A Wild and Crazy God  

Posted by Joe Rawls

The devastation in Haiti once more pushes our noses in that most intractable of theological problems: why does a loving God allow evil to exist in the world? Fr Matt Gunter suggests an approach that respects the Christian tradition without insulting our intelligence, unlike that of a certain television evangelist. Read the complete post on his site Into the Expectation.


The world is a wild place. In creating the world in which we live, God makes space for us and all creation to be free. That means God also makes space for us to make a mess of it, to make a mess of one another, to make a mess of ourselves. And it means there is space for things like cancer cells and earthquakes. It also means that the God who creates such a world must be as wild as the wildness it contains. Why does God have to make so much space for freedom? Why does God tolerate so much suffering and injustice? Why has God created such a world? If God is at the heart of it all--the Creator and Sustainer--God is not off the hook.

Which is, of course, the point of the gospel. On the cross, God himself is on the hook. In Jesus Christ, God enters into the mess that we have made of the world. And God enters into the wildness of the world God has created. On the cross, God in Christ takes on the pain and suffering of the world. The world's passion becomes Christ's passion. God transforms that passion into the promise of resurrection. There is the promise that we too will be transformed--the suffering of the world will not be lost, but gathered up and transformed in resurrection. By his wounds, we will be healed. And so will the rest of creation which eagerly awaits being set free from its bondage to futility and decay.

We live in a world of great suffering and great injustice. It can be a hard place to live. It can be a hard place to believe in God--especially the generic God of human imagination. But the God we know in Jesus Christ is not a God of our own imagining. The God we know is the God of the cross. Karl Barth wrote, "God earns the right to be God in this world on the cross". God earns the right to be God in this world--with all its pain, suffering, injustice, and tragedy--on the cross. French poet Paul Claudel wrote, "Jesus did not come to remove suffering or to explain it away. He came to fill it with his presence". Jesus does not explain suffering. He fills it with his presence and the promise of its transformation in the final resurrection of which his is the foretaste.

It does not resolve all the questions or remove all the pain, or eliminate all the anger resulting from something like the devastation in Haiti. But a God wild enough to create and sustain such a world as ours and wild enough to pour his love out on the hard wood of the cross is wild enough to absorb our questions, pain and anger.

This entry was posted on Saturday, January 16, 2010 at Saturday, January 16, 2010 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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