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Monday, May 16, 2011

A Little Monday Morning Heresy

Yesterday, stepping out of the shower I slipped on a towel on the tile floor and crash landed on the narrow metal ridge that the shower door slides on, landing just about in the area of the right kidney.  I’m stiff now, but have not as yet had it medically examined.  I found myself in a very personal way asking the age old question asked by many who have suffered far greater misfortune—if there is a loving God who is in complete control, why do bad things happen?  There is no doubt in my mind that God is a loving God, but I have come to question his complete control.  My understanding now is that God is in complete authority and will with time bring about the full realization of his kingdom, but he does not have control in the sense that he can suspend gravity, cancel tsunamis, redirect hurricanes and tornados or supernaturally zap Nazis who contemplate death camps.  I guess I have believed this for a long time.  To me it is far preferable to understand God’s power and influence in this way—it removes culpability.  I view him as the Creator, but not in complete control of his creation.  God’s power is primarily directed on the life and mind of mankind.  Its primary purpose is to instill the disciplines and creativity of love.  I feel a certain loss in this view.  No longer do I have access in prayer to someone in complete control.  No longer do I ask God to direct the hurricane to simply dissipate in the Gulf—however much I may earnestly hope for that result.  As a weak analogy I realize that the United States government has complete authority in its territories.  It seeks to establish liberty, justice, happiness.  But this complete authority does not mean that it has complete control; within its borders can be found various types of slavery, injustice, and unhappiness.  There is a profoundly unsettling feeling to hold that though God is in complete charge, He is not in complete control.  Humans greatly need to feel that a power is in control in order to maintain a basic sense of security.

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