Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Monday, January 03, 2005  

From the Gospel of John Mark

A number of articles have been written about God's impassiveness in the face of suffering and evil, which apparently means that God is an evil being if he exists. I don't much find most arguments on theodicy convincing to skeptics. Free will as a reason falls apart when it isn't man harming man but nature destroying multitudes. The further argument that the Fall of Man caused us to have a fallen world of suffering, death, and accidents cannot account for death existing before humans ever arrived on the planet.

The problem is that we cannot see the world through God's eyes. His impassivity is not indifference, and he often acts miraculously (which thus tends to make him appear capricious), but God does not regret creating life anymore he can regret existing as himself. This is how he makes souls and it is all good to him, while at the same time he is entirely sympathetic to the suffering and tears of his children.

So here is my homily on the matter.

Jesus and the Skeptical Greek

Jesus was teaching one afternoon in Capernaum on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. A Greek merchant from Sepphoris who was there to buy dried fish, listened to Jesus as he spoke of the Kingdom of God and the goodness of his Father in Heaven.

“How can you say God is good?” said the Greek. “Last year when I was in Lydia there was an earthquake. Many people died. Life is not good. The God who kills people like this cannot be good.”

A Jew who was listening and looking for a way to trap Jesus spoke out, “Rabbi, the Greek is right. Even Isaiah says God said to him, ‘Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?’ God is the author of good and ill. Moses says God said, ‘I bless whom I bless and I curse whom I curse.’ But what did a little child do that God should crush his body. Why should God curse a nursing babe? If you know God as you say you do, tell us why he curses so many?”

Jesus listened carefully to what those men said, and replied, “You do not know God. His ways are not your ways, but I will ask you a few questions. Tell me, when a child falls down and scrapes his knee and cries, does his father beat his breast and cry out - Oh what a terrible man I am, for I have given life to this son of mine, and how he suffers for it! Because I have made this child who is born to grief and death, I am not good and I hate myself. Does a father do this? Of course not. He rushes to his child and comforts him, binds his wounds, and encourages him to endure what cannot be helped.”

“It is true that a man may despair and wish he was never born, but does his father or mother who loves him, do they wish their son was never born, and that they are evil for having made him?”

“Nor does the farther whose son has skinned his knee or broken an arm tell his son, ‘better I had not made you’. No, he says, ‘these pains will pass and you will have days of goodness and joy, but you cannot yet see them before you. Have faith and you shall see them.’”

“You Father is Good and he shall redeem you, for he does not hate that he made you, nor repent that you suffer, but shall console you. Who else may you turn to? There is only your Father in heaven and his spirit on earth, and the Messiah who can help you. Have faith, and your reward shall be great.”

posted by Mark Butterworth | 1:39 PM |