“Mary Wiseman, holy mother,
Share your prudence with us, please!
As to wisdom there’s no other
Having greater expertise!”
“I have heard, O Mary Wiseman
You possess all wisdom grand.
Enlighten me, a gentleman.
Help me so to understand:
“I have trekked to many places
Seen so many different things,
Saw religion’s many faces,
Know diversities life brings.
“The common place that I beheld
Linking everything I knew:
That evils ne’er can be withheld,
Suffering is all that’s true.
“Solve this problem for me, Mary,
Tell me why I should believe?
Trust a God who seems to tarry
When men murder and deceive?
“Unless, that is, God never was.
Only made within our mind,
Manufactured idols because
Needed we some hope to find.”
Mary answered saying courtly:
“Many issues lie within
This problem you have raised to me.
Well now, where should I begin?”
“The issue’s heart: God and evil.
Many think the two cannot
Co-exist since the primeval
Days when sin’s disease was caught.
“So some will say: ‘If God is good
Shouldn’t prevent He all bad things
People do, if He knows they would?
Wouldn’t if He’s King of Kings?
“‘Most evils seem to run unchecked.
Suff’ring hurts each one, each day.
Tyrants, rapists, killers reflect
God is not there,’ so some say.
“But I say, if God is not there,
How can we e’er hope to know
What’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’? What’s ‘just’ or ‘fair’?
What’s ‘taboo’ or ‘apropos’?
“Without such God, what’s ‘wrong’ or ‘right’?
Just who decides this standard?
A vote? A teaching? Right by might?
What criteria preferred?
“Morals then can’t be subjective
Can’t exist sole in one’s mind,
Must reflect a pure perspective,
Good, by God, must be defined.
“All morals must objective be,
Apart from human whimsy.
From God: upright, strong, and worthy
From man’s mind: weak and flimsy.
“Some opt for morals personal
Saying, ‘This is just for me.
It’s exclusively internal
“How foolish can such thinking be?
Claiming morals don’t exist
Objective in reality.
Then invent a moral list?
“No different than with Santa Claus
Knowing that he is untrue,
Yet by the chimney camp because
Hopeful he’ll descend the flue!
“For everyone true morals are,
Beyond one man, one thinking,
A virtue wealthy reservoir
For universal drinking.
“Nor relative can morals be,
Wrong and right be ‘just depends’.
Can one be punished righteously
Whimsy shifting means and ends?
“So absolute is where to go
Not relative whatever.
A solid rock, not river’s flow,
Enduring here forever.
“God to law-make is required
Revealing truths for living.
Moral truths are not acquired
Except by Outside giving.
“And God, too, must enforce these laws
Toothless otherwise would be.
The fires of hell exist because
Justice is reality.
“Both God and evil must abide
Since evil has no meaning
Without this God to be our guide
In moral standards gleaning.
“And just in case you’re wondering
If God created evil,
All pains and hurts and suffering
And wickedness medieval.
“Our choosing’s what gave life to it
In the Fall and daily sin.
Our once free wills did sad permit
Evil’s rule to enter in.
“We’re the authors of our folly
Birthing evils everyday
Turning joy to melancholy
Twisting hope into dismay.
“Now the question of inaction
Given evil’s consequence.
Why can’t God in smallest fraction
Come to anyone’s defense?
“How can someone claiming goodness
Having power, might, and rule,
Passive watch as we all transgress
Yet not move a molecule?
“We first forget that this is true:
That God restrains our sinning,
His Spirit quells the worst can do
And this from the beginning.
“You think that evils in this life
No worse can it be getting?
Without God daily calming strife:
Full anarchy begetting.
“All evil is destructive, true,
Often hurts beyond repair.
God’s patience is instructive, too,
As is grace beyond compare.
“If God blasted every sinner
Every act of evil done,
No one left to sit at dinner;
God would cinder everyone.
“All are guilty, no one blameless
No perfection in our midst,
No one faultness, no one shameless,
Sinning’s target no one’s missed.
“Why not some sins, then, the ‘big’ kind?
Why not punish those for sure?
Let the rest have different assigned
Punishments for deeds impure?
“First, no sin’s in isolation,
Evil loves a company.
Single note of violation?
Evil plays a symphony.
“Thus, hate is not a lonely sin,
Hundreds in one heart abound!
Adult’rous hearts have never been
Naught a thousand lusts be found.
“Next, if ‘big’ sins God agreed
He will stop but only those?
Know: smaller sinning plants a seed,
Bigger sinning later grows.
“And where’s the line you mean to draw?
Say at murder, all agree.
Yet you ignore the fatal flaw:
“For evil men will ‘only’ maim
‘Only’ beat and ‘only’ break.
They’ll hurt right up to death, then claim,
‘He’s still alive, still awake!’
“As long as death’s avoided then,
Push they sins right to the line,
Torture freely men and women
Hindered not by hands divine.
“People do this, evil loves to
Work the laws to their effect.
Sin will win and always make you
Wish you weren’t law’s architect.
“Leave all this to God who will thus
Have the wisdom more than we,
Made the world and deeply knows us–
How we think and work and be.
“Because there’s evil in this world
I’m glad that God is present,
That evil one day will be hurled
Into eternal torment.
“Basic is the need for justice,
Need for those now wrongly dead.
That inner truth we can’t dismiss:
Evil must be punishéd.
“If no God, no consequences,
Save the worst that man can do.
What can match the worst offenses?
Hanging? Shooting? Running through?
“Even if a culprit suffers
Ne’er undoes offenses done.
There’s no pain that is enough for
Lives then lost–not even one!
“If God exists, then hell does too,
Punishments the fair require.
His justice spends its revenue
Buying sinners for its fire.
“So why not now? Why does God wait?
Why not burn the Earth with fire?
The hunger of God’s justice sate
In a universal pyre?
“Patience lies behind God’s waiting
Not a lack of wanting to
Expunge all evil, pain, and hating.
Love explains what God does do.
“The self-same moment evils cause
Hurt and damage, pain and loss,
Somewhere one rejoices because
Found she saving at the cross.
“Patience carves the requisite space
Needed to redeem the lost
Give the sinner time in his place
Know his sins and count the cost.
“What of you, sir, now that you’ve heard?
Stand in judgment? Stand in grace?
If you died now, are you assured
That you would behold God’s face?
“It’s doubt I’m seeing in your eyes,
One that’s normal to all souls.
Now glad He does not exercise
Raking men across the coals.
“Glad you have the time to ponder
All these questions in your mind,
Luxury of time to squander,
Grace of space to seek and find.
“Time will come when God will one day
Raze the Earth and all its sin.
Every evil He will then slay.
Justice finally will win.
“Calm He is, O sir, be grateful,
Patient with your every crime,
Tolerating actions hateful,
Second chances, one more time.
“Time to flee God’s reprobation.
Time to fly to heav’nly rest.
Time to find God’s sure salvation.
Time to finally be blessed.”
(Photo by Pixabay)