Thursday, December 30, 2004

Words fail

Not one to be without a comment or opinion, Ive been at a loss over the disaster in Asia. The casualties are still being counted, disease threatens and millions are homeless. Coming at the end of Christmas Day for those of us in the West, it's as if the channel was suddenly changed from the Brady Bunch to the Book of Revelation. Bing Crosby singing White Christmas seems imbecilic... even more so, I mean. A few thoughts occur:

Death is the great leveller. The rich and famous playing on Thai beaches, poor fishermen in Sri Lanka-- they're equally dead, and meeting their Maker without any socioeconomic advantage.

For those used to a Sunday School God who smiles benignly from Heaven and tells us to love one another, the idea that God either caused or even simply allowed this to happen is jarring. God does indeed smile upon us all from Heaven and tells us to love one another, but in the totality of Christian revelation He is also the almighty Lawgiver and just Judge of the universe, so averse to the sins we so easily rationalize that it took the death of His one and only Son to harmonize His justice with His love for us. This is not a user-friendly God; He is not to be toyed with. Neither is He safe and predictable.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isa. 55:8-9

I can already hear the skeptic dismissing the above as a refusal to acknowledge reality that contradicts one's beliefs, but then I don't understand how those who make so much of their own intellects can consistently miss the obvious point that reason can only operate on the information presented to it, and so inferences are always tentative pending further relevant information: thus the difference between a contradiction and a paradox.

The disaster in Asia is a paradox, all right.