Friday, May 11, 2007

Theodicy and delight - some reflections

From my list of psalm snippets in my first post on theodicy and faith, I derive the following characteristics of the LORD, God of the Psalmists.

Capable both of delight and of not taking delight. Psalm 147 is the most obvious - the LORD does not delight in the strength of your legs as if you were a horse, but does delight in those that fear him and in his people.

Psalm --5 also expresses what God does not take delight in. In Psalm -16, we find a confidence and hope even for 'the flesh' of the poet. This should warn us against too quick a conclusion on some things when we have said to God (Elohim even in this early psalm), 'I trust you'.

Psalm -51 , among the most famous, the classic of Ash Wednesday, the triumph of Allegri, again stresses both what God delights in and what is not God's delight - note again it is the delight of Elohim (no YHWH in this psalm).

Psalm 115 (and 135) says simply that God does what pleases him!

If we are displeased - nonetheless, God does (according to the psalms) what God pleases. Is God then good? That is not definable. What we read in the Psalms is that the psalmist expresses trust in God. It seems an act of will rather than anything else. It seems to have been rewarded and if not, there is always the lament such as Psalm -89.

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