A Theodicy

A Theodicy

 

Why do bad things happen to good people in a world created by a good God?  Ever since atheists and agnostics have been arguing against the truth of the Gospel and saying that the evidence in favor of its validity is not sufficient to warrant one’s committing to the Christ, this has been by far the greatest concern they have been able to raise. Related questions include, “Why are there so many terrible things in the world, like animal-eating plants, various disease-causing agents, other grotesque predators, tsunamis, famine, starvation, and on and on?” Such concerns have probably led more people away from the Christ than have all other objections to Christianity put together. If this question can be adequately answered, critics of the Biblical God will have little to say in debate.

 

In addition, the ball is in the court of the non-believer to show that he or she has sufficient grounds on which to posit the question. The profound and manifold evidence that favors the existence of God has very nearly proved that HE IS.1 The one hundred twenty-five fine tunings that Hugh Ross2 has found can only represent the  monumental planning and purpose of a monumental God, unless one is prepared to accept an alternate possibility that is quite difficult to imagine as valid.

 

This is the Anthropic Principle, which makes the claim that the issue is moot because, if we did not happen to be, by chance, in the universe with all the fine tunings, we would not be alive. It is a weak argument; Stephen Hawking, for example, puts little stock in it. The fine-tunings are valid; just one of them was enough to make Sir Fred Hoyle3 a theist, and he was not about to change his orientation concerning deity without good reason. It is incumbent upon non-believers to prove their case.

 

Ross has compiled about one hundred twenty-five settings of cosmological, physical, chemical, and biological nature in our world that are extremely precise and which are necessary if there is to be life on our planet. The logical conclusion is that our world is one of design by an Intellect of enormous magnitude, and the Anthropic Principle seems far less plausible and credible than He does. Atheists can base their primary argument on nothing other than their opinions that thoughts of Deity are irrational, and this defense of their belief flies in the face of the vast majority of humans of historic times and before, including the intellectuals of these eras. In taking a stance of an unwarranted assumption of superiority, their story is that theism is ridiculous on the face of it. Evil can initiate nothing because it is not compelling and because its energy is directed in the opposite direction from creativity and progress. After all, says the non-believer, everyone knows that science has disproved the supernatural. Yet, no one knows any such thing.

 

 

The Goodness of Jesus

 

If Jesus is not God, he is the all-time champion confidence man, since even the non-believers among historians admit that He is unopposed as the greatest influence on western culture during the past two thousand years. As we assess the validity of prophets by noting how dependable their predictions are, we can best assess the validity of a teacher by noting the long-term effects of what he or she taught. Jesus’ credentials in this respect cannot be matched by any other person who ever lived, and the tremendous extent to which He enhanced human morality cannot be denied. Therefore, if He is God, as Christians believe, God must be quite good. Additionally, as Jesus is the anointed One of the God of the Bible, He of the Bible must be the true God.

 

 

The Question Per Se

Before beginning a theodicy in earnest, let us make sure that we look in adequate detail at the question to be answered.  I am in fact going to begin with the first word. “Why” is fair enough, and the next word of note is “bad.” “Good” and “bad” are absolute; if they were relative, I could just say that what is good for me may be bad for you and vice versa, and we would be left with no difference of opinion to discuss. However, alas, that is not to be. Besides, it is not the theist but the atheist who generally believes in relative truth.

 

In either case, however, when something happens to you or me, we cannot, at that moment, know whether it is good or bad. We may be sure that it at least has aspects that are not pleasant, but, with regard to long-term effects, only God will know the effects it is going to have. God knows. Something miserable may later be more than balanced out by something happy that would not have happened had it not been for the original tragedy. I have had the experience, committed the folly, or exhibited the wisdom (Take your choice or insert your own opinion here.) of telling the parents of a deceased child that their happiness, the pride of their lives, did well to die when he did because he probably went to heaven, whereas, if he had lived to be an old man, he might have deserted the faith. Lame. It could be true, but it did not help the parents in their grief.4

 

The next word, “things,” in this particular context, refers, of course, to events. There have been and are those who believe our lives are imaginary, in which case “things” would not really happen at all; I shall not take that line of argument, however, as I do not believe it, and it would destroy all claims that I have to make about our world and the world beyond. I believe things really happen and will proceed as though they do.

