“My argument against God was the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.” C.S. Lewis
As Christians, we often contemplate the seeming paradox of a perfectly good God and a cruel and unjust world. The existence of hunger, war, torture, even natural disasters, seem inexplicable in this context. Some even say that if God exists such things wouldn’t happen in the world. They become nihilists; concluding that the world and life has no meaning. It’s easy to fall into this existential quagmire;
If God is good → then tragedy will not happen → therefore → God does not exist.
C.S. Lewis, however, tells us that this explanation is too simplistic. God is not a one dimensional being. God is complex. God gave his only son for our salvation. His son, too, is complex. God did not send a magician or caricature figure, flanked by beautifully dressed exotic kings, who waves a wand and ends all evil. Instead, God sent a three dimensional being in God’s own likeness who was born, lived, and died; thereby completing the trinity of life. Jesus understood the nature of good and evil and how they co-exist. In the desert Jesus was tempted by the devil. He responded to each temptation with scripture in its complexity. Thus, the Messiah is an example of living alongside a world that consists of both good and evil.
This Advent, we do not await a magical savior. We await a teacher, a messenger, who teaches us how to exist in a world where evil also exists. The question is not “If then.” The question is “How then should we?” John tells us, that “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” [John 1:18] John makes it clear. The Messiah helps us to know a complex God.
The anticipated Messiah prepares us to know God and to answer complex questions of life through scripture and prayer. He teaches us that it is only by knowing unjustness that can we recognize justice. He teaches us to answer evil with prayer and supplication that comes from the knowledge of God’s word. Let us await this Messiah in hope and prayer, accepting the nature of his complexity.