Nearly every day we read about evil and suffering in the world: Violence in the Middle East. Starving people in Africa. Children born disfigured and abandoned. Abuse and neglect of an unthinkable magnitude.
For 16 year-old Trevor Watkins of Boulder, Colorado, the usual explanations just weren’t enough.
“My bishop talks a lot about people’s freedom to do good or evil, the gift of agency that God gives to everyone,” Trevor says. “Usually he’s referring to masturbation or girls wearing shorts that are too short, but I thought that maybe agency applies to other bad things that happen in the world, too.”
I think the best answer is that we have no idea about any of it and we probably make up most of it, and we’ll have to wait until everyone is dead, and then everything will be clear, hopefully.
“One day I thought, that can’t be the whole story. I mean, people are using their agency all the time, and it seems like only sometimes God intervenes. But why does he intervene sometimes and not other times?”
Trevor’s not the first to face this conundrum of course, which goes back to the ancient Greeks and beyond. But his solution is astounding:
“I think that everything just basically gets sorted out when we die. There’s a lot of inequality in the world and some people suffer really horribly, while others just kind of breeze through life for the most part. I think the best answer is that we have no idea about any of it and we probably make up most of it, and we’ll have to wait until everyone is dead, and then everything will be clear, hopefully. At least, that’s what I would say to someone really having a hard time of it.”
“You just have to take some things on faith,” he added.
Astoundingly, Trevor appears to be channeling several Christian theologians here, including Dante and Thomas Aquinas! Amazing!
Good thinking, Trevor!