The Catholic Thing
Evil today Print E-mail
By Alice von Hildebrand   
Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Obviously, evil and suffering are not “problems” – the sort of intellectual difficulty one encounters in science, and for which an answer can be found by patient research. Following Gabriel Marcel, we shall call them “mysteries,” (not supernatural ones), questions which have a dimension of depth that precludes their being “solved,” but which, nevertheless, can be enlightened by wisdom.

Greek tragedies all address this thorny question: the best answer they could give is that the meaning of suffering is to teach foolish men wisdom. Ajax, driven by hubris declared boldly that “to succeed with the help of the gods is no great accomplishment.” He wanted to succeed on his own without any aid. The gods punished him by madness.
In the Old Testament, evil and suffering are clearly linked to sin: man’s revolt against God. Throughout the Old Testament, the “chosen people” rebel against God’s laws. He sent them prophets; many of them were murdered because man’s rebellious heart did not savor their message. God punished them severely. Then they bowed their “stiff neck” for a while. But soon afterward the same scenario was repeated.
My claim is that it is through the supernatural, and through the supernatural alone that the excruciating question of evil and suffering can be satisfactorily enlightened. For it reveals to us a dimension of suffering inaccessible to natural man: suffering as expression of ultimate love. Indeed, “there is no greater love than to give one’s life for one’s friends.”
But many are the Christians today who have totally lost sight of the supernatural whose sublime message has gradually been downgraded from the renaissance on. Secularistic views have become so prominent that the very notion of the supernatural has lost any meaning for many so-called Christians. The supernatural can only be understood in a spirit of faith which Kierkegaard calls a “trombone” compared to the “toy-trumpet” of reason! Having conquered most universities, the secularists have succeeded in convincing “modern man” that reason and reason alone deserves our intellectual respect. Faith is for the weak-headed, for the untalented, who try to compensate for their deficiencies by accepting “fables” that cannot stand the test of sound reason.
The supernatural can only come from above.


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