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Creator of creators

"Creator of creators" Continued...

Issue: "Shattered dreams," April 5, 2008

WORLD: Right, and there are many miracles all the time that we don't notice.

MIDDELMANN: Absolutely.

WORLD: So when we pray with a clause such as, "If it be Your will," is that shorthand for, "If You can do this without doing violence to Your own character?"

MIDDELMANN: Yeah.

WORLD: We're saying, "We know Your character as best we can in our fallen way. We don't want You to do violence to it and we also know that there are a lot of things going on that we don't know."

MIDDELMANN: That's right. Donald Rumsfeld used to say there are the known unknowns and then the unknown unknowns. When he talked about this world as untidy, that's right: It is untidy. . . . In Russia, history as such is personified deity, and we're all on this necessary progression through struggle and conflicts towards a more perfect world. The practical attitude of most Russians is we'll just wait and see what happens.

WORLD: Sometimes events are materialistically determined, sometimes spiritually determined, but always determined?

MIDDELMANN: It's your assignment from God if you're an Orthodox. It's determined by the stars if you're a materialist.

WORLD: As in Hinduism.

MIDDELMANN: Yeah, absolutely. All of these [worldviews] are religions and they are all basically the same. Christianity and Judaism are not religions and are totally different. Religions tie you into a bigger whole and that bigger whole determines you-whether it's Allah, or African tribal faith, or Buddhist oneness of being, or materialist energy. In each case you lose yourself like a drop of water falling into the ocean. It's comfy because you're one among billions and you no longer have a life. Only Christianity says you're made in the image of God-"I give you a name, stand up, and take dominion. Be accountable, but I want to talk to you. I want you to enjoy Me."

WORLD: The hardest thing is theodicy: the question of how you can have a good God and yet all this evil occurs.

MIDDELMANN: The Bible emphasizes that every moment of life before God and before each other is of central importance, and thus no amount of bliss takes away the tragedy of the now. When Christ was on the cross saying "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?" that was not diminished by His knowledge that three hours later He would be able to say, "It is finished." That was a real separation.

WORLD: But is our view of it substantially changed? After all, we call the day of the crucifixion Good Friday. We would not be calling it that were it not for the Resurrection on Easter.

MIDDELMANN: Yeah, but it's God's Friday. There's nothing good about it. I don't think we need to have bad experiences to enjoy the good and reject the evil. I propose that's a modern notion of beauty. You can't enjoy marriage until you've had a divorce-that's baloney. You can't enjoy a BMW until you've had a '57 Plymouth with rusted whatever? No, you enjoy it because it's a beautiful machine.

WORLD: But don't you treasure it more if you've had the clunker?

MIDDELMANN: Only if you're insensitive to its internal composition. No, I don't think you need a clunker.

WORLD: I need a clunker.

Excerpt from The Innocence of God

"We are told to rejoice in all situations, not for them without discernment. I am thankful for the true and good things I learn, but not always for the ways that I came to that knowledge. I am glad for God's presence and faithfulness, but not always for the circumstances in which I came to greater understanding."

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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