 

With the word, “good,” I can raise an ironic question that probably has significance; Jesus, when called “good,” stated that only God is good.5 Shall we then say that there are no good people for bad things to happen to, such that the question I am answering is of the moot variety? After all, if Jesus was not good, no one is, has been, or will ever be. The answer is yes—there are no good people for bad things to happen to, and I could rationally and justifiably end this theodicy now on that basis. Yet, Jesus is the one exception; He is the one, the single and the unique good person that bad things could have happened to when He was among us in time. And very bad things did happen to Him. Perhaps he denied goodness because He had not yet completed a perfect life with no sin at all in it. Nevertheless, He is God, and He was and is a God of mercy, the one true God Who has died that we might be good and Who owes us no answer to any question. We would not even be alive if this God had not made it so.

 

Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine, who were both great Christian writers, experienced illnesses that rendered them comatose. Augustine, when he awoke, said, “I have seen the Lord – all I have written is straw,” and Thomas said essentially the same thing when he came out of his coma. Because we have no right to question this God about anything that pertains to Him, the question we are entertaining and this essay are irrelevant, but, because there are answers that suffice but do not satisfy, and because this is one of them for a very large number of people, I will continue with this treatise and not “cop-out.”

 

Now—having analyzed the question, there is one remaining item to mention before we move on  to the answer in earnest. We can mistake discipline for punishment or for God’s being less than all good. Our heavenly Father, however, wants the very best for us, which largely consists of our developing all of our attributes maximally, and discipline improves people. We ourselves discipline our children, if we are good parents.

 

 

God Is Indeed Good and Cannot Possibly Create Evil

 

As God emanates from The Truth, all-Goodness, He cannot be evil, and He is incapable of making anything that is evil, though He did make someone who became evil. Plato, in his Republic, says that goodness cannot produce evil, and it would seem to be an oxymoron to say otherwise. For God to be unable to do something that is either nonsense or violates His divine identity does not violate the His omnipotence. Admittedly, however, Plato is probably not talking about the Biblical God.

 

“But, did God not create everything?” “No — only everything that is good,” and nothing that is nonsensical is good. One would nevertheless still like to know where evil comes from. Here is what I think about that.

 

 

The Origin of Evil

 

Evil, like The Truth, exists on its own without the need for creation. There is, however, a supreme difference between the two in their autonomy: original evil exists only potentially and gives rise to nothing without the enablement of humans, or, in one case of which we are aware, angels. (At least these are the only agents we know of that can actualize evil.) Evil is dormant until the good go wrong. Thus, the ultimate realm is not one of dualism; i.e., there is no god of goodness fighting a god of evil on the same level. Evil is inferior to good from always, as C. S. Lewis said at the end of his book, The Problem of Pain. Evil is not the opposite of good-–if it were, the two would be equal to one another. Evil is the absence of good, as cold is the absence of heat, hate is the absence of love, and a hole in a sweater is the absence of part of the sweater.

 

Evil is the great lie that subtracts from truth, the illusion that subtracts from reality, the ignorance than subtracts from learning, the ignorance that subtracts from communication, the pride that subtracts from humility, the rudeness that subtracts from kindness, and a parasite that subtracts from personality and identity. Evil can initiate nothing because it is not compelling and because its energy is directed in the opposite direction from creativity and progress. With one exception, evil is neither something nor nothing. Its natural state is that of less than nothing. Destroy everything, and Goodness will regenerate it. If evil destroys its victim, however, it can no longer do anything, because in that instance it has reverted back to nothing but potential. Jesus’ sacrifice removed the victims of evil from its grasp.

 

The good recognize and agree with reality; the bad deny it, even though to do so is an oxymoron. The evil care not whether something they say is obviously false; they say so anyway and then proceed to “prove it” with more lies. Like the Sophists of old, they will argue either side of a case because, to them, the truth about anything consists not of that which is so from always to always-–it is whatever they can convince someone of. Hence, the sayings of Heraclitus, the prototype of relative truth, which may be characterized by the mathematical error, 2 + 2 =5. (Math is absolute; thus, 2 + 2 is never 5.) Though evil is defeated from the perspective of heaven, it rages on in the time-bound world and must be recognized if one is to combat it. Let us never be naïve about this.

