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delight as the evidence of God's providence, but the one that falls. It is often (shall we say more often?) the child that dies which is the cause of spiritual enrichment to its parents and not the child that lives. We can hardly talk about a "meaningless sacrifice" where we are unable to follow the effects of the sacrifice on life. The ultimate mystery is there, in our inability to trace the action of life upon life; to understand the relation of the several parts to the great whole; to understand what the dying baby means in the life of the world.


It will be obvious that I dissent utterly from much Christian apologetic in this matter of pain. That apologetic is evoked by the attacks of unbelief upon the character of God. "Such a God as you postulate," it says to Christians, "a God of infinite power and infinite goodness, is inconceivable as the creator and ruler of such a world as we live in. How can we believe that a being able to set right the injustice and abolish the misery of this world should not do so? To say that all will ultimately be set right in some future state of existence is trifling with the problem of which the seriousness has only to be felt, to be held intolerable for any space of time whatsoever by anyone capable of effectively dealing with it. The pain of the world negatives either the goodness or the power of such a being as you postulate: you may take your choice. In either case your hypothesis falls."

Much apologetic has been driven (in another sense of the word) to apologize for God by the pressure of this attack. It seeks to relieve the tension by throwing the responsibility for the existence of suffering either on sin or on nature. But it is plain enough that, allow as much as we will for pain as the outcome of a rebellious will, we neither cover the whole ground nor account for the continuance, the toleration, of suffering. Admitting freely that the existence of moral evil entailing suffering is involved in the creation of beings endowed with free will, and admitting further that the ends to be obtained by the creation are sufficiently important to justify the inci


dental suffering incurred on the way to their attainment, still you leave a whole suffering world untouched. It is no doubt true that Professor Huxley's picture of the world of nature as one where, were our ears sharp enough, we should hear sighs and groans of pain like those heard by Dante at the gate of Hell," is overcharged; but we shall still find it somewhat difficult to accept Professor Wallace's minimizing account of the same phenomena. When the present writer was a boy he looked into the eyes of a wild dove that he had shot and he has never wanted to shoot anything since. Pain is in the world - pain which is not the result of personal sin — by virtue of its creation as a sentient world; and the degree of it in the world would not seem much to matter. I do not believe that the dove died painlessly: and the wail of the dying baby reaches me from the cottage where its mother watches helplessly over its last agony.

Neither is it possible for the Christian so to divorce in thought God and nature as to relieve God of the responsibility for the operation of the natural world. To conceive of nature as a vast complex of phenomena governed by laws which were imposed upon it in the fact of its creation and the operations of which are inevitable and subject to no alteration or interference by the will of God, is an essentially atheistic attitude. Religion can know nothing of nature as a self-subsisting and self-satisfying whole. To religion, nature must always be an expression of the ever-present and ever-operative divine will. Here, to be sure, we may again minimize, we may throw out large masses of suffering as the result of the evil will in rebellion; we may correlate the dying dove with the lust to destroy for his own amusement which was in the boy - though, God knows, he had no evil intent but was throbbing with pure joy of existence. We may set down other large masses to the ignorance of man who is so slow to learn the lessons of the facts at his disposal and to unfold the knowledge implicit in the data that he has. The disease of which the child is dying is, no doubt, curable by means at man's disposal had he sufficiently educated himself. It is indeed surprising, when one has analyzed all the forms of

suffering one has observed, to find how few of them escape from the categories of sin and ignorance. Yet explain and minimize as we will there remains an irreducible minimum which refuses to be connected with either sin or ignorance; and always in the back-ground there looms the fact that the world with its ignorance and its possibility of erring wills is as it was made. It would seem as though God declined to yield His responsibility. And always there remains the fact that if the world be as bad as we think it is, infinite power could and infinite goodness would ring down the curtain upon the tragedy.

Apologetic seems to me to have been driven to its ingenious methods of relieving God from responsibility for the suffering of the world by a wholly unnecessary adoption of the point of view in regard to pain which is assumed in the attack of unbelief. It is widely assumed as a fact admitting no discussion that suffering is inharmonious with goodness: that goodness is at once put on the defensive and must explain itself if it can be shown to be in any case responsible for the existence of suffering. Professor Huxley asserts that the world as he sees it cannot be governed by what we call benevolence and Professor Wallace does not deny that this is true if Professor Huxley sees rightly. What he denies is Professor Huxley's interpretation of the facts - denies that they do, indeed, imply animal suffering in any such high degree.

