is a hunch, an opinion. A scientific theory is considered a fact in science.

My Response: Thank you for your reply, Jesuitical. You are indeed correct that my theory is not the result of scientific proof. I never meant for such a theory to be equated with a scientific theory, such as the theory of relativity or evolution. I think it’s safe to say that few philosophical or theological theories are proven by empirical evidence. When I said that some theories are supported by evidence, some less so, I meant that some theories are more compatible with what science has revealed to us than others.

In the case of my theory, I specifically sought a worldview that would be especially compatible with the post-modern, information age that we find ourselves in. The idea that the source of the known universe, or God, is in contention with the realities of that universe because those realities derive directly from that source and thus share in that source’s reality and power could explain why we experience God the way we do, and why God often appears to be absent from our experience.