“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Monday, May 4, 2009

Is God That Great?

One might object that there is simply too much evil, and suffering too horrible, that it could possibly be used for good. You might ask me if I know that I would keep my faith in suffering. Do I know that if I saw fully the horror of evil, my pathetic delusion of God would not have died quickly? No, I cannot be certain. But what I have seen is too beautiful – too compelling for me not to place my hope in it. I have seen too much of the goodness of God to seriously doubt that good will defeat evil. It is a power and wisdom that no evil could conquer, a light that no darkness could put out. Can you believe that God is great enough to do this? This world has fallen far, so far that it may seem beyond redemption. But with God, the Maker of the Universe, all things possible. Can you believe in a God that is great enough to save this world?

Can you believe that the Creator of the universe has the power and wisdom to bring out of this dead world a glory and a goodness even greater than the worst of evils in human history? Paul wrote that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). Might it be, then, that the enormity of pain and sorrow in this world actually provides a glimpse of how incomprehensibly beautiful and glorious and joyful heaven must be? Yes, this world is filled with horrors, but is it possible that God might be found even in the darkest places?

We live in a fallen world, a beauty marred. It is full of evil and suffering, yet not without hope and love and joy. The darkness is great, but it is doomed because of the primary, victorious nature of good (see “An Unbalanced Duality”). Our hope comes from God, whose wisdom is deeper than the deepest hidden place, higher than the heavens, and at the far edges and the foundations of reality. There is a light in the darkness that cannot be overcome (John 1:5). “Hope and memory shall live still in some hidden valley where the grass is green” (Tolkien, The Return of the King 26). Truly the Enemy cannot conquer forever.

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