Skip to main content

Where Human and Divine Intimacy Meet: an Insight into the Theodicy of Marilyn McCord Adams

Abstract

Marilyn McCord Adams’s perspective on the intimacy with God as a way of defeating horrendous evils in the course of a human being’s existence has been met with a series of objections in contemporary scholarship. This is due to the fact that the critiques formulated have focused more on the debilitating impact of suffering on the sufferer’s body and mind, on intimacy as mere intermittent relationships between God and humans, or on what is lost or gained from the presence or absence of this intimacy with the divine being. Focusing on Adams’s appeal to esthetic arguments in theodicy and on her reflection on practical issues in theology, the article presents Adams’s perspective on intimacy as a relation initiated objectively by God at the creation and at Christ’s incarnation and continued subjectively throughout history by both God and every human being. Given its combining of objective and subjective features, this kind of intimacy is not to be understood as an exclusively private relationship of each individual with God, but rather as a process of communal advancing in rehabilitation and mutual healing that is initiated in the antemortem career and fulfilled in the post-mortem existence.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Adams, M. M. C. (1975). Hell and the God of justice. Religious Studies, 11(4), 433–447.

  2. Adams, M. M. C. (1988). Theodicy without blame. Philosophical Topics, 16(2 (Fall)), 215–245.

  3. Adams, M. M. C. (1990). Horrendous evils and the goodness of God. In M. M. C. Adams & R. M. Adams (Eds.), The problem of evil (pp. 209–221). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  4. Adams, M. M. C. (1991). Sin as uncleanness. Philosophical Perspectives, 5(Philosophy of Religion), 1–27.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Adams, M. M. C. (1993). Aesthetic goodness as a solution to the problem of evil. In A. Sharma (Ed.), God, Truth, and Reality: Essays in Honor of John Hick (pp. 46–61). London: The Macmillan press; New York: St. Martin’s Press.

  6. Adams, M. M. C. (1994). Love of learning, reality of God. In T. V. Morris (Ed.), God and the philosophers: The reconciliation of faith and reason (pp. 137–161). New York: Oxford University Press.

  7. Adams, M. M. C. (1999). Horrendous evils and the goodness of God. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

  8. Adams, M. M. C. (2006). Christ and horrors: The coherence of Christology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  9. Adams, M. M. C. (2008). Shaking the foundations: LGBT bishops and blessings in the fullness of time. Anglican Theological Review, 90(4).

  10. Adams, M. M. C. (2013). Ignorance, instrumentality, compensation, and the problem of evil. SOPHIA, 52, 7–26.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Adams, M. M. C. (2014). Eucharistic Drama: Rehearsal for a revolution. In W. V. Lugt & T. Hart (Eds.), Theatrical theology: Explorations in performing the faith (pp. 203–223). Cambridge: The Lutterworth Press.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Adams, M. M. C. (2016). Prayer as the ‘Lifeline of theology’. Anglican Theological Review, 98(2).

  13. Chignell, A. (1998). The problem of infant suffering. Religious Studies, 34(2), 205–217.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Earl, D. (2011). Divine intimacy and the problem of horrendous evil. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 69(1 (Feb.)), 17–28.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Gleeson, A. (2015). On letting go of theodicy: Marilyn McCord Adams on God and evil. SOPHIA, 54, 1–12.

  16. Saberin, Z. (2018). Eight-month-old baby raped in Indian capital Delhi. Al Jazeera 30 January. Retrieved: 20 September 2018. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/month-baby-raped-indian-capital-delhi-180130074258827.html.

  17. Tallon, P. (2012). The poetics of evil: Toward an aesthetic theodicy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ionut Untea.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Untea, I. Where Human and Divine Intimacy Meet: an Insight into the Theodicy of Marilyn McCord Adams. SOPHIA 59, 525–547 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11841-019-00745-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Theodicy
  • Esthetics
  • Intimacy
  • Vantage point
  • Antemortem career
  • Post-mortem existence