This is the diet time of year, the lean month, sans alcohol, sans parties, sans jollity. Yet the hunger for Pascha (Easter!) coming and summer (the Glorious Fourth!) and Christmas (so distant, so certain) is there. The lack makes the love sweeter.
Lacking pleasure, having the pain of not having, is necessary for great pleasure. Too much of what we love and the beloved becomes cheap or cloying.
Enough is sufficient and so we wait. Pain and pleasure go together, neither evil, both potentially good. We lack something, this causes “pain,” we learn to wait, grow stronger, and then in due time we experience the pleasure of getting consent. A good human waits until the beloved says: “yes.” This is right, but not only right, decent, proper, but also is unexpectedly, gloriously, fun.
We do right and so have jollity.
Poverty, lack, is a necessity to a good cosmos. If we only have pleasure, honey all the time, we end up sated and to the sated man even honey is bitter. We hunger to eat well. We thirst to drink. There is, naturally, pain that is evil, gratuitous, cancerous, and wrong. There are reasons to think there is a Creator, see Plato’s Timaeus. There is reason to think the Creator is good, see Republic.
The difficulty is that the pain we experience is often not good. This is a good reason to doubt that an all powerful God exists. The impulse to question the good God in many skeptics depends on certain impulses:
1) there could be a different world
2) this one does not seem to be consistent with a good god that should do his best
3) moral problems abound, herd goods not personal goods
An acquaintance on social media thinks such assertions are brutal to the rational acceptance of the existence of the Christian God. I doubt this.
There could be a different world. The Packers could have gone for it on fourth and goal instead of kicking a field goal in the 2021 NFC Championship Game. They kicked a field goal and the loss made all the difference to the fans. We were sad, but that sorrow was not to death.
That there could be a different world says nothing about whether there could be a better world. The interconnections of reality are so complicated that it is (almost) impossible for us to say that one outcome is (really) better than another. By what standard? For whom?For how many?
“Better” is too flexible a standard to judge a man. . . Or even a chair.
After all: there could be a more comfortable television chair, but not yet a better chair for me overall. The most comfortable chair may not be for you. We might want a cheaper chair, one less comfortable, but also more easily replicated. God is looking for the maximal goodness of the cosmos, but such a maximal goodness may have different priorities. The uncomfortable chair may be the better chair.
Many worlds would not seem to be consistent with the existence of a good God in a man of limited imagination. Imagination can produce many possible good ideas if limited to what we like. The man who thinks a winning Lotto ticket is paradise will miss the Holy Grail.
We have known this error since the first moment when we chose badly and then realized that things could have been different. Any discipline for error will seem worse to a wayward child than cheap mercy. We want an easy “A,” not the grade we deserve and need.
The good God keeps loving us as a community (call it a herd if you will!) and not just as individuals. Imagine getting what is best for you and ending up alone. We need friends and no good world can be measured only by what is best for the one. We love the many, not just the one. We love the one, not just the many.
Christianity demands what is best for all, for you, for the cosmos. That is very complicated, so if you cannot, quite, see it in your Twitter thread, that is not so odd.
We grow hungry for the truth in the good cosmos and the truth is out there. The day is coming, in the City of God, when we will feast forever on logic, goodness, truth and beauty.