My Systematic Theology class had an online discussion thread going last week regarding the reading for Alister McGrath’s Christian Theology. The thread began with a question of natural catastrophes on the planet and where God is (if anywhere) in that event. McGrath speaks of “influence and persuasion” regarding God’s nudging man to righteousness. Numerous examples were posited in the thread: Moses, Noah, Lot, Job, etc. We also discussed “natural evil” and what that term means: can a volcano BE “evil”? Evil implies a motive to perform an action contrary to good. But the aftermath of a tsunami or Hurricane Katrina or massive tornadoes certainly aren’t a good thing, right?
On the heels of that discussion for my class, I came across this post from “Christianity Today”. The article discusses the concept of pain and a theory of why God allows it to happen. Of course C.S. Lewis discussed pain and its purpose in his The Problem of Pain. In that work, Lewis writes, “If God were good, he would wish to make his creatures perfectly happy, and if God were almighty he would be able to do what he wished. But the creatures are not happy. Therefore God lacks either the goodness, or power, or both.” As shocking as this brief passage is if we take it at face value, Lewis continues in support of God’s plan, that He isn’t a masochistic puppet master.
I find the article comforting and encouraging. I also, selfishly, appreciate the author’s view of pain when I reflect on my classwork because I find I’m not so far from the mark. It’s a good gauge to reinforce that I’m on the right track.
That’s a “Win!” in my book!!
(title comes from Job 42:17)