 

Now, where does Satan come in? I feel almost superstitious when I speak of him; however, I do believe in him, and we shall shortly see why we must introduce him in order to fully answer the question at hand. God made both angels and humans: angels without bodies outside of time and humans with bodies within space-time. Like humans, angels were made with free will so that they can truly be separate beings from God, though they live in His realm. It would be much less pleasurable for God if they and we were robots, sort of minor clones who could do nothing other than the will of the Father. Perhaps the rebellion of Satan caused God to avoid allowing other angels to have free will; I do not know, except that, outside of time, one has only a single chance of making entities correctly.

 

In any case, angels are beings from the first and never becomers. We are developing our heavenly identities, our eternal personalities, in time where it is possible to change. Without time, there is no change, such that this process cannot take place in the timeless realm. Unlike humans, angels do not develop into persons who incorporate their choices into their forever selves. We humans, on the other hand, are “becomers” on Earth in the process of becoming beings in timelessness, and the consequences of our earthly choices will be who we are in the life beyond. We can wax and wane in our faith and behavior and still come out all right so long as we are synchronous with The Truth when we die. Angels, on the other hand, make a one-time decision that is forever binding. They can agree or disagree with God, though they can go no further in the direction of individuality. If they choose goodness, they are forever His servants. If they choose otherwise, they separate from Him, on a timeless basis—forever.

 

Now, to be a servant of God is better than being a king on earth, but the lot of humans is better yet, as we are raised to the status of children and friends of the Lord of all when we respond to His untold generosity, as is so very advisable. We need to realize, however, that, with such blessing comes responsibility.

 

Originally, a single angel chose to rebel; He was God’s favorite, His Brutus. The others who disdained heaven followed, looking for vaguely defined freedom in the manner of the adolescent. This rebellion of angels is so very much like that of teenagers who think they can be better off on their own than “under the thumb” of parents. After they have rebelled, they realize how much their parents have been doing for them and how very much they now have to do for themselves.

 

Serving God is freedom, and to serve Satan is to be meat for his platter. His predation has no limits, and it is not only directed against humans; it is directed against his henchmen. Satan is totally consumptive. His desire is to consume everything that lives.6 He is also  insane (but this of course does not excuse him).

 

Satan is thoroughly caught up in his heinous project and thoroughly out of control; he seeks revenge, for what he knows not: “This goody-goody God must have done something that demands our disdain.” His rage is of unimaginable proportions, his fervent devotion to the wrong without discernible limits. Wielding the slashing sword of utter discord and disarray, he would slash the void were there nothing else available on which to fix his wrath, just as Xerxes slammed the waters of the Bosporus in his unmitigated hubris, because of its refusal to let him cross, as he attempted to travel to Greece in his vain attempt to conquer.

 

Often, when Satan causes bad things to happen to us, we blame God—somehow, His rescuing us looks like persecution. Yet, we cannot begin to combat the evil one without invoking the aid of Jesus the Savior. Satan’s depravity is so great and so precisely aimed at the heart of Goodness that he has raised the entirety of pure evil from its potentiality and has set it against The Truth in its actualization. He has become evil without reservation and without restraint; he has therefore become the personification thereof. With evil thus assigned, Jesus was able to hone in on a single target. (Satan is too clever for his own welfare.) Satan embraced evil and thought he was acquiring power, but what he acquired instead was vulnerability. He is not only willing-–he is anxious to lead his mindless herd against their Lord and Maker. His abject ferocity, hate, and complete rejection of God Almighty, together with his making God’s heart and treasure—humanity–his prime target, has raised fundamental evil from its dormancy and fixed it upon and within himself.

 

C.S. Lewis liked to think that, if a person grumbled, for example, his entire life to the extent of doing virtually nothing else, he would essentially become a grumble in the afterlife. In similar fashion, Satan has done nothing but evil, and he can be depended upon to continue in that manner; therefore, he essentially is evil for all eternity. (“Evil” is a noun here, not an adjective.) That suits him, except that he did not realize that, in becoming the embodiment of evil, he gave God a target, the destruction of which is the instrument of the destruction of destruction, the subtraction of subtraction, the utter elimination of evil itself. The positive Truth wins — positively, decisively, and timelessly. The battle is over in the Kingdom of God, though it still rages in time. We can almost say that perspective is everything. Perhaps Jesus even annulled evil — perhaps He caused it to never have existed; if that is the case, all human misery is cancelled from always to always. 

 

Utilizing my imagination even more than usual, I wonder whether God created angels at least partly in order to find a target in which all of evil could be concentrated.7 It is much easier to fight a person than it is to fight a principle. We are seeing this most clearly since The War on Terror came upon us.

