Can God do anything He wants? Can He endure evil? If He can, why does He not do so, for the love of those He calls children?
I was thinking along these lines because of the school shooting in Connecticut. I found myself horrified; why, השם, do You allow this?
And then, because I love tautologies, I ended up thinking about some old questions:
- How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? (And which dance would it be? If it’s “Gangnam Style,” someone shoot me now.)
- Can God create a boulder so large that He could not lift it?
I don’t know of an absolute answer to those that would satisfy me.
The boulder question is easier; God cannot contradict His nature, because otherwise it’s not His nature.
You cannot decide to not be yourself; even if you tried, that would be you, yourself, deciding to alter who you are such that the “new you” was still you, and the attempt would have been part of your nature in the first place.
A similar logic applies to “Do I exist?” — the question implies the answer. If you do not exist, you are unable to ask the question. Therefore, since you are able to ask the question, you exist, and the question isn’t worth answering.
So God would not create a boulder so large that He could not lift it, because He would exceed the creation; yet, if He could exceed His creation, He could do so. They are all possibilities, restricted only by God’s identity and intent.
I don’t know how many angels could dance on the head of a pin; I don’t think numbers in our frame of reference would apply. Therefore, my only answers would be “infinity,” or “as many as God desires.”
From a mechanical standpoint, of course, you’d factor in the actual pin’s surface area, the size of the angels in question, and the area required for them to dance; that’s just math, and while it’s funny to think about it that way, it’s not really relevant.
And now we come to the horror in Connecticut. Here’s a rough transcription of my questions to God:
- My God, what have You done? (“What Have You Done” is a song from an amateur musician I found that sums this up pretty well.)
- How could You allow this?
- How could You ever allow this?
- You love us, enough to die on the cross for us. How can this encompass this horror? (And yet it has to. All have sinned (Romans 3:23); whoever believes in Him shall be with Him in glory (John 3:16). I could not do this. I am not God, thank God.)
- If You loved us enough to die for us, how then can You endure our presence, in that we defy You and desecrate Your Name?
And there we have the primary question for me.
How can a holy and just God, even factoring in His grace and mercy, endure us? How can a merciful and loving God not endure those of us whom He calls children?
Of course, He died for us, so that His nature covers ours; that’s an easy problem to analyze. However, the thought of the contradiction still lingers.
How can God endure what He sees here on earth?
I don’t have a simple answer. However, I think that the problem is in how we see Him, not in Him.
We continually apply our mathematics to Him; it doesn’t apply. For God, if 2+2=5, that is the truth as He wills it.
We continually apply our sense of justice as equals to Him. We do not kill (I hope!), because those whom we might kill are our equals before God and before us; God has no equal. His sense of justice is absolute, and we cannot properly understand it.
We apply our limits to Him, and they don’t apply.
Consider: we scream against Him when someone we love is hurt. “How could you do this? This person did nothing to You or anyone else!”
Yet that’s not true, is it? Remember, all have sinned. We are all guilty. Even if our sin’s guilt is removed from us, we still bear the consequences of that sin.
All of us have the potential for horror; God knows everything we are and will be. His actions are based on criteria we cannot know; we cannot judge Him as equals.
Sure, I understand people applying their own perspectives to God; that’s how we’re wired. I’m sure He understands, on some levels.
Yet that doesn’t make it proper. We cannot judge God.