Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hoenecke on Evil.

I'm done with Hinlicky and back to Adolf Hoenecke, who I was taking a break from. His systematic theology is very interesting. It's much more learned and critical of the 17th century tradition than Pieper's is, though basically the results are the same.

Interesting piece on evil.

Question: Does God will evil?

Before you answer too quickly, consider this: God sustains the evil person while they do the evil act. Furthermore, God eternally foreknew the evil act and didn't prevent it.

So, does God will evil?

Hoenecke has an interesting answer and one I think to be close to Luther's in Bondage of the Will.

Considered as an individual act- that is, in and of itself- God does not will evil. Neither does God somehow cause people to will in evil ways. But God does will a certain providential plan that incorporates the evil act. The evil act is a key aspect of God's plan. So, though does not will evil as an individual act, he wills and allows certain evil actions as part of his larger plan.

What do you all think of this? Is he going too far towards Calvinism?


  1. Maybe I am misunderstanding but I don't see this as Calvinistic. If this is not true then there is no divine providence for how can providence exist if it does not take in to account evil in an evil world. It is with evil that God must providently work His plan since that is the nature of the fallen world in which His plan will unfold.

  2. No, I don't consider it Calvinistic either. I think that Calvinists would agree with though. I think that the major differences between Calvinists and Lutheran on providence are largely a war of words. What is different are the implications that both sides are willing to draw out of a common belief in God's providence. Calvinists come close to drawing the implication that God the author of evil. That is not acceptable, even if, as Luther points out, it is difficult to see how God is not logically the author of evil. Nevertheless, Scripture forbids us saying so.