Friday, February 01, 2008

Easy to see after the fact

God created the world, and also sustains it, as we are told from scripture. Creating and sustaining are two aspects of the same thing, of course, as we can easily infer from the unity of space and time, but the important thing is that both creation and sustaining are chosen. The world would not be maintained a moment if God did not act to do so.

A mother is nursing her baby. God is sustaining the strength of her arm, the stiffness of the chair, the production of milk, and the baby's swallowing.

A man, kneeling on another's back, is cutting his throat. God is sustaining the force of gravity that keeps him pinned, the sharpness of the knife, and the pressure that forces the blood from his veins to drain uselessly into the dirt.

The creative/sustaining act of God supplies and upholds our acts of love and hate.

We are told that God cares about good and evil, and I've been instructed that sin is “missing the mark;” offending against God's laws. That hardly seems adequate to express what is going on here. Sin tries to make God an accomplice to evil.

An inadequate analogy would be if your father was a policeman and took you for a drive in the squad card so you could learn about crime prevention. Instead of watching and learning and maybe helping, you snatch the wheel to run over a child. You've tried to involve your father in your crime.

From another angle: God is upholding our choices instead of His—which means He is serving us in some way. And yet our choices are so far against His nature that the only human word to describe the situation is suffering. In maintaining our sinful world God is taking the role of a suffering servant. We could not have understood this before Jesus showed us, and yet in retrospect it is clear—unimaginable, but clear.

And from yet another angle: God covers all the bases; there is no loophole or argument undealt-with. If a man dared accuse God, saying “You supported this too, so you must pay”--Jesus shows what He paid freely.

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