Theodicy on the First Things Blog

Now, a sovereign God does not displace secondary causes in Christians’ thinking about how the world works. Shifting tectonic plates do give rise to earthquakes and tsunamis. But Christians also believe God continues to intervene in the affairs of his creatures and does so to remind them that the world and its horrors are not beyond his purview, and that the saved child and the answered prayer is a foretaste of the age to come, in which every tear shall be wiped away and the body will no longer be an occasion of sin or pain.

But a foretaste only. Which is why sometimes only one child is saved. And why only Lazarus is raised from the dead. They are signs of the “already,” while the rest endure the “not yet.” Hints, whispers, and still small voices until the full number of the Elect have come into the Kingdom and the very last fundamentalist Darwinian has raged.

— Anthony Sacramone

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  1. Yes, I received your letter yesterday
    (About the time the door knob broke)
    When you asked how I was doing
    Was that some kind of joke?

  2. Thanks Rufus–I was encouraged by this posting. Lately these theological problems have been circling if not nesting in my lobe. It’s easy to forget that we are a people in exile, albeit self-exile.

  3. Rufus McCain says

    Me too, Henri. I tend to defer these questions as unanswerable and therefore better left alone — until someone hits me with one and I stand there stammering. Not that that ever happens. Everyone’s too nice or trapped in their own unspeakable vortexes of fear and stupefaction. But this is such a core issue of faith, we can’t just chalk it up to the mysterious ways of God or cite Jesus’ suffering with as and call it good. We can’t get off the hook that easy. And we shouldn’t let God off the hook that easy either, maybe.

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