Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

A Response (or at least some thoughts) to Rob

I've spent a lot of time thinking about the tsunami disaster over the last day or so, which, as Rob suggest in his reference to the Christmas season, is particularly poignant as we gaze upon the creche, and even more so today as we celebrate the feast of the Massacre of the Innocents.  (More than 10,000 of those killed....probably a lot more....have been children.)

Rob's post says if we want our project to be taken seriously we must try to offer an explanation of a world in which tsunamis rip children from their mother's arms.  I'm not sure it is possible to offer an explanation that would be accepted by the critics.

It is true, as Rob suggests, that many people view an appeal to the mystery of God as a cop-out.  Yet part of understanding and accepting that we are creations of God is understanding and accepting that we are not God and that there are things we will never understand.  Things like this disaster may fall into that category. (If there is a better answer to this than mystery of God, I've yet to find it.  Death, disease and destruction that are the product of individual and group sin are easy to understand.  I don't know how to make sense of this and I agree with Rob's criticism of the other common response about creation falling with humanity.  If others have better explanations, I'll be grateful to hear their thoughts.)  Part of God's invitation to us is: will you walk with me even if you don't understand. 

Now, I fully accept that is difficult to make the foregoing persuasive to someone without belief.  But the reality is what it is, and we can't simply make up something more acceptable.

I don't think, however, that the fact that natural disasters cause the death of many people prevents us from insisting on the theologically grounded dignity of the human person.  Our dignity comes from being created in the image of God, and our creation in God's image is not changed by the fact that God lets innocents be killed, as God allowed God's own innocent Son be killed.  And God weeps along with us at their deaths and at the suffering of those left behind.



Stabile, Susan | Permalink

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