I was reminded recently while doing my quiet reflective/meditative time reading the Bible and writing down prayers about the seemingly indifference of the universe when the ink from my pen ran out as I was nearing the completion of my prayer. Immediately my thought was how, if I was loved by an almighty God that cares so deeply about me, why instances like this happen; where the small things that a person would do for another out of love doesn’t seem to materialize in the same relationship between God and me. Shouldn’t a relationship with God be the most fulfilling and rewarding relationship there could ever be on this Earth while we are still alive? Why isn’t it displayed in even the minute details that perhaps a lover would leave scattered for their beloved throughout their day?
Unpacking this thought, I realized that hidden in it were expectations of how my reality ought to be. What ought an all-loving, all-powerful God should do in order to manifest the proclaimed Love that is supposed to be the thread that binds the Bible together. It may sound a bit cliche but at its core, the problem is, “Why does God seem to idly stand by while the universe seems to delve into randomness and oblivion?” This blog post is by no means supposed to be an extensive and thorough explanation of this phenomenon but rather a beginning of a perspective of how this could be reconciled.
Perhaps the vision between what I think the universe should be and what it was intended to be is different. Rather than humans being continually delighted by the serendipity of the universe, humans instead find their truest selves in the shared suffering and constant working for the improvement of their state. We see this in the noble acts of selfless people throughout history where people rally together because of their rejection of a status quo for example. What I’m saying is that perhaps God isn’t out to do the work for us, rather we have the privilege of the fulfillment and the enjoyment of furthering our improvement and state ourselves. No matter what this indifferent universe throws at us, we as humans can always make the choice to rise above it and respond to it in a positive manner. This indifferent universe isn’t out to hurt us, it provides us an opportunity to display what humanity is. Through our responses to these events, we continually shape who we become and if we respond correctly, we become the best version of ourselves, which I believe is God’s plan for each individual. However, he promises to never leave us on our own to deal with it ourselves but be with us in constant communion. Of course, a person does not have to believe in a God in order to respond correctly to adverse conditions. But regardless of what we use to draw our reserves from for positive responses, having continuous positive responses will lead to the same outcome. But as a Christian, pinning your hopes and strength on God, which is an infinite reserve, enables the capability of conquering anything that the universe throws at you. In essence, you become as strong as you need to become in order to respond positively in all circumstances. It’s kind of like a superman complex.
There are two types of cruelty in my opinion. One type is the cruelty that humans place on each other. Immoral or careless behavior that an individual exercises has adverse effects on another and the cycle continues until it is stopped by someone who can absorb it. Christians are tasked to be the great absorbers of these offenses and the teachings and practices are also common in many world views as well. The second type of cruelty is the one which nobody had control over. This takes on the form of natural disasters and freak accidents. Why doesn’t God take over in these scenarios? Well, he could, but the natural laws set forth from the onset of the universe must ultimately lead to these types of events happening. What I mean is this: The laws that govern the universe as well as the mathematical laws that we observe guarantee that these sorts of events will occur no matter what. A universe without these events would in fact be unnatural given the laws of the nature. Doing so sets the stage for this seemingly indifferent universe, but God knows exactly where, when, and how these events will occur. It may seem unfair but one cannot prove whether or not that quality of life would be better or worse or if humanity would be the same or different given a different set of laws. I’m proposing that the amount of cruelty that occurs is the exact amount required for each of us to face in order to become our best versions. No more and no less. Suffering is planned, yes, but required. But I would argue that we see a lot more good in the world than bad. We know what a good standard of living is when we see it and anything that deviates negatively from it is seen as unfair. Imagine a world where earthquakes and natural disasters was the norm. We probably wouldn’t make as big of a fuss about it there as we do in this world. So, thank God we live in this one; it could very well be much worse.