 

Similarly, Satan’s rallying other angels to revolt may have brought him out into the open where he can be more easily dealt with.8

 

In any case, we humans can probably, in a small way, help God to accomplish His purpose of eliminating evil, particularly by providing an arena where good and evil can most pointedly and thoroughly battle and a situation in which Perfect Goodness can maximally manifest Itself and Its power.  (Satan especially harasses and tries to recruit the best of people, as they aggravate him the most and as he tends to get the others into his “hip pocket” with little effort.  In addition, people who embody the most goodness make the best trophies in his eyes.)

 

Probably the most important reason for our existence, however, is our provision of a setting wherein God could enter space-time as a human and most effectively do battle with evil. Without the existence of a cognitive race of people with free will, a perfect life could not have been lived by a Person willing to make the supreme sacrifice, in which case the mechanism of unimaginable power needed for the destruction of evil might never have been generated.

 

 

Can God be Responsible?

 

Is God responsible for our behavior because we are His creation? Is He responsible for Satan for the same reason? I do not know, but, if that is the case, He has made full restitution and has more than satisfied justice by essentially dying for our misbehavior; a more responsible Deity cannot be imagined. It is probably true that the more power one has, the more responsibility he incurs, but no greater satisfaction of responsibility can be imagined than that which the God of the Bible has provided. If any of God’s acts have brought evil into the world and/or have caused misery in the life of any person, He has certainly made restitution in the most complete kind of way. Insofar as I am concerned, God’s acts have invariably been the best they could have been. He has always acted for the most pristine of reasons, with the grandest possible purpose, and He has guaranteed his purposes and acts with His very life, submitting to justice and all other aspects of The Truth. For the sake of justice and His creation, He did not shy from thoroughly and personally experiencing the most horrible expression of evil.

 

Particularly when one remembers that a father’s grief for an only Son is worse for a father than his own death, one sees why God Himself is the greatest recipient of evil ever. Even for us humans, it is worse when our children suffer than it is when we suffer. This is likely the reason Jesus said, “…My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”9 The Father was stricken and devastated right along with the Son and turned His head away. Perhaps the vision of an aspect of the true God loaded with all of the sin of the world, of past, present, and future, was something that not even the Father could bear, and, thanks be to God, time-bound death could not hold ultimate goodness.

 

Some might argue that the Personification of absolute goodness can or at least should not kill anyone, particularly because of the commandment, “Thou shalt not murder.”10 However, it seems to me that the killing of the personification of evil is something like the best deed of goodness that can possibly be done, and God knows without doubt who warrants reward, who warrants tolerance, and who warrants destruction. In his dazzling book, Perelandra, C.S. Lewis illustrates this proper course of action against stark evil. The hero of the story, Ransom (This is an appropriate name, and it could make a good nickname for Jesus.), kills Satan’s representative in order to prevent the fall of humankind on Venus, once it becomes obvious to him that Westin will otherwise never cease in his attempts to side-track the Venusian queen.

 

 

The Atheist Responds

 

“This is superstitious drivel,” says the militant atheist. “You have done nothing but employ inflammatory words in an effort to insinuate our minds without any evidence to back up what you are saying.” To which I answer, “you back up your claims with objective evidence, and I will do the same with mine, and we will see who makes the best argument.” And let us remember here the words of Richard Dawkins, which he seemed to believe were meaningful by virtue of their color: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” This man calls himself a scientist, but I have never heard of making progress in science by cursing one’s colleagues or smashing an experimental set-up. His words are neither evidence nor objective; He classically states the basic argument of the militant atheist, which is that non-believers they are superior to believers, particularly in intelligence, that the Christian masses are ignorant, and that everyone knows that science is where all truth is to be found. I have no quarrel with the atheist who has reached his or her conclusions in a calm and methodical manner, studying the issues and coming to the best conclusions he can in an objective manner, but, in this instance, the atheist  tries to do nothing but bully.

 

 

Two Kinds of “Bad Things”

 

There are two kinds of bad things: those caused by the choices that humans make and natural disasters. The latter are Satanic but could not occur were it not for original sin, wherein we handed over to Satan the charge that God gave us to be stewards of His world. Thus, both kinds are, in the end, the result of humanity’s bad choices; however, the more immediate cause of a natural disaster is an act of Satan. Because he became the ruler of our world when we handed our charge from God over to him, it is easy for him to corrupt it with catastrophes. It is easier for us to deal with evil that pertains to humans than it is to avert natural disaster. We merely have to “get our act together,” but it can be done. To cause the ruler not to do whatever he likes with his world is much more difficult.

