Last week I mused on the fact that there are still people in the world whom we admire. Those who are honest, authentic and trustworthy. The largely pessimistic world around us tacitly admits that such a category exists, but cynically estimates that there’s hardly a person alive who occupies it.
Now it’s true that the Christian will agree that no person is truly good. But the basic characteristic of a Christian is that he is passionate about so living with, and being filled by, his perfect Creator that he is being daily remade into something more whole, and real and good. And his behavior by and large demonstrates his genuineness. I personally know many such people.
These thoughts reminded me of a young man I have been talking with. He is troubled by the old question of how a loving, benevolent God can have created a world that has shown so much darkness, agony and wickedness throughout most of its history. I talked with him about imaging a balance. On one side of the balance is the total sum of all the pain, betrayal, and treachery of the ages. On the other side is the value of free choice that God has endowed us with, and the potential for each of us to regain true unity with our Creator God, in all of his authenticity and splendor. Which side of the balance is heavier?
The doubter feels immediately that this question drastically underestimates the weight of wickedness endured since the beginning of history. And it’s true, that weight of wickedness is unimaginable. None of us can imagine the depth of suffering of, for example, the holocaust. And that is just a speck in the whole saga of history.
But what of the other side of the balance? I think our error is not in underestimating the weight of wickedness, but in how miniscule is our understanding of what C S Lewis called the Weight of Glory. The weightiness of those who have chosen to become Sons of God.
And, wait for it, here’s the truly breathtaking thought. What if only one person, through all of history, had made that choice. Would just one true saint outweigh the total sum of suffering? I think the answer might just be Yes. Does that give us just a hint of how tiny our understanding is of the real meaning of “Sons of God”? It’s like comparing one hydrogen atom with the whole universe. But I have a feeling that that is how it is.