Nickles was right,
in his succinct word,
an embittered expression
spoken from the Job-ian depths of sorrow’s weight
and piercing to the marrow
of theodicy’s painstaking question:
“If God is God, He is not good,
If God is good, He is not God…”
For how can (is) it (able to) be
that evil and suffering,
the evil of suffering,
hath found so permanent a habitation
in this creation –
as dreamed in the Mind of the Omnipotent Master,
as clay, deemed precious, formed by the Hand of the Benevolent Potter,
as dust, the stuff of the stars, shaped to reflect the imago Dei
and into which Spirit-Breath imparted (making whole) living souls?
Souls who, so made, from the beginning,
hath believed in the existence of justice;
yet who, from the dawn of time,
their cries upward bounding (battering) Heaven’s Gate
hath viewed under earthen veil so (too) little fairness.
Souls who, thus, hath come to know
that Heaven is to dream of what oft is not seen
and that Hell is to see what alway hath been.
Yet theodicy, as Job, daring to doubt God’s providence,
aye, God’s existence,
by its very question bares the seed of hope.
For, as the Apostle saith:
“Hope that is seen is not hope.
For who hopes for what is seen?
But if we hope for what we do not see,
we wait for it with patience.”
(1) Nickles is a character in J. B. a play in verse (Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1956) by Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982); a 20th century contextual retelling of the biblical Job story.
(2) The quote, “If God is God…He is not God”, page 14
(3) “Hope that is seen is not hope…we wait for it with patience” (Romans 8.24-25)
Job and His Friends (1869), Ilya Yefimovich Repin (1844-1930)
The Creation of Adam (1512), Michelangelo (1475-1564)