The Fundamental Law of Opposition: Lehi and Schelling
Element : A Journal of Mormon Philosophy and Theology
Utah Valley University
Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology
In The Theological Foundations of the Mormon Religion, Sterling McMurrin considers what I've called the theorem of Lehi, according to which there must necessarily be an opposition in all things. McMurrin offers up two possible interpretations: First, evil exists to make good possible such that God creates or allows evils to the favor of a greater good. Related to this is that idea that evil is necessary to experience and appreciated the value of good. A second option is that rather than stipulating that the opposition must exist with a purpose in mind, it is content with observing that evil exists as a matter of metaphysical necessity. In this view, God is not responsible for the creation or allowance of evil. In this article, I defend a scheme that combines the first option (a teleology of evil) with a theme that belongs to the second (divine limitation), which guarantees God's innocence. What is excluded is the idea that evil exists as a matter of fact. My purpose is to integrate Lehi's theorem into a dynamic theodicy that utilizes Friedrich Shelling's dialectic philosophy, and to do so without removing it from its Mormon context.