At present I am concerned to deny that suffering is inconsistent with goodness: to deny the rightness of the perfectly intelligible human impulse to confound discomfort with wrong. Suffering may or may not be the symptom of evil, but it is not so in itself, and therefore one feels no impulse toward atheism when one finds that one lives in a suffering world. One of the notable facts of revelation is the perfect acceptance by God of complete responsibility for the world and all that is in it, save the revolt of man from His will. If we have traveled far from this point of view we have traveled an unfortunately chosen road. So soon as you attempt to relieve God from responsibility for suffering you make both God and the world unintelligible.

For the most part the Old Testament writers show no feeling that any such problem of suffering as has distressed the modern mind so much as exists. God, through them, quite frankly accepts His responsibility as Creator and Governor of the world. This is no optimistic pretence that the suffering which is everywhere found is only an apparent suffering — it is very real and is due to the deliberate action of God. This action is mostly conceived as punitive and disciplinary action, as intervention of God in the human life for the purpose of setting it right. I do not recall that there is anywhere visible in the Bible the question, so pressing to the modern mind, raised by the suffering of the animal world. God deals out good and evil with a righteous hand, so the prophets feel, and controls social and national forces and directs them in His moral government of the world. "I form light and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I, the Lord, do all these things;" such is the sweeping assertion of God. By the mouth of another prophet He asked: "Shall evil befall the city and the Lord have not done it?" The claim to direct the forces of the natural world to punitive ends is contained in the characterization of the sword, famine, noisome beast and pestilence as my four sore judgments." The "evil" which God" creates " is, of course, not moral evil, but suffering of some kind. There is not anywhere in this Old Testament dealing with the subject, so far as I can see, any feeling that pain in itself is a thing which throws out a challenge to justice, and contains an indictment of the universe. The cry of the non-moral world for justice is not yet heard.

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But the cry for justice makes itself heard with insistence in certain of the later writings of the Old Testament. Yet in them the problem of which the pressure is felt so intensely is not that the suffering of the innocent is wrong in itself: it is not that the innocent have the right to resent suffering: but that the fact that they suffer casts a shadow of disgrace upon their character, attaches to them a stigma of moral guilt. The theory which is combated so fiercely in the Book of Job is the theory that suffering is a revelation of the moral decadence of the sufferer; that, hide his sin as deeply as he may, God reveals

it when he sends pain into his life. "Never saw I the righteous foresaken, nor his seed begging their bread," is a theory of life which is becoming intolerable. Man begins to resent pain because pain disgraces him: but he does not assert any conviction that the existence of pain is incompatible with the existence of almighty goodness. Pain is still the good-will of God; what he revolts against is the human misinterpretation of this meaning.


It is the Incarnation of the Son of God which puts the whole matter of suffering in a new light. The Incarnation ought forever to have made impossible the assertion that pain and suffering cast a doubt on the existence or power of justice and goodness. In the Incarnation God assumes suffering to Himself: and the experience of Incarnate God, in Whom is no sin, evidences both the guiltless tue of suffering and its compatibility with the goodness of God. What God assumes to Himself cannot be morally evil: what God wills that the innocent shall undergo cannot be inconsistent with goodness. After looking upon the Cross we come back to the facts of life with a new appreciation of them.

There is nothing in pain to raise any question of the goodness of God. We can only think that there is if we assume, as we most often implicitly assume, that goodness must express itself toward us in terms of comfort. I know of nothing to justify any such assumption. We do not ourselves assume in the direction of life, so far as we are able to control it, that comfort is the end to be sought. We deliberately choose to be uncomfortable for the attainment of such aims and ambitions as seem to us worth while. We recognize that the ideal of comfort is low and mean, and demand that those under our guidance shall discipline themselves with the discipline of self-denial. And if it be said that such self-denial and self-subjection to the discipline of hardness is the outcome of living in an imperfect order, and that in an ideal world - a world "governed by what we call benevolence "- the necessity for such things would not exist; I answer, that the supposition is without any

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