Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Some schooling here, some schooling there

Yikes - Pei Yusei is posting! There must have been some kind of national crisis, or a natural disaster, or the second coming or something.

No, I just decided to get off my fatless ass and actually tell the world about something for the first time in almost a month. As far as exciting events go . . . nothing to report here. However, I will probably be moving to Vancouver in a couple of weeks, which is reasonably exciting. It almost even makes up for having no hockey to watch. Actually, no it doesn't.

The other most interesting thing going on in my life is my schooling, which always provides me with new and stimulating things to think about. The most recent thing concerns the age-old problem of how you can believe in a God who allows terrible things to happen. The argument is that either God is not loving (in which case all of the suffering makes sense) or he is not all-powerful (in which case he has no control over his creation).

What I learned about yesterday is the Kabbalistic tradition, which argues that in creating the universe, God had to withdraw himself from what he was creating, in order for something that is other than himself to exist. Since he withdrew himself from his creation, this means that the world is literally God-forsaken in some sense of the word.

In "God In Creation", Jurgen Moltmann argues that in removing himself from creation, he wasn't acting out of apathy or hatred, but out of love. By creating something "out of his control" (in the sense that things could then happen in his creation against his will, regardless of whether or not he could put a stop to it), he was making himself vulnerable to his creation, allowing it the inevitable opportunity to rebel against him. In coming to earth, he literally placed himself in the hands of his creation, and was worked over and then crucified. So, in essence, the God who removed himself from creation also placed himself within it, at its mercy. The God whose creation suffers suffers along with his creation.

Well, this may not feel like much consolation for somebody going through chemotherapy, but in some sense it can be. To know that God himself suffers along with us is quite reassuring.