Spoiler alert – if you don’t want to know what happens, don’t read this article.
Theodicy is the idea of finding a way to vindicate God in the midst of horrendous pain and suffering in His creation.
The movie opens up to a scene of suffering. Gorr’s daughter is dying in the desert. Upon her death Gorr finds himself entering into an oasis where he finds the god he has devoted his life to. Gorr finds out that this God cares nothing for him or his daughter. He finds out that his prayers have been meaningless…that the god(s) never intended on helping anyone but themselves.
He finds himself on a mission to slay the gods…to punish them for their misdeeds. This would be justice for gods who behave like this.
As silly as parts of the movie are, it is actually a very serious movie on the nature of God and the problem of suffering. If God is a good God then why does he allow so much pain and suffering?
Thor comes to the point of having to make a decision…either continue giving his time and attention to the “god butcher” Gorr or give his time and attention to dying Jane. Thorr (who is a god in the story) chooses love. Thor goes first in giving up on defending himself in order to show love to Jane. In doing so he unravels Gorr’s plan. In a poignant scene at the end of the movie Gorr asks why he would want (with his one wish) to bring his daughter back into a world like this…where the gods are malevolent and vindictive.
Through the experience of seeing Thor (a god) put himself last and put others first, Gorr makes a similar decision and ends his mission to kill the gods…bringing back his daughter instead even though it cost Gorr his life.
We know our God is not malevolent. Our God has also chosen love. In doing so God has allowed choice which means we can choose to cause a great deal of suffering. Love is not love unless there are competing options that can be freely chosen. The amazing thing about our God is that he has led the way when it comes to self-sacrifice and humility in what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. Our God hears our prayers. Our God cares about the outcome. And our God is not afraid to die…because he did and came back again!
The problem with Gorr’s god is not a problem with the real God…our God is faithful even when it costs him everything.
It’s hard to live a life of greater character than the vision you have of who God is.