The theodicy of Peter Taylor Forsyth: a "crucial" justification of the ways of God to man
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This study seeks to describe the theodicy of Scottish theologian Peter Taylor Forsyth. We begin by making some preliminary comments concerning Forsyth’s conception of reality and his understanding of evil. We then examine Forsyth’s methodology of the theologia crucis, which he utilises in his justification of God. Forsyth sees a crucial event taking place at the Cross, “the self-justification of God”, one which constitutes the basis for all human attempts to justify God. We explore his multi-faceted understanding of this event, and how it leads to two outcomes which form the main thrusts of his theodicy. In Chapters 3 and 4, we look at the first such outcome, which is that God moves the world inexorably towards his glorious telos. We also consider here the significance of this first outcome for Forsyth’s theodicy, which is that it imparts to this theodicy a strongly teleological and historical nature. In Chapters 5 and 6, we consider the second outcome of God’s self-justification. This is the revelation that God suffered incomparably in the event of the Cross. We draw out two major implications of this for Forsyth’s theodicy, based upon the idea that God is the chief sufferer and giver in our battle against sin, and the possibility that Christ might serve as our model of faith in times of suffering. We turn, in our final two chapters, to examine Forsyth’s view on the origin of both sin and suffering, his understanding of the God-world relationship, and the significance of these for his theodicy. We conclude that Forsyth’s justification of God constitutes a robust and comprehensive response to the problem of evil, possibly rendering a valuable service to the task of Christian theodicy through its ability to integrate insights from what has hitherto been considered different approaches to the issue.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: Electronic version restricted until 11th June 2019
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations
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