Monday, November 11, 2002

I'm in the habit of alerting you whenever Roberto Rivera posts a new article, and I'll commend another one to you today. Rivera's A Way of Knowing deals realistically, yet responsibly with the difficulty that we often have with reconciling suffering and evil with the goodness of God. Rivera leans a fair bit on Augustine as a model for dealing with this:

In On Order , Saint Augustine wrote, "There is nothing that even the most gifted people desire more than to finally understand how, taking into account the amount of evil in this world, one can still believe that God cares about human affairs."

For Augustine, the problem of pain, suffering, and evil wasn't an abstraction. He experienced nearly inconsolable grief at the death of loved ones—and the man regarded as the holiest man in Christendom did not look forward to his own death. He understood that evil, the way that it seems to be woven into the fabric of creation, is probably the biggest obstacle to faith in the Christian God—something that hasn't changed in the sixteen centuries since Augustine's time.

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