Theodicy of Mystery: A Dostoyevskian Approach


In the most recent video on my youtube channel, which you can find (here), I discuss a lesser known theodicy, that of mystery. Instead of appealing to an explanation for why there is evil, it actually appeals to the often lack of an explanation of the evil. In this video, and this summary, I will discuss the nature of the theodicy and why it is one of my personal favourites.

What it is:

The Dostoyevskian theodicy can be summarised as follows:

  1. God is good
  2. Understanding some of the evil is impossible
  3. If God is good and we, as finite human beings, cannot expect to understand some evil, we should trust in God instead of the evil.

Why I like it:

This is a simple yet powerful response to the problem of evil (evidently I discuss this in more depth in the video). However, let us think about these three simple premises for a moment. I believe that they are rather easy to defend. All of them are supported by the scriptures (Job and Daniel) and are also key elements of Christian belief.

Furthermore, it demonstrates that the problem of evil is an appeal to ignorance. Instead of arguing from evil as a feature that we have full understanding of, we see evil as something which we barely understand. If so, how can one possibly argue from something we barely understand to a conclusion that God cannot exist? Doing so would be paramountly fallacious.

In conclusion:

We can see that this Dostoyevskian theodicy is very powerful and reasonable, given this theodicy, we ought to strengthen our relationship with Christ and admit, humbly, that we cannot understand all things. It is via this submission to our God that our lives become much more fulfilled and satisfied (I can tell you this from personal experience). I hope that you’ve enjoyed this brief summary and if you want to learn more about the topic, feel free to check out my video, where I also discuss:

  1. Why is it Dostoyevskian?
  2. What are its Biblical groundings?
  3. A deeper understanding and discussion about the problem.

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