Into the Depths: Is God Really Good?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Is God Really Good?

Excerpts from A GRIEF OBSERVED by C.S. Lewis

"They tell me H. is happy now, they tell me she is at peace. What makes them so sure of this? I don't mean that I fear the worst of all. Nearly her last words were, 'I am at peace with God.' She had not always been. And she never lied. And she wasn't easily deceived, least of all, in her own favor. I don't mean that. But why are they so sure that all anguish ends with death? More than half the Christian world, and millions in the East, believe otherwise. How do they know she is 'at rest?' Why should the separation (if nothing else) which so agonizes the lover who is left behind be painless to the lover who departs? 'Because she is in God's hands.' But if so, she was in God's hands all the time, and I have seen what they did to her here. Do they suddenly become gentler to us the moment we are out of the body? And if so, why? If God's goodness is inconsistent with hurting us, then either God is not good or there is no God: for in the only life we know He hurts us beyond our worst fears and beyond all we can imagine. If it is consistent with hurting us, then He may hurt us after death as unendurably as before it.

Sooner or later I must face the question in plain language. What reason have we, except our own desperate wishes, to believe that God is, by any standard we can conceive, 'good'? Doesn't all the prima facie evidence suggest exactly the opposite? What have we to set against it? We set Christ against it. But how, if He were mistaken? Almost His last words may have a perfectly clear meaning. He had found that the Being He called Father was horribly and infinitely different from what He had supposed. The trap, so long and carefully prepared and so subtly baited, was at last sprung, on the cross. The vile practical joke had succeeded. What chokes every prayer and every hope is the memory of all the prayers H. and I offered and all the false hopes we had. Not hopes raised merely by our own wishful thinking, hopes encouraged, even forced upon us, by false diagnoses, by X-ray photographs, by strange remissions, by one temporary recovery that might have ranked as a miracle. Step by step we were 'led up the garden path.' Time after time, when He seemed most gracious He was really preparing the next torture."

I love to write, but am not even in the same universe as C.S. Lewis, so I figured I would just let him say this for me. I so relate to his aching heart. I admire that he had the courage to say what most Christians would shriek at.....though if they were honest, I presume, would have to admit relating to. My last post was full of questions. I received some very wise and unexpected comments. How refreshing it was to have Christian people respond to real questions about God and His character, in real and uncondemning ways. Thank you to each of you, but you will have to read my response in the comment section because you,oh so lucky you, have stirred up more questions.


Blogger Shayne said...

I would welcome a chance to talk about any questions you have. Not that I can answer them for you, but maybe together we can reach some sort of breakthrough for both of us. E-mail me at welch351@bellsouth.net.

Until then, I pray that the peace of God floods your whole being. You deserve it.

June 01, 2006 9:59 PM  
Blogger LiteratureLover said...

A Grief Observed. I'm so glad you have that book. C.S. Lewis' writings are amazing - so raw and heartfelt.

As far as questions, please feel free to keep asking. I know my husband and Kyle (the other pastor I told you about) would also welcome your questions.

June 02, 2006 12:20 AM  

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