Monday, June 8, 2009

Omnipotent and Benevolent God.

This piece of writing was taken from the novel Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. The thing I particularly like about it is how easily the Pope’s Chamberlain (Camerlengo) explains God’s power to the Swiss Guard 'Chartland'.

‘Are you confused because the Bible describes God as an Omnipotent and Benevolent deity?’ said Camerlengo. ‘Omnipotent-benevolent simply means that God is all powerful and well meaning.’
‘I understand the concept’ said Chartland. ‘Its just … there seems to be a contradiction.’
‘Yes the contradiction is Pain. Man’s starvation, war, sickness …’
‘Exactly!’ Chartland knew the Camerlengo would understand. ‘Terrible things happen in this world. Human tragedy seems like proof that God could not possibly be both all-powerful and well-meaning. If He loves us and has all the power to change our situation, He would prevent our pain, wouldn’t He?’
The Camerlengo frowned. ‘Would he?’

Chartland felt uneasy. Had he overstepped his bounds? Was this one of those religious questions you just didn’t ask? ‘Well … if God loves us, and He can protect us, He would have to. It seems He is either omnipotent and uncaring, or benevolent and power-less to help.’
‘Do you have children Lieutenant?’
Chartland flushed. ‘No, Signore.’
‘Imagine you have an eight year old son … would you love him?’
‘Of course’
‘Would you do everything in your power to prevent pain in his life?’
‘Of course’
‘Would you let him skateboard?’
Chartland did a double take. The Camerlengo always seemed oddly ‘in touch’ for a clergyman. ‘Yeah, I guess,’ Chartland said. ‘Sure, I’d let him skateboard, but I’d tell him to be careful.’
‘So as this child’s father, you would give him some basic, good advice and then let him go off and make his own mistakes?’
‘I wouldn’t run behind him if that’s what you mean.’
‘But if he fell and bruised his knee?’
‘He would learn to be more careful.’
The Camerlengo smiled. ‘So although you have the power to interfere and prevent your child’s pain, you would choose to show you love by letting him learn his own lessons?’
‘Of course’ said Chartland. ‘Pain is a part of growing up. It’s how we learn.’
The Camerlengo nodded and smiled. ‘Exactly’

Lots of times our minds are clogged with questions that seem to have no answers. But when we observe life closely we would find that the answers are just around us and lie in such simple things that we fail to observe them in this complicated world.

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