God, Evil and Possibility (Kantzer Lectures) (Blocher, 2015)

Speaking on the subject, “God, Evil, and Possibility” over the course of a week, Blocher addressed the persistence of the category of possibility in responses to the problem of evil. He gave the example of the popular evangelical theodicy that, in order to create persons who would love him freely, God had to create them with free will, that is, the possibility of sinning, and thus risk their self-alienation from him. Blocher objected to the suggestion that evil could be such a metaphysical possibility, as if God were the author of evil itself by creating the possibility of it. “I deny that there is anything about metaphysical evil in the Bible,” he insisted. “Creation is good.” But he claimed the solution to this conceptual issue was not to reject the argument but to refine the definitions of “the possible.”

Blocher’s major contribution in these lectures was this differentiation of kinds of possibility. He argued that we should not think of evil in the pre-fallen state as a “real” possibility, that is, as something God built into the created order. Rather, we need only posit evil as a logical possibility, the simple negation of the divine command. Only the human commission of evil creates it as a real possibility.

Another argument, potentially controversial, concerned the question of possibility for God, especially whether it was possible for God to create a world that did not entail evil. Rather than attempt an philosophical response, Blocher appealed to 1 Corinthians 13:12, the best translation of which he said was that we see now “in an enigma” (see DLNT). He argued that the mind’s inability to penetrate some mysteries was precisely the hallmark of evil, that it corrupts our organ of understanding.

Lecture 1: Introduction: Evil possible—a misleading facility
Lecture 2: Exploring the quasi concept and the area of evil
Lecture 3: Thinkers on ‘possibility’
Lecture 4: ‘Possibility’ in biblical perspective
Lecture 5: Was evil ‘possible” before it arose?
Lecture 6: Possibility and Salvation