Sayings of a Gadfly
by Max Maxwell

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A man said, “God is the omnipotent, sovereign Lord of the universe.” 

The Gadfly said, “When I think about God’s omnipotence, I remember that on Earth one creature’s babies are another creature’s breakfast.  I ask myself if this way of things is by design or by necessity.  Is it art or economy?  Is this cacophony of violence sweet music to the ears of a strange designer?  Or is it merely a workaround for the existing energy limitations of the universe?  If it is art, then we may have an omnipotent creator who enjoys creating extreme violence, and struggle.  This would be a creator for whom the existence of Nazi concentration camps is not all that far off key.  But if it is economy, then we have a creator who is not able to control all things.   This would be a creator who itself faces much hardship and struggle.  God does not allow some of the horrible things that happen.  God just cannot help it.  But this idea frightens most people. So I expect that the belief in God’s omnipotence will continue to dominate our theology far into the future. 

The man said, “But the Bible says God is omnipotent.” 

The Gadfly replied, “And compared to an amoeba, so are you.  But it is merely human fear, which clings to the belief that something must be in absolute control of all things.  When there is a tornado, or a war, we cry out in fear and outrage to ask how God can allow such great horrors into our life.  But in the universe, whole galaxies crash into and annihilate one another. Chaos and destruction exist on a scale we can hardly imagine.   Do not cling to God’s omnipotence with trembling hands.  For sweating palms, in themselves, cannot bring coherence and truth to an idea.  I say God is not omnipotent.  And to embrace the struggle of life in our own weakness is to embrace God’s own nature and situation.   I think we have a creator who knows what fighting for its life really means.  And whatever God has come to value as beautiful, just, meaningful and holy, it has learned in the context of struggle.   When we embrace our own struggle, we may learn of the divine spirit that is within us.”

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© Copyright 2014 Kenneth J Maxwell Jr.