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A Mormon Theodicy: Jacob and the Problem of Evil

TitleA Mormon Theodicy: Jacob and the Problem of Evil
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsLarsen, Val
JournalInterpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture
KeywordsAllegory of the Olive Tree; Jacob (Son of Lehi); Patriarchal Blessing; Politics; Theodicy

Lehi’s son Jacob was troubled by a great theological mystery of his and our day — the problem of evil. If God is both all good and all-powerful, how is it possible for the world to be so full of human and natural evils? Jacob was able to elicit from the Lord responses to the question of why He permits evil to flourish in this world. The Lord elucidates the perennial problem of evil for Jacob and us in three distinct genres and at three different levels of abstraction: at a metaphysical level in a philosophical patriarchal blessing, at a concrete level in the history of the emerging Nephite political economy, and in the Allegory of the Olive Tree.