WASHINGTON, DC, December 31, 2012 ― The new year 2013 is finally upon us and the question is this: Do we really deserve a second chance? Next question: Is God paying attention? My guess is that because He gave us “free will” He is letting us go at it yet again despite our atrocities, outrages, carnage, chaos and corruptions. There is no room here to go into too much detail.
You read the headlines so you know what I’m talking about. We don’t even need to go far, like Afghanistan, to find bad behavior. In neighborhoods right around the corner people are throwing other people onto the tracks of oncoming trains. In some of our big cities the murder rate averages about a killing a day.
There are a thousand townships where it is unsafe to walk or to drive, even for the police. We call these “no go zones,” and we haven’t even left the country. In other parts of this world mothers lovingly clothe their sons and daughters into suicide belts and train them to detonate themselves and any one else who speaks a different language. That used to be called “child sacrifice.”
I imagine God, after touring all His other planets, the trillions with real people in them, finally turning to earth and asking His angels:
“Who created this?”
“You did, O Lord, all by Yourself.”
Sodom was another big mistake. A while back, actually not that long ago, God took care of business in Sodom and Gomorrah. The people there considered it sinful to help the widow and save the orphan. The people there encouraged murder. (Sounds familiar already.) God was so disgusted that He decided that enough was enough. Goodbye Sodom.
Abraham came to the rescue, or tried. He said, “Lord, will you topple the good along with the bad?”
“That’s the plan.”
“Shall the Judge of all the earth not do justly?” asked Abraham, who then proceeded to bargain with the Almighty, saying:
“Suppose You find 10 righteous people over there, will that calm you down? Or five?”
No such luck, and read all about it in Genesis.
But all that was peanuts compared to what happened earlier. In the days of Noah only one righteous person walked the earth, and that was Noah. Everybody else was rotten to the core. From one end of the earth to the other, people blessed their deities by tossing their kids into the fire. This was called child sacrifice – and this too is starting to sound familiar.
In other words, if you say that times have changed from those days to these days, think again.
But there was a difference between those two righteous men, that is, between Noah and Abraham. Noah gets high marks for being righteous, but gets knocked down a peg for being somewhat selfish. He did NOT bargain with God. He did NOT ask God to spare the rest of mankind.
This is where Abraham comes out the winner. Abraham cared for himself, sure, but he likewise spoke up for the rest of humanity.
Maybe that is why God promised never to destroy the world again by way of flood. (Note the detail.) God also promised to make Abraham’s children as “numerous as the stars.” Today there are seven billion of us all around the world, the good, the bad and the ugly.
We are taught that God judges us through the eyes of justice and mercy. If He used justice alone, are you kidding? We wouldn’t have a shot.
Mercy is our only chance.
Jack Engelhard is a novelist for such moral dilemma bestsellers as The Bathsheba Deadline, The Girls of Cincinnati, and the classic Indecent Proposal, his memoir Escape From Mount Moriah, and Slot Attendant – A Novel About A Novelist is Engelhard’s partly autobiographical expose about the trials of making it as a writer, bring his words to the Communities page covering all topics, with special focus on the absurdity of human behavior, and reaches around the globe.
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