For those of you who have seen the Thin Red Line, Sean Pean’s character typifies modern man’s struggle to grasp meaning in the face of evil & suffering. What and how, can man resolve the chaos that evil brings to life? And even more than that, to what end is evil being allowed within the world from a Divine point of view.
All these questions have been wrestled with in the history of literature, of more recently, cinema. Without ranting any more, let me introduce Matthew Becklo’s A Cinematic Tour of the Problem of Evil, in which he goes through a variety of movies that wrestle with this very theme.
“This problem – known to philosophers as “the problem of evil” – is as old as the book of Job. Many theologians and artists, from Augustine and Aquinas to Dostoevsky and Thornton Wilder, have grappled with this fundamental question. In fact, we can survey the theological problem, its emotional gravity, and its strongest resolutions by looking at a handful of excellent films.
Oxford mathematician and philosopher John Lennox has often emphasized two very important things about this classical problem from the outset. I’ll follow his lead here.
First, we have to first acknowledge that there is both an intellectual and emotional component to the problem. Secondly, both components amount to one of the best (if not the best) arguments against God that there is – and believers need to be humble enough to admit it.
With those preliminaries in mind, let’s take a look at seven films that wrestle with this problem: The Virgin Spring, Hannah and Her Sisters, Crimes and Misdemeanors, The Seventh Seal, Signs, The Tree of Life, and Shadowlands:”