Who’s stronger? Underdog or Mighty Mouse? Silly question but we humans will often have conversations based on absurdities. Especially where God is concerned.
“His Omnipotence means power to do all that is intrinsically possible, not to do the intrinsically impossible. You may attribute miracles to Him, but not nonsense. This is no limit to His power. If you choose to say “God can give a creature free-will and at the same time withhold free-will from it,” you have not succeeded in saying anything about God: meaningless combinations of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prefix to them the two other words
“God can”. It remains true that all things are possible with God: the intrinsic impossibilities are not things but nonentities. It is no more possible for God than for the weakest of His creatures to carry out both of two mutually exclusive alternatives; not because His power meets an obstacle, but because nonsense remains non-sense even when we talk it about God.”
~ C.S. Lewis; The Problem of Pain; Chapter 2, Divine Omnipotence
C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain is a heady read. More than once I have been forced to confer with the dictionary and read then re-read a chapter to grasp his meaning, but it’s a good read if you are so inclined.
I chose the above paragraph because I really appreciated the line that “nonsense remains non-sense even when we talk it about God.” I appreciate it because I think that much of what is talked about is indeed non-sense.
Often people talk that since God is love, we humans should be happy. But God’s love for us does not necessarily equate and manifest into the happiness of man; but rather the love of God manifests into what is best for us.
“But God wills our good, and our good is to love Him (with that responsive love proper to creatures) and to love Him we must know Him: and if we know Him, we shall in fact fall on our faces. if we do not, that only shows that what we are trying to love is not yet God — though it may be the nearest approximation to God which our thought and fantasy can attain. Yet the call is not only to prostration and awe; it is to a reflection of the divine life, a creaturely participation in the divine attributes which is far beyond our present desires. We are bidden to “put on Christ”, to become like God. That is, whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want. Once more, we are embarrassed by the intolerable compliment, by too much love, not too little.”
~ C.S. Lewis; The Problem of Pain; Chapter 3, Divine Goodness
Ultimately, we humans have to take time to examine what we consider happiness to actually mean.
The other day I watched an interview of Floyd Mayweather and listened to him talk about the $350,000,000 that he was going to make on the Macgregor fight. Then the next day I heard an expose about a man from up-north Michigan who did over $100,00,000 in revenue from his tee-shirt business, and added to that was the Powerball lottery was promising $700,000,000 to the winner. I found that I was feeling unhappy and dissatisfied with my life because I was not wealthy but then I got ahold of myself and started re-ordering my thoughts.
When I thought about it, I remembered that when I was 24 years old I was not in a position of success, but rather I was seriously in a place in my life that I figured I would be living under the board walk in Atlantic City; bankrupt and living off dropped quarters. But now, almost 30 years later, I am married to a woman I do not deserve, I have four children that tickle me to the core, and I work as a minister doing what I know, without a doubt, that I have been created to do. After assessing the reality of my life I know that I am certainly happy, and money really has nothing to do with it. I am reminded about a line from the movie Cool Runnings with John Candy where he tells his athlete that if a person needs a gold medal in order to be enough, then they will never be enough when they get one. I think that is how happiness in life is.
Ultimately, Lewis writes, humans make stuff up in our own thinking; even utter non-sense in order to explain away the realization of God in our lives. But for those of us who actually care about Truth, we will assess the meaning that we assign to the words that we use and really grapple with how we define things.