(Slightly edited version)
I think everyone wonders about the nature of God sometimes. How could a good God allow so much hurt to happen, especially to the innocent?
That question is why I started my first blog, Job’s Tale. The book of Job is about a man who has the most horrific things happen, and he did nothing, absolutely nothing, to deserve them.
So, how could a good God...
How is it that my wife and I were denied children, though we ached for them, prayed for them, we were not going to get them, unless we adopted.
Our first child was born on Brenda’s birthday and taken home the second day of his life. He went to sleep at 10:30 the morning of December 15th, 1992, and drifted off into eternity. No accident. No disease. No poison or storm or pool of water, he went to sleep and I sat a few feet away as he whimpered to be picked up, and never awoke again.
How could a good God...
Brenda has had trauma. Evil crept toward her, touched her, hurt her.
How could a good God...
Setting aside the specifics of poor Job, of my own sorrows, let’s look at the big picture.
First, we can’t really talk about God. Words themselves are symbols of things and can never reflect the full truth of what they describe. But beyond that, we cannot truly describe a being that is so beyond us. We are tiny souls trapped in mortal bodies, scratching about in four dimensions. How can we describe an eternal being, one in three separate yet completely unified beings, existing in at least a dozen dimensions, and holding the universe itself, from beginning to end, the way we might hold a paper weight?
So, having said we can’t really talk about God, let’s talk about God.
My mom wished to me once that “they” could invent a macrowave that beamed coolness at food as a microwave beams heat. I explained to her microwaves are really a form of energy, a type of light, and that the box on her kitchen counter just pumps energy in. There isn’t any such thing as pumping in cold. Cold is the absence of heat, the lessening of energy, not a force in itself. There isn’t any place in the universe that is truly, purely, cold, what we term absolute zero, or 0 Kelvin. It is theoretical, it does not exist in the universe. All matter contains some energy, even if it is only the packet of photons trapped within the energy shell of a single electron.
God is like heat. He pumps His energy into the universe. We can shield ourselves from that energy, run away from God, choose our own paths that lead as far from Him as we can get, like a man hiding on the dark side of the moon.
It isn’t easy to avoid His power. He is everywhere. Even Hitler saw rainbows, Idi Amin breathed fresh air.
Light is another good metaphor for Him (though heat and light really are much the same thing).
Light pours over all the Earth. There may be deep caves one could find that would not have the light which streams upon us, but we would have to seek them out. I suppose evil does that. Evil seeks darkness, shields itself from beauty and joy and love.
Caves are a good metaphor in that they are natural parts of the world. Like caves, there is suffering that happens through nature. The shrug of tectonic plates sometimes flings water which might wash away villages and islands. A week spot in the mantle, gnawed from below for millenia, suddenly opens up and spews ash and molten rock onto a surface teeming with life. It is hurtful for us, it causes much sorrow. There is a price paid for living and for some it seems more than what is fair.
(My mind turns to that infant of mine, his blue face reflected in my panicked eyes...)
But because there is sorrow, because there is evil, this does not mean God is cruel.
We cannot fully understand His relationship with Himself... Creator, Comforter, eternally mortal carpenter, a single being and a community, sharing, giving, sacrificing, creating, comforting, binding all things together, gathering... we cannot fully understand this sort of love.
We understand it was great enough for Him to create powerful beings to share in His love: cherubim, seraphim, powers and dominions. We understand that He wanted to share His love even further, opening His heart, His eternity, to creatures who sweat and consume and breathe and die carrying tiny eternal souls in mortal, suffering bodies.
We understand He loves enough to set us free from returning that love. He has cut the puppet strings and let us totter about on shaky legs, so we can stand and watch Him in wonder if we choose, or stagger away into the dark caves of our hearts.
And that is where evil comes into the world. In order to permit us the freedom to choose to look back at Him, to offer our wayward hearts, He permits the freedom for us to run from the light, to crawl into darkness, into the cold, and put the distance of our sins between He (them) and us.
It is hurtful.
It is evil.
But it is not God’s. It is ours.
Even so, even as painful as life can be, it doesn’t last very long. A hundred years at most. An infinitely tiny fragment in the infinitely long existence of eternity.