How does God manage
to be actively involved in a world
whose events are shaped by
the natural laws that God prefers not to repeal
and the human freedom that He refuses to oppose?
We’ve already rejected the image of a Watchmaker God
who isn’t involved in the operation of His creation–
or that of the Puppet Master who maintains complete control
over nature and humanity.
What would be a more appropriate image
for such a peculiar God,
a God who, instead of force, guides
both nature and humanity.
There is not one, but three images.
The first is the image of a dance partner
to express how God tries to influence us in our decisions
without forcing us.
When you dance with someone,
you can lead your partner through a whole array
of movements like hand gestures, as well as verbal cues.
But your partner is free to follow your lead or not.
God guides us in the same way:
He is subtle in His promptings
and consistently respectful of our choices.
The second image that we can use is God as a farmer
to represent how God painstakingly takes care of creation
without destroying what may be undesirable there.
In the Parable of the Wheat and Weeds (Mt 13:24-30),
our Lord talks about how a farmer refrains
from uprooting the weed out of fear
of harming some of the wheat in the process.
Hence, God will allows the evil in the world,
but will destroy it when it is fitting to do so
at the end of time.
The last metaphor is a mountain stream
to illustrate how even if He does not use force
in getting what He wants
and allows evil, God’s Will will prevail in the end.
A stream flowing from the mountain peak
will certainly meet every sort of obstacle
like boulders and trees. But the mountain stream
will find a way around every barrier on its way
and no matter how many stand on its way,
will always manage to find its way to the river.
In the same way, God’s Will encounters
much opposition in this world of ours,
but God will somehow make sure
that all things will still work out
according to His Will.
Images from alamy.com, arthurmurraydancenow.com