 

The enemy, who has taken over the creation of God, can then make creation, the thought of God, look distorted. A thick veil went up between earth and heaven when the first humans sinned, and the proverbial empty coke bottle is interjected betwixt. As ruler of Earth, Satan is now able to cause all manner of natural disasters to occur and to distort our perception of God’s creatures and the rest of His creation–the way that we perceive His thought. Satan can now work on our minds, particularly by causing error to arise in our minds with regard to the existence and goodness of God. He, the father of lies, is lying to us.

 

 

Annulment of Evil?

 

God’s act in the Christ was so momentous and powerful that we can imagine his annulling evil with it. This would be a timeless annulment, such that Satan would have never existed, and none of the misery that he caused would ever have happened. One might answer that it is obvious that all kinds of terrible things have happened as history has rolled on, but remember that the ancient Sophists and Buddhists of all eras have doubted their existence, such that there is plenty of precedent for the concept that things can seem to happen but never actually happen.

 

Our time-bound world is one of uncertainty. At its very foundation, in the realm of the quantum, lies von Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, which is at the bottom of events that are very strange indeed. In heaven, all is “black and white,” i.e., if something seems to have happened, it has happened, but time-bound lives are gray in this respect. From God’s perspective, this or that happens, and that is it—that is the whole story, but, from our point of view, things can seem to happen and never really happen at all.

 

There is also much precedent in Christian thought for considering Satan and his henchmen to be shades, zombie-like entities that seem to be alive and are not; if Satan and all of his accomplices have this nature, it may well be because evil has been annulled. In any case, Satan and his cronies are most futile of beings, who believe they are accomplishing great things, but are actually doing nothing, for, even if they are not annulled, Jesus’ sacrifice is timeless, such that He has wiped out any so-called accomplishments of theirs from always to always, at least with regard to ultimate effectiveness thereof.

 

What I am saying here makes at least a little more sense if we recall an example of the effects of Special Relativity wherein a spacecraft is falling into a black hole at the speed of light from the point of view of those in it, while, from the perspective of outside observers, the ship is perched on the edge of the black hole forever. (Note that I do not say Aseems to be@ with regard to the perspective of those situated at either point of view).

 

I am thus speculating that, by virtue of the sacrifice of the Son, the Lord of all may have accomplished the “uncreation” of evil from eternity to eternity. This is in fact my belief. I know that what I am saying could be something like anathema to one who has lost a child or has been brutally tortured for no reason, in that most such people cannot accept the premise that such horrible experiences were not real. Yet, I can entertain this idea of annulment in spite of having lost a beloved wife under circumstances that were even more frustrating than is usually the case in such matters, and I find the idea of annulment quite comforting. I hope others can feel the same way for the same reason, though I realize that my tragedy is less poignant than those of many others. God Himself had only one child, whom He gave for those of us who will accept the gift. You say, “But that child rose from the dead,” and I say, “Yes, but when that child died, the Father did not know that He would. You then perhaps ask, “Does not God know everything?” to which I reply, “All but two or three things.”

 

We could ask what kind of father would create knowing He would have to have His Son go through the epitome of misery in order to redeem His creation. It appears that God faced a huge dilemma in this scenario—a difficult choice. It consisted of an eternal existence alone vs. having to employ the most extreme measures to eliminate evil. I do not know what else to say about His decision except that everything turned out wellBit in fact turned out glorious, and Jesus was/is to perform His part in it. If God had not created, besides facing eternity alone, love would have remained only potential and would never have been actualized. For love to have never been might have been the greatest evil ever. In addition, allowing even potential evil to exist could seem intuitively wrong, if one is capable of doing anything about it. To avoid creating because it results in the actualization of evil would have forbidden all life except for that of the Creator, and that is exactly what Satan stands for, not just the survival of the fittest, but the survival of the final Victor, who eliminates all competition and owns everything in existence for himself. I cannot imagine anyone wanting such a situation for himself, with nothing to do for all eternity except think about how strong, victorious, and wonderful he is. God’s forbidding the existence of additional life would have violated the identity of Deity, derived from The Truth, of which and of Whom the most important component is cognitive life. I do not think it was possible for God to avoid creation of other minds.

