Volume 46, Issue 2, Fall/Winter 2017
Brian Claude Macallan
Cancer, Theodicy, and Theology
A Personal Reflection
Theodicy wrestles with suffering and pain, while seeking to understand God's engagement with these realities. Cancer raises similar questions, while focusing on specific aspects of those questions. Cancer appears to challenge many aspects of Christian doctrine, in particular issues regarding the origin of sin, Christology, and ultimately ones doctrine of God. This article explores how my own personal diagnosis of colon cancer has led to an exploration and re-evaluation of these traditional doctrines and their relevance for my own faith journey. The realities of cancer, and random cell mutation as an evolutionary driver, appear to call into question traditional understandings of the origin of suffering and sin, and, I would argue, the very role of Jesus. A process theology that redefines core features of the nature of God is proposed as one way of addressing these doctrines and their impact for faith. These features will note the limited nature of God with regard to power and knowledge as well as the nature of a God who truly risks.