December 30: Day Six

Go back to Day Five

“The Earth of men–let me bethink me . . . Yea!
I dimly do recall”
Thomas Hardy

I have never worried about whether God exists. I find myself talking with God often; but I’ll sometimes say, “Universe” instead of God. This makes me sound less crazy.

God’s role is important to questions about meaning. Is there more out there or in here than just other people and what I would call my “self?” If we are alone, are we alone with God?

Agustus Toplady saw God as sovereign, subject to nothing. If that is the case, why did God need Jonah? God told Jonah to go to Nineveh to convert the city; When Jonah ran away, why save him? Why not communicate with the Ninevites directly? Wouldn’t that have been more efficient? Did the Ninevites even have a choice?

Sometimes our vision of God is a Greco-Roman one. When Venus prevails upon her consort Vulcan to protect Aeneas he goes to his workshop and bangs out an elaborately decorated shield. He’s a God; why not just wave his hand? Why spend the energy and time actually making a shield?

Yet we want to subject the “immortal, invisible” God to our logic: When “bad” things happen it means He’s malevolent or, if indifferent, non-existent.

Hardy’s poem is God the forgetter. Hearing of turmoil and pain on Earth, God’s answer is essentially, “Earth? What’s that?” God needs reminding, He’s busy after all.

One of the best discussions of of God’s role I’ve seen is in a film called Vernon, Florida. A man paddling a boat follows the syllogism of a doubter that explains creation and everything that followed with, “That just happened.” That sense of inevitability without apparent authorship, a shield appearing with no smith hammering away; that is God!

Go to Day Seven