Theological ideas about the origin of evil

This is a short teaching session Jon the freelance theologian was asked to do on the subject of evil. Instead of addressing the standard ‘Problem of Evil’ as classically stated, this was a study of some theological ideas about the absolute origin of evil in a world created that Christian theology would claim was created as ‘good’ by a good God.

There were six theological ideas put forward:

  • Evil originates in God and is misunderstood.
  • Evil occurs when God ‘withdraws’ from a place.
  • Evil is entropy/chaos seeking to reassert itself in a world that has been placed in order by God.
  • Evil is the ‘no’ inherent in the ‘yes’ of God’s creative act. It is the ‘nothingness’ that exists apart from God.
  • ‘Evil’ is down to natural probability.
  • ‘Evil’ is a force in the world that springs from our collective psychic experience – interiority.

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Kenotic theology (kenosis) and Jesus Christ

Question 161, from Patricia

What are the things that those who believe in Kenosis actually believe in? Do they believe that Jesus had a “veil” that concealed his divine powers while his incarnation on earth or do they believe that he actually “emptied himself” of all divine powers?

‘Kenosis’ is a term based on the Greek word ‘keno-oo’ used in Philippians chapter 2, verse 7, to describe Jesus Christ. Often translated as ‘Jesus humbled himself’ it literally means ‘to empty’ and has been interpreted as implying a shedding of divine powers by the pre-existent Jesus during the incarnation. (more…)