Monday, June 10, 2013

God's Power Is Made Perfect In Weakness

I realize the last couple posts do not make a whole lot of sense if read with the idea of a "tri-omni" God. In other words, a God who is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent. If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good, then my previous posts make no sense. But experience proves the tri-omni God a falsehood. There is simply no way that God can be all three of those. The death of one innocent child is enough to shatter that myth (I've read this is a quote attributable to Dostoevsky but can't find the source). If I have to choose the most important of the three omnis, I choose all-good. An all-loving God has been a common thread in the last couple of posts.

Scripture itself hints at the limits of God's power (although it is blatant in its asserting a tri-omni God as well): "my power is made perfect in weakness." This is a beautiful statement. Just because God isn't ALL-powerful doesn't mean God isn't powerful. God is most powerful when most weak. Jesus-on-the-cross weak.

Since I believe in the importance of experience, perhaps a case study is in order. C.S. Song has said that Christianity should not be easy after the Holocaust. I agree 100%. In fact, any theology that hasn't wrestled with the Holocaust, both in the ways that Christianity contributed to anti-Semitism as well as what the Holocaust means for theology in general, is not deserving of attention. With that in mind, I turn to a Holocaust story.

Janus Korczak was a well known pedagogue in Poland. He was from a Jewish family. When the Nazis established the Warsaw Ghetto, Korczak's orphanage was forced to move inside the ghetto walls. Korczak accompanied the children to the new orphanage and lived there with them. When the ghetto was liquidated, Korczak was offered safe passage given his prominence in Polish society. He refused and accompanied the orphans to Treblinka. From here, there is no corroborated evidence of their fate, but most likely Korczak and the children were murdered at Treblinka. I have no doubt Korczak kept them close and huddled under his wings for as long as possible.

Where was the tri-omni God in this story? Absent because that God is dead. The all-loving God, however, was present to the same extent as on Calvary. God is not omnipotent. God could not prevent the Holocaust. But God could show power in weakness by accompanying orphans, in the person of Janus Korczak, into the ghetto. And from the ghetto to the train. And from the train to death. I will take the God of Korczak over the God of kings any day.

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