Sunday, 27 June 2004

weekend columns

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Westminster Abbey, Don’t embrace the corpses

If Americans wander around in baseball caps, eating, at least they don’t embrace the corpses. It has been estimated that 4,000 are buried in the Abbey, and I have gained a new appreciation even of the sepulchral architecture from the wonderful new book by Richard Jenkyns. It is called Westminster Abbey (Profile Books, £15.99) and the author is Oxford’s Professor of the Classical Tradition, whatever that is. If Dr Jenkyns is an example of it, I’m all for it.

In The Times Roderick Strange uses the feast of the Birthday of St John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus, to write about the power of God.
God is not some kind of Superman with special powers

At its root, all unaware, there is a presumption about the nature of divine power. God, we say, is all-powerful. If God is a God of love, why does He not exercise His power to prevent such tragedies? I would if I could, but I can’t. My power is limited. But God’s is not. If He exists, why doesn’t He act? But the flaw in this question lies in supposing that God’s power is just like ours, only greater.
I do not pretend to know what divine power is like, but I am confident that, whatever else, it is not simply an excess of human power. When we call God all-powerful, we do not mean that God is Superman, merely possessing the extra muscle to do what we cannot.
We may wonder why a different world was not created where such disasters never occurred, but that is a distraction. Creating is not the same as physical making. And we have to make sense of the world in which we actually live, not a world formed by our fantasies of perfection.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 27 June 2004 at 2:35 PM GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion