Saturday, March 03, 2007

Von Balthasar on the Mystery of Sin and Suffering

“At a human level we can understand that sin must be expiated, either by the sinner himself or perhaps by some other in his stead, for it is evident that, in intending evil, man not only disturbs the order of being as a whole but actually damages his own good nature. Indeed, he may even ruin it entirely. If, behind the established world order, we see a God who has founded it in love and thus accompanies it, it is not hard to understand that his love can appear in the mode of anger, punishing the disruption of his order by the imposition of suffering. . . Suffering has an educative function, makes us aware of the seriousness of life and death and of man’s final goal. Furthermore, suffering spurs man on to fight against it, this is most definitely part of his task in the world, stimulating him to make countless discoveries”

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Blogger Steve Bogner said...

'it is not hard to understand that his love can appear in the mode of anger', which leads to suffering as punishment...

I guess I do have a hard time understanding that. I always saw suffering as part of the human condition, more of an indirect consequence instead of a direct consequence from God in response to sin. My theological training is limited to a couple college classes, so there' probably something I'm missing...

1:49 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I just wrote a post about Balthasar. Maybe you can answer my question (over there)? I also wrote about you, but in that instance, there were no Tarot Cards involved.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Garpu the Fork said...

I think I'm with Steve. Sometimes suffering doesn't have a direct cause beyond our own human frailty (sickness, abuse, etc). I think his quote holds for suffering caused by our sins, but the child who's abused or the person who comes down with some illness didn't do anything to cause their own suffering.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Mark Mossa, SJ said...

This is an interesting question. While I admit some discomfort with the idea of God causing suffering, it is not inconsistent with Scripture, and I find interesting what VB has to say later--Often an experience of suffering is exactly what we need to be creative in our efforts to end suffering. Any loving parent knows that sometimes you have to risk your child hating you for imposing some kind of "suffering" on them, for their own good. In our human experience, anyway, this is not inconsistent with love, and often this is the only analogy we have (albeit not perfect) for our experience of God.

4:35 PM  
Blogger milanta said...

Hey, How about St. Anselmo theology in this matters? Greetings from Peru!

1:40 AM  

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