Can the Christians jump through any more theological hoops? I thought I had heard it all and then I listened to a recording of Michael Brown debating Bart Ehrman on Does the Bible Provide an Adequate Answer to the Problem of Suffering? at Ohio State University on April 15, 2010. Brown addresses the issue of how to account geologically and theologically for natural disasters before the appearance of human beings, how to connect human sin and the world going so haywire. Brown refers to how prisons are built in new cities in anticipation of crimes that have not been committed but will be committed, how hospitals are constructed to handle emergencies that haven’t happened but will happen, and how car insurance rates are based on projections using past accident statistics. Brown quotes William Dembsky who argues that God acted transtemporarily, in anticipation of how humans would sin, and willed the disordering of creation before the creation of human beings.
That has to be the nuttiest idea from Christians I’ve heard in a long time. I don’t know whether to cry for a few hours or weep for a week.
The book of Job tells us that when Job’s friends saw the degree of his suffering they kept their mouths shut. Didn’t say a word. Later, they do speak their theological garbage. And later, surprisingly, God defends Job who has given him hell and expresses displeasure with the “God-defenders/Job accusers”.
Maybe when it comes to suffering Christians just talk too much.
The story goes (if I remember correctly) that some students at Princeton Seminary attached Bible verses to balloons and then released them up into the sky. Commenting on the balloon evangelism the Seminary President stated, “The Apostle Paul told us to be fools for Christ’s sake, not damm fools.”
If you have any extra time, pray the Christians will just deal with not being able to explain everything.