Theodicy refers to answering the problem of evil. The term was first coined by the philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz to describe how the existence of evil in the world does not conflict with the supposedly essential goodness of God. Christian apologists spend an inordinate amount of time addressing this issue because the tremendous amount of suffering in the world naturally causes one to ponder why an all-loving god would allow it. The purpose of this essay is not to describe the intellectual gymnastics performed by theologians who attempt to explain why, for example, their god would allow a tsunami to snatch a newborn child from the arms of his or her mother. The purpose of this essay is simply to explain how one man finally came to see the light.
It was 7 a.m. on July 28, 2008. The dawn light had just begun to stream into our tent as my then seven-year-old daughter and I began to rouse at the base of Whistler’s Mountain near Jasper, Alberta, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. It was the kind of morning when you take a deep breath, stare up at the clear sky, and marvel at the beautiful world we live in. It was also, in retrospect, not a bad day to die if you had to pick one.