It’s telling that Dostoyevsky, himself a Christian, offered no direct theological rebuttal to his character’s speech. The counterpoint to Ivan in “The Brothers Karamazov” is supplied by other characters’ examples of Christian love transcending suffering, not by a rhetorical justification of God’s goodness.
In this, the Russian novelist was being true to the spirit of the New Testament, which likewise seeks to establish God’s goodness through a narrative rather than an argument, a revelation of his solidarity with human struggle rather than a philosophical proof of his benevolence.
In his New York Times Op-Ed piece titled Loss of the Innocents, Ross Douthat contributes to the voices attempting to make sense of the senseless in Newtown, Connecticut. Douthat plums the depths of evil, despair and the dissonance of our souls – and helps us find meaning there. Read his article here.