Friday, August 18, 2006

I'm a survivor

This post at HMS reminded me of a story I heard about Blessed Mother Teresa (perhaps apocryphal, source anyone?):

When asked why God hadn't sent someone yet to cure cancer Mother Teresa replied, "God did, but he was aborted."


Anonymous said...

If that story were true, don't you think that would make God a jerk? Under the premise of the story, he has the ability to end all of the suffering on earth due to cancer. However, rather than doing so (such as either eliminating cancer as a physical possibility or giving this cancer-curing knowledge to someone who is being born in a planned and wanted pregnancy that will most likely come to fruition), he's playing games with the human race and instead putting this cancer-curing knowledge into someone who has been conceived in an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy in order to test people's commitment to a religion they may or may not even be a part of. I remember back from my Bible-reading days the part where Jesus is being tempted by the devil to test God (he should go and throw himself off the temple roof and the angels will catch him, etc.) and Jesus makes the point that we're never supposed to test God. But God is supposed to/OK with testing humans, who are fallible, weaker, and less knowledgeable than he is, and he's OK with punishing people with something as painful and horrifying as cancer for failing the test? Doesn't sound like a loving God to me. If he's not testing humans, then there really is no point to the story. If the cancer-curing knowledge just happens to be given to someone who has been aborted, if God doesn't care about testing people, surely he can just endow some other person with the knowledge and ability, since he's all-powerful.


Dan said...

No, I don't think that it would make God a jerk. Nor do I think that the any of the other suffering he allows makes him a jerk either.

It seems easy to criticize God for the way he runs things. Why hurricane Katrina? Why Nazi death camps? Why the untimely loss of a child? Why a terminal illness? I wouldn't allow such tragedy.

But I'm not God.

Like I said, its easy to criticize him, but only if we think that God created us to be automotons. "Do this! Don't do that! Dance little humans!" Then allowing us to do all this stupid stuff that we do, or suffer all we do, seems trivial. Why doesn't he just make us do things right, or make the world easier?

I'm not going to be able to answer definitively the existence of suffering. Nobody can completely, and many others have done a better job than I. But part of the answer is love.

God created us to love him. And true love - the complete self-abondonment to another - must be freely chosen. It can never be forced. Our freedom is so that we can love God. But that means there is also the chance to choose to hate God through our disobedience - the freedom to sin.

It is human sin that is the ultimate source of all suffering. You blame God for allowing the cancer curing future researcher to die, but isn't it more immediately the fault of the mother who chose abortion? It was a free choice, and sin freely chosen leads to disorder. Like the continued suffering of cancer.

Natural evil - earthquakes, floods, famine, disease, miscarriage - are the result of sin as well: the original sin of our first parents. We all, and all of creation, fell with them. We are the source of suffering throught the abuse of freedom, not God. He allows even that great risk all for our love.

And our hope is in the fact that no one of us is God. For when we choose love, the reward surpasses any evil we can imagine, and our dark minds can imagine much.

What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Jas 4:14

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. ... We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now... Rom 8:18,22

What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Cor 2:9