Monday, January 9, 2012

Part of Some Bigger Plan

Dr. Strange: Long ago, my hands were shattered in an accident, rendered useless for someone who wished to be a doctor, a surgeon, a healer.
I searched the world for someone who could fix them. My quest took me to the Himalayas, where I met the man who I would one day call Master.
He told me that there are limits to what even a sorcerer supreme can do. He could not fix my hands...but he could give me a purpose, and the chance to save lives.
Had he simply healed me, there would have been no one to stand between the forces of dark and light when intercession was most needed.
Spider-Man: If you're saying that her death is a part of some bigger plan, forget it.
- Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24
by J. Michael Straczynski and Joe Quesada

The problem of evil. It crops up time and time again. Maybe we don't hear sermons on it all the time, but it seems like it is the theological issue we deal with most in our daily lives. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why does God allow bad things to happen? Theodicy. It's the issue that plagues theologians.

So what's a good answer? Sometimes saying it's all part of a bigger plan or will lead to something good might actually be correct. But at the time that this evil or bad thing is occurring, this makes for a horrible explanation. Maybe this is just because I'm going through my own personal crisis of bad things happening to a good person (or maybe the verdict is still out on if I am a good person or not), but I don't find this reasoning comforting at all.

Granted, there are less comforting explanations. I hope the type of theodicy seen in Grant Morrison's run on Animal Man isn't the correct answer. Why do bad things happen to good people? It makes for a dang good story. If that is the case, then God must be finding my story either rather suspenseful or greatly depressing.

I believe it was the German philosopher Leibniz that argued that this must be the best of all possible worlds, since God would only create the best world out of all possibilities. So if there is evil in the world, it only exists in the most ideal balance (wherein more or even less evil in the world would ultimately lead to a worse world). That's still not very comforting. This doesn't feel like the best possible world. It feels more like a perfect creation that has gone horribly awry.

Honestly, the best answer to the question of evil is that it's a mystery. I know, that seems even less comforting. Then I think about Job and wonder just how comforted he was. I mean, here was a man being completely screwed over, and he confronted God directly about it, asking why all this crap was happening to him?

How did God respond? Essentially by saying, "Who the crap are you to ask me why I do what I do. It's way beyond your understanding."

That...that's not helpful. So, if I were to ask God right now why these bad things are happening to me, how would he answer? Would I be comforted by that answer?

Probably not.

So I guess I just have to have faith that God is watching over me and will see me through this.

And sometimes, in the face of hardship, that is the most difficult thing we can do.

Man, theodicy is a tough subject.

No comments:

Post a Comment