I was volunteering during service today, so my wife was explaining it to me, saying the pastor spoke in part about God allowing certain things to happen to folks. I’ve heard this before. It’s never made sense to me. She asked me what I thought about it.
I do not believe God allows anything because God doesn’t intervene. I say this from a moral certainty. Here, we do not know the truth that God does or doesn’t intervene. So, what we think the case is has a moral consequence since God taking action or refraining from acting has moral implications. Therefore, because an intervening God is culpably intertwined in the fates of all men whom have ever existed, we must give God the benefit of the doubt. That is to say, concluding that God doesn’t intervene is an ethical decision because the alternative makes God a monster.
I explained that God must have created this reality exactly as it is because it was the absolute best way He could achieve His reasons for creating a reality at all. That comes with being God; you can’t half-ass anything.
There’s a huge difference between creating a world where suffering is a necessary part of it, and creating a world that takes an intimate God who specifically allows a human being to suffer because it’s good for them, in the end, after all. One cannot assume starving babies in Africa are being “allowed” to suffer. In the same way, what is implied is that God is active in allowing suffering, but isn’t causing babies in Africa to starve. But think about it: a God who only acts to allow suffering but won’t act to meditate it is indeed a monster.
Instead, from another vantage point, the idea of memra and logos come into play. Originating in the Targums, God cannot Himself manifest in reality. Any action that He would will on Earth is through a mediator. The thing we cannot ask then is why isn’t God taking care of the starving, taking in the poor, the outcast, the widow, the sick, the needy, the least of these? All we can ask is why aren’t I, as a believer or non believer, being God in the world?
So when people ask when God is going to show up, the answer is that He isn’t! God has left us utterly alone. That is, God has equipped us with his grace; His presence in the world, which is goodness. God has given us all faith, which is no more than saying that He has made us to desire what is good, that which is God. And given this, he has made it possible for us to be all that is required for Him to be manifest in the world, through us. God has failed in his plan of salvation by grace through faith if He must molest our lives rather than being ultimate goodness; that which in participating with, transforms, and in the depths of evil, one has no greater understanding of nor greater craving for.
We are on our own, folks.
We are on our own, together, and that’s the point!
I find this, one of my favorite quotes, poignant:
The message of Christ is I’m dying but my death itself is good news. It means you are alone, left to your freedom, be in the Holy Ghost, Holy Spirit, which is just the community of believers. It’s wrong to think that the second coming will be that Christ as a figure will return somehow. Christ is already here when believers form an emancipatory collective. This is why I claim that the only way really to be an atheist is to go through Christianity. Christianity is much more atheist than the usual atheism which can claim there is no God and so on, but nonetheless retains a certain trust into the Big Other. This Big Other can be called natural necessity, evolution or whatever. We humans are nonetheless reduced to a position within a harmonious whole of evolution or whatever, but the difficult thing to accept is, again, that there is no Big Other. No point of reference which guarantees meaning.
(Slavoj Žižek, “The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology”)