Credo in Deum Omnipotentem

John A. Wilson District Building
John A. Wilson District Building

Perhaps you recall: The transformation of the capering Prince Hal into the formidable King Henry V is the new “defining motif” of this humble weblog. (Scroll down if you click the link.)

falstaffThis same tranformation, however, broke the spirit of Prince Hal’s fellow-caperer, Sir John Falstaff. After the King broke off their friendship, Fallstaff’s dissolute life finally caught up with him, and he died.

In Henry V, when Falstaff’s friend Bardolph hears that the jolly knight is dead, he declares:

Would I were with him, wheresome’er he is, either in
heaven or in hell!
(Act II, Scene 3)

As the statement of a Christian, this sentence makes no sense. In hell, it is impossible to enjoy each other’s company. But as the lament of a friend, it is heartbreakingly beautiful.

John Wilson was a member of the D.C. City Council when I was in high-school. When I was in college, he became the chairman.

My father knew him. I admired him. He was intelligent, witty–did not suffer fools gladly. Back in those days, I dreamed of a career in local politics and someday being the mayor of Washington.

When John Wilson died suddenly in 1993, I was deeply grieved. It took me quite a while to shake the horror of his death from my mind.

annie-dillardIn time, however, the horror faded. Remembering that the horror does fade gave me a great deal of comfort this morning.

…I also just happened to read a passage by Annie Dillard in which she rejects the idea that God is all-powerful. She rejects the true doctrine of God on the grounds that He lets too many bad things happen.

This ostensibly bold assertion is supposed to be some comfort for us poor, bedraggled mortals. But it is no comfort.

If God is not in charge—if He is not God–then who is? No one. Is that a comfort? No.

crucified handThe true comfort is this: God knows all about suffering. There is no evil that God does not understand from the inside.

The answer to the problem of evil is not denying the omnipotence of God. The answer to the problem of evil is that the Omnipotent One hung on the cross to save us from evil.

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