Thursday, 14 August 2014
The GOD thing ... 2
In his short story 'The judgement seat' W. Somerset Maugham's philosopher is killed in a war and finds himself in a long queue awaiting the decision on his ultimate fate. The Eternal is deciding the fates of women and children whose lives have been suddenly ended by brutal violence. Others having suffered disease and starvation must wait their turn too.
Eventually the philosopher meets his judge. 'No one can deny the fact of Evil ... ' he says to the Omniscient. 'If God cannot prevent Evil he is not all powerful, and if he can prevent it and will not, he is not all-good.'
An old argument.
Finally the Eternal speaks, 'I sometimes think that the stars never shine more brightly than when reflected in the muddy waters of a wayside ditch.'
He then turns his attention to three souls who have been waiting patiently. Two men and a woman. The eternal triangle. He considers their lives. Their good but timid lives. And then he blows lightly like a man might blow out a match. With one small breath he annihilates them. They are gone.
The Eternal speaks, as if to himself. 'I have often wondered why men think I attach so much importance to sexual irregularity. If they read my works more attentively they would see that I have always been sympathetic to that form of human frailty.'
Now he turns to the philosopher.
'You cannot but allow that on this occasion I have very happily combined my All-power with my All-goodness.'
The fate of the philosopher is left in the balance.