The dead of Colorado cry out for an explanation: how could a good and all powerful God let such a thing happen?
Christian philosophers provide decent answers to this question and Christian ministers comfort. After all, if the problem of “evil,” the hurt and sting, is not made less if we discover that there is no hope that the death of these people means nothing at all. Getting rid of the tension between the existence of actual, personal goodness and human evil might make our philosophy superficially simpler, but only at the cost of meaning.
Trying to make sense of things is hard . . .and giving up may be merely mental cowardice.
Even if Christians have no answer to the problem of evil, then it would not show “atheism” is true. It would merely suggest that the God we have good reason to believe exists from argument and experience is not all powerful. Plato’s god was good, but not all powerful.
And this leads to a problem most of us never consider, but Plato and Aristotle understood. Why do humans get more than we deserve?
One day, just one day, on the Isle of Skye I was perfectly happy for a blessed hour. I was outside of myself staring at the beauty of the ocean and the soft colors of the Isle. My best beloved was there and she was happy.
We were happy.
Now I know my own imperfections. I certainly did not deserve this moment of bliss . . . a moment worth a thousand of boredom. I have never known anyone I am sure deserved that feeling. It was awesome and I simply am not worthy: and yet there it was.How could there be a good, just, and all powerful God and yet such a feeling come to me?
I might deserve correction, and a modicum of happiness, but not such intense joy. And yet that was not the only time I have felt such joyfulness . . . God allows it often.
And though it is not an argument in any philosophical sense, this experience helps me with the idea of suffering. I do not get what I deserve . . . and the reason is simple: God loves me. This can be the only reason a good God would give me joy I do not deserve . . . even now I feel it at the edge of my mind. But if this is so, and if an omnipotent God exists, it must be so if I know such glimmers of happiness, then can’t I trust him with the pain?
The cosmos is so complex that even the fall of a sparrow may trigger global events . . . how much more complicated is God’s relationship with each human person? God loves the sparrow . . . how much harder is it to love a man? And so I think that just possibly all the pain that seems gratuitous and all the joy that certainly is may have a complex meaning.
I accept the joy . . . and so I find it easier to accept the pain.