Theodicy is the attempted articulation of a god who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and benevolent and is usually seen in the form of a response to the problem of evil. Some responses include the arguments that true free will cannot exist without the possibility of evil, that humans cannot understand God, that suffering is necessary for spiritual growth or evil is the consequence of a fallen world. Others contend that God is not wholly benevolent.
Another common response is that justice is dealt out posthumously. Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) had a nice reply to this last line of reasoning. Although characteristically convoluted and sometimes hard to discern, Russell had a lot of profound things to say on a lot of topics. I’m sure I will post more of his stuff later. For now, Russell’s reply to the afterlife theodicy:
“If you looked at the matter from a scientific point of view, you would say, ‘After all, I only know this world. I do not know about the rest of the universe, but so far as one can argue at all on probabilities one would say that probably this world is a fair sample, and if there is injustice here then the odds are that there is injustice elsewhere also.’ Supposing you got a crate of oranges that you opened, and you found all the top layer of oranges bad, you would not argue: ‘The underneath ones must be good, so as to redress the balance.’ You would say: ‘Probably the whole lot is a bad consignment;’ and that is really what a scientific person would argue about the universe. He would say: ‘Here we find in this world a great deal of injustice, and so far as that goes that is a reason for supposing that justice does not rule in the world; and therefore so far as it goes it affords a moral argument against deity and not in favor of one.’”