Friday, December 29, 2006

"Why do bad things happen to good people?"

Adoration tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. All Catholics and non-Catholics are invited!!
"Sunshine" recently wrote, "I have one question and that is 'Why do bad things always happen to good people.' I see that with my friends, people I work with and people on this blog. It just doesn't seem right." Thanks for the question, Sunshine. The following are excerpts from an excellent article written by Peter Kreeft, a prominent, lay Catholic theologian who teaches at Boston College. To view the full text, please click on the title of this post.

"... Why do bad things happen to good people? The question makes three questionable assumptions.

First, who's to say we are good people? The question should be not 'Why do bad things happen to good people?' but 'Why do good things happen to bad people?' If the fairy godmother tells Cinderella that she can wear her magic gown until midnight, the question should be not 'Why not after midnight?' but 'Why did I get to wear it at all?' The question is not why the glass of water is half empty but why it is half full, for all goodness is gift. The best people are the ones who are most reluctant to call themselves good people. Sinners think they are saints, but saints know they are sinners. The best man who ever lived once said, 'No one is good but God alone.'

Second, who's to say suffering is all bad? Life without it would produce spoiled brats and tyrants, not joyful saints. Rabbi Abraham Heschel says simply, 'The man who has not suffered, what can he possibly know, anyway?' Suffering can work for the greater good of wisdom. It is not true that all things are good, but it is true that 'all things work together for good to those who love God.'

Third, who's to say we have to know all God's reasons? Who ever promised us all the answers? Animals can't understand much about us; why should we be able to understand everything about God? The obvious point of the Book of Job, the world's greatest exploration of the problem of evil, is that we just don't know what God is up to. What a hard lesson to learn: Lesson One, that we are ignorant, that we are infants! No wonder Socrates was declared by the Delphic Oracle to be the wisest man in the world. He interpreted that declaration to mean that he alone knew that he did not have wisdom, and that was true wisdom for man.

A child on the tenth story of a burning building cannot see the firefighters with their safety net on the street. They call up, 'Jump! We'll catch you. Trust us.' The child objects, 'But I can't see you.' The firefighter replies, 'That's all right. I can see you. We are like that child, evil is like the fire, our ignorance is like the smoke, God is like the firefighter, and Christ is like the safety net. If there are situations like this where we must trust even fallible human beings with our lives, where we must trust what we hear, not what we see, then it is reasonable that we must trust the infallible, all-seeing God when we hear from his word but do not see from our reason or experience. We cannot know all God's reasons, but we can know why we cannot know."

1 comment:

Miss Muffet said...

" We are like that child, evil is like the fire, our ignorance is like the smoke, God is like the firefighter, and Christ is like the safety net."

What a great example!