Friday, September 2, 2022

Doubting ourselves

“Why do bad things happen to good people?” Considering the experience of Job:
.... Job’s friends thought they knew enough about God to predict how He would always behave. Job thought he was important enough to demand that God answer his protests. Neither doubted themselves. People who ask “Why do bad things happen to good people?” don’t doubt that they are one of those good people. That lack of doubt needs to be subverted. ....

Job doubted God’s goodness but, worse than that, the friends didn’t doubt God’s goodness because they didn’t doubt themselves. They had too much faith in themselves and too little real knowledge of God. What all these people have in common, including Job’s wife, is that they don’t doubt themselves. What they need, what God’s four chapters of unrelenting questions are meant to create, are doubts. G.K. Chesterton said that the best approach to doubters is be like God in the book of Job; keep asking them questions to destroy their faith in themselves:
In dealing with the arrogant assertor of doubt, it is not the right method to tell him to stop doubting. It is rather the right method to tell him to go on doubting, to doubt a little more, to doubt every day newer and wilder things in the universe, until at last, by some strange enlightenment, he may begin to doubt himself.
The problem with the modern doubter of God is not that he has doubt, but that he doubts the wrong thing. If he would doubt himself rather than God, he would be much better off. That’s what God’s questions are meant to create: doubts about ourselves. ....

In the Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis writes of three children seeing “Aslan,” the enormous lion who symbolizes Christ. One of them asks if Aslan is a tame lion. They are told, “No, Aslan is not tame, but He is good.” That’s the God of Job. .... Our morality or religion doesn’t train Him to do the tricks we want from Him. ....

The problem for us is not the problem of evil. Only smug people so self-centered that they are out of touch with their depravity would assume that they are good, that the Almighty owes us protection if we’ve paid him off with the right morality or religion. The question is the problem of good. .... The conundrum: why do so many good things happen to us bad people?

Correction: there was one good person. Something bad happened to him. Why did bad things happen to Jesus, the good Person? So that God could bring good things to the rest of us bad people.

Once we’ve seen how big and good God is and how small and depraved we are, we can live content with unanswered questions. Then, we are ready for a better glimpse — a clearer look — of Him through that dark glass. And we know that whatever we find when we see Him face to face will not be tame, but He will be good. (more)
John Carpenter, "Objects of Doubt," Mere Fidelity, Sept. 2, 2022.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. I will gladly approve any comment that responds directly and politely to what has been posted.