This is one of those overly familiar quotations bandied about by people who probably don’t crack open a Bible from one year to the next. It is from Matthew 19:26, and the context is Jesus telling us that while our salvation may be difficult, God can and will accomplish it. In accordance with His desires, of course…not ours.
The issue of God’s ability to do anything arises naturally in the face of “natural” disasters such as Katrina. There is a nuanced article on this aspect of theodicy at Beliefnet. “Nuanced” being used in a negative sense, as the author tries far too hard to accomodate various schools of thought, to the point of incoherence. My greatest beef is that he didn’t cite Matthew 19:26, while citing Harold Kushner (saccharine warning; bad things do happen to “good” people, imagine that):
Perhaps we would do well to listen to the likes of Rabbi Harold Kushner, who contends that God is not really as powerful as we have claimed. Nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures does it say that God is omnipotent. Kushner points out that omnipotence is a Greek philosophical concept, but it is not in his Bible. Instead, the Hebrew Bible contends that God is mighty. That means that God is a greater force in the universe than all the other forces combined.
“God is not really as powerful as we have claimed.” Well, guess I just became a Greek. All things are possible with God, just as it says in Scripture. And I stand with Martin Luther’s answer to the question, where was God when Luther’s son died? Luther’s answer, which is the answer to where God is in all human suffering, is “The same place he was when His son died.”
| technorati tag | Christianity|