 

In any case, if in the realm of true significance, evil has Aended up@ never having existed, or even if it has “merely” been forever subdued, the ultimate Ruler of everything–God–must be credited with the epic victory.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Not only is discipline imperative if one is to be all he can be: refinement, particularly the development of good character, does not happen without suffering. A “spoiled” child is an injured child. With everything handed to him “on a silver platter,” he has no incentive, and there are not many people who will learn or perform without incentive. We are not even inclined to seek the truth or contemplate The Truth without it. We regularly see what happens when parents give too many gifts or governments offer too much in the way of foreign or domestic aid. The recipients come to see it as an entitlement, and become angry that they are not getting more. Also, God, like a mother bird, needs to push us out of the nest if we are to grow and become capable; if He constantly rescues us from trouble, we remain perpetual children. Though God does not punish, I would not be surprised if he brought an element of misery our way in order that we might be edified.

 

God has the welfare of everyone in the world to contend with throughout all of history, and the choices that one person makes can of course affect others, contemporaries or people living years or even centuries later. Each of our lives connects with many others, and the network of paths that such great numbers of people have traveled becomes unimaginably large and complex. When these journeys lead to misery, God suffers with the participants because they are His children. We sometimes suffer with our friends and family, but God suffers with everyone.

 

With such a massive network of causation extending along the time-line we and all our race has traveled and will traveled, it is not hard to see how good can easily come from the occurrence of something bad; in fact, what is bad for one person may turn out to be something that benefits hundreds, thousands, or even millions of other people. It is a particularly good thing in the present era that God is not limited by time in His accomplishing His purposes, since the ripples resulting from the proverbial pebble’s being thrown in the pool can spread much more rapidly and in more directions than in the past because progress in communication is drastically exponential.

 

The definition of apologetics may warrant changing; it may no longer amount to defense at all and could constitute more of a mop-up operation. The case for Christ is so sound that it makes more sense to consider how well what we observe in our world jibes with the precepts of Christianity than it does to envision any difficulty with regard to fitting Christianity into our world. The negatives pale before the goodness of God and the gifts that are ours when we follow this Lord. The Kingdom of God is so much more real and good than our time-bound world that it could render anything bad on earth negligible. We cannot be the judge of what is ultimately good or bad for someone else, just as we cannot be the ultimate judge of any person, because we never know everything that is in his heart. We are, of course, even less able to judge God.

 

The Word of God was snuffed out so that we might live. For us, the worst sort of hell would be separation incommunicado from God and separation from everyone else as well. God seems to have placed Himself in this kind of position when Jesus died, and I am not sure He knew that the situation was reversible.

 

Trust God, and cast your eternal lot with the Biblical Godhead. It is your best bet, and, as Pascal said, if we believe and are right, we are just where we want to be; if we believe and are wrong, we have lost nothing; if we do not believe and are right, we have neither lost nor gained anything; but, if we do not believe and are wrong, we have lost everything. If nothing else, play the odds!

 

 

Notes

 

1. Most aptly found in the works of the Reverend Dr. John Polkinghorne and Dr. William Lane Craig.

 

2. Author of The Creator and the Cosmos and various other works.

 

3. Hoyle was the last hold-out with regard to the Steady State Theory of the Origin of the universe. A single example of the fine tunings we find in our world that show it is a world of design was sufficient to convert him from agnosticism to theism. Hoyle was very opinionated and never changed his mind without much logical reason to do so.

 

4. God is good, and God is merciful. He does not cause death, and He does not punish. He grieves with us, and He answers prayer. If we turn to Him with full submission and watch Him work, He makes all things well in the end. The life to come is indeed the life of greatest importance by far, and we cannot ascertain whether apparent tragedy in our time-bound world is actually that or whether it is a “bump in the road” that may give rise to unimaginable goodness, hidden for now behind the proverbial coke bottle.

 

5. Mark 10:18.

 

6. Lewis, C.S. The Screwtape Letters. 1942. London. Geoffery Bles

 

7. With evil concentrated in Satan, it was much easier to combat than it otherwise would have been. Satan provided a target; otherwise, Jesus would have been aiming at something vague, an abstraction, similar to the targets in the war on terror.

 

8. See Job, Chapters 38 through 41, where God elaborates eloquently upon His utter primacy and dominance.

 

9. Matthew 27:46, KJV.

 

10. Exodus 20:13, KJV.

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