Volume 13, Issue 6: Flotsam
Nathan D. Wilson
Man is revolutionary. And so it is that we are fallen. From the beginning we have wanted thrones
for ourselves, and we were struck for it in the Garden, and have been struck much for it since.
As many times as we have been repelled, we still attack. We still desire to see no one ruling
but ourselves, or more accurately, ourself. All of man's assaults against various thrones of power
stem from our initial attempt on God's throne.
We manifest our revolt against God's kingship in many indirect arenas, but some are not indirect
at all. Some are full-throated curses at God Himself. One such curse, and one that is considered by
many Christians to be terribly powerful, and is frequently used by Arminians against Calvinists, is called the Problem of Evil.
In our treatment of this so-called problem, we, the judge and jury, decide whether or not to let
God keep on being God. Pagan thinkers try to rally the peasants of creation against the Creator, and
the Problem Evil is a favorite rallying cry. And the peasants go on strike.
We ought to be amused at ourselves. Long ago we took at shot at godhead through Adam. We got smacked. It is this smack that we now try to turn on God. We tried to overthrow God and sieze His throne, and we now claim that there is no God because we find ourselves locked in a dungeon. Are not dungeons a firm proof of a king? Can we really claim that we will not serve God because He has punished us for not serving Him?
The question we are asked is this: If there is an all-good, all-powerful God, then why am I fat? Why do I have to sweat to survive? Why did that chairleg remove my toenail on the dark road to the privie last night?
If God is all-good, we are told, then He would surely not want such things to disturb my gentle life. And if He were all-powerful, then He would surely be able to prevent them. So why, we ask each other, do they happen? The wisdom of this age tells us that these things happen because God is either not all-good, not all-powerful, neither, or not at all. This would explain everything.
But of course this is foolishness, and it is our foolishness. We tried to push God off His throne, so He knocked us off our stool. Why shouldn't He? What could possibly be better than you stubbing your toe?
Of course the trivial things are not given as examples by those attempting the coup. They point to WWII and its enormous civilian casualties. They point to drunk drivers and the World Trade Centers. These are the examples thrown at us to revoke God's crown. These are our real beefs with God. But though the big evils are the evils used, the answer to our confusion comes in the small.
God is our Creator. He is not a creature, nor bound by creaturely "ethics." While this may seem a dangerous path to tread, I assure you it isn't. What must not be done by man, may and will be done by God. He is God, and, in that capacity, is, well, God. The simplicity of it all is confusing.
If a man named Phillip were to step out of his door to walk to work and find a man named Frederick standing outside waiting for him with a bucket, he would be surprised. If he were to attempt walking and was followed by the bucket-laden Frederick, as Mary by her lamb, he would be annoyed. But add to that, if Frederick were to spend the entirety of his time slopping water from the bucket down around poor Phillip's ears, tickling him up properly, and were to do this to Phillip every second he was outside for three straight days, then we would all surely agree that Frederick is one of the profoundest nuisances of all time.
But if God does it, we invent raincoats and galoshes, hot cocoa, fireplaces, books, sweaters, cushy seats, and blankets. Why do we tolerate such behavior in God? We even condone it. We really must draw the line or He will do worse.
Why can God be a nuisance, and we can't? Why do we call the cops if a neighbor sits on our roof at night banging sheet aluminum, and we walk to the window amazed when God shakes our midnight windows with thunder? Is it because thunder is more wonderful than aluminum, as it surely is? Is it because rain makes crops grow and Frederick's bucket doesn't? No, it isn't.
If Frederick found a way to sprinkle his bucket on a whole state at once, we would be far more concerned. If the neighbor found a way to strike our trees and houses with real lightning, and rock the air with real thunder, we would converse with the constabulary far sooner, and would be in a far greater sweat.
Ultimately, the whole question comes down to one thing: Lordship. We were created by a transcendent God. And despite the many times we have tried to take Him to the guillotine, and the one time we took Him to a cross, He remains Lord. He remains Creator. He remains transcendent. He remains able to place chairs in front of our toes without remorse.
If we were to use the heads He gave us, which is a steep proposition indeed, then we could see the authority and justice involving evil in the world. We cannot deny that there is evil. But we must realize that it does not stain God's hands with blame. When evil befalls us, has not He done it?
Thunder rolls, lightning strikes, the earth quakes, the wind blows, skin itches, heads ache, legs cramp, men die. Can we assault a King and not expect to see His armies?