Things God can't do

''If God is omnipotent, could He make a rock so heavy He couldn't lift it?'' During the Middle Ages, philosophers argued endlessly over questions such as this. Answer yes, and you have the contradiction of an omnipotent God being unable to do something -- lift that rock. Answer no, and of course, you have the same apparent paradox -- limited omnipotence.

Many later philosophers expressed the view that paradoxes such as this were semantical, not substantive or logical, and now probably few theologians lose sleep over the question of infinitely heavy rocks and irresistible force. Yet the question of what God can or cannot do is far from trivial. It goes to the very heart of our concept of God.

The major moral problem of monotheism is to explain how, if God is infinite good and made all things, the existence of evil is to be accounted for. Traditionally, theology has taken the ''yes, God could create a rock so heavy He couldn't lift it'' approach to this question. Although God is infinite good, He is supposed to allow evil so that his creation, endowed with free will, can choose evil or good freely.

To many people, this answer seems less than satisfactory -- logically, morally, and spiritually. But instead of concluding that our ideal of what God shouldm be is better than He is, maybe we should consider the possibility that He is actually infinitely betterm than even our best concept of Him.

Christian Science asks the person who believes there must be a God, but who can't accept that a good God could create evil, to consider a new line of reasoning. What if we start with the idea that God, Spirit, is truly infinite good and then see where this leads us, irrespective of what our material senses may now be telling us.

What must we conclude about the creation of such a Deity? Wouldn't His universe have to express His nature; wouldn't it have to be infinite and spiritual? And if man was truly made in God's image and likeness, as the Bible asserts, then must not man eternallym be as good and perfect as his Maker? The logic holds true, even if now we may not understand how it works out practically.

Certainly there is nothing unbiblical about this line of reasoning. The first account of creation in the Bible says that God's work was finished and concludes with the declaration, ''God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.'' n1 Either this is so, or it's not. Now comes the challenging part. What if we prayerfully hold to the reality of this spiritual creation and this divine logic right in the face of the seeming existence of evilm -- sin, disease, and death? What would happen?

n1 Genesis 1:31.

At this point, one might be thinking that nothing could be more illogical -- or pointless. But fortunately for us, we have a perfect example of what does happen when this divine truth of God and man is really seen and understood. ''Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals,'' writes the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. ''In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick.'' n2

n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 476-477.

And it still does heal, contradicting all materialistic logic and false views of God and man. It heals because it is truth -- and power. The answer to the problem of evil is not a lame ''God can make a rock so heavy He can't lift it'' logic, but the scientific demonstrationm of evil's actual unreality in God's scheme of things.

When we pray with spiritual vision, affirming the eternal perfection of God and man, we are letting that divine Mind be in us ''which was also in Christ Jesus.'' n3 And in the Christlike consciousness of God's presence, evil is destroyed, for in His presence, sin, sickness, and death cannot exist. This wonderful truth is something anyone can begin proving for himself today.

n3 Philippians 2:5.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work . . . Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. II Corinthians 9:8, 15

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