Even a little god would have been enough

Yesterday, Pastor John Piper listened to a radio interview with Rabbi Harold Kushner, talking about the Minneapolis bridge disaster (Piper pastors Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis). He then penned a response.

Those of us who have read Kushner’s famous book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” will not be surprised at his comments in the interview. Kushner’s usual tack is to lay out the relative impotence of God — seeking to defend God by pointing out that God does all he can, and that’s all we can ask; also that God is not involved, has no intention, in all things, so we should realize some things are simply random. It’s like Dr. Brand’s question regarding a person with malaria; do we really believe that God is arrowing the paths of each and every tiny mosquito, and that he sent this mosquito to infect this person? Of course, the problem with this viewpoint (that God isn’t involved with bridges or mosquitos) is that it is Biblically unsupportable (“all things” according to the counsel of his own will; “all things together for good”), and ultimately lacks comfort. If a disaster is simply a disaster, if there’s no ordering of the universe, no overseeing power to ensure that everything comes out right in the end — then where is comfort? Where can hope be found in the darkest hour?

But what I found interesting in Piper’s response was his pointing out that God didn’t need to be all-powerful to prevent the disaster. Piper’s not saying God isn’t omnipotent; he affirms it earlier. He’s pointing out to Kushner that even a tiny god could have intervened. Kushner’s defense that God is simply unable to do better thus loses yet another pillar; even a small god (should one exist; this is supposition for argument’s sake) could have kept this from happening.

Our comfort is that God is everywhere the pain is. The God who lifted up a cross against darkness and death, a cross holding his own beloved Son and dripping his own blood — this God is everywhere there is disaster, and this God is unfolding a glorious, loving wisdom powerfully, ensuring that all will come to good in the end. That every creature — in heaven, on the earth, under the earth…EVERY creature — will ultimately say, “He is worthy.”

He is.

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