I do not remember which of us was first to remember a well-known, though not very respectful school story, in which we at once saw an illustration of this law.
The story is about an over-aged student of a seminary who, at a final examination, does not understand the idea of God's omnipotence.
'Well, give me an example of something that the Lord cannot do," said the examining bishop.
"It won't take long to do that, your Eminence," answered the seminarist. "Everyone knows that even the Lord himself cannot beat the ace of trumps with the ordinary deuce."
Nothing could be more clear.
There was more sense in this silly story than in a thousand theological treatises. The laws of a game make the essence of the game. A violation of these laws would destroy the entire game. The Absolute can as little interfere in our life and substitute other results in the place of the natural results of causes created by us, or created accidentally, as he can beat the ace of trumps with the deuce. Turgenev wrote somewhere that all ordinary prayers can be reduced to one: "Lord, make it so that twice two be not four." This is the same thing as the ace of trumps of the seminarist.
So, yes, I can pray for help (OK, probably not for a KFC chicken strip), but that doesn't detract from praying or God's will towards your 20 million starving Africans.
And he is asking those in Saudi Arabia to follow the precepts of the Quran, which, he said, emphasizes reaching out to the poor and the downtrodden.
Know that whatever of a thing you acquire, a fifth of it is for Allah, for the Messenger, for the near relative, and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, if you believe in Allah...
"Obviously not." she said matter-of-factly. "He must be punishing them for their sins or something."
After much discourse (iii-xxii) Job finally succeeds in silencing the three friends, although he is not able to convince them of his innocence. In a series of monologues (xxiii-xxxi), interrupted only by a short speech by Baldad (xxv), he once more renews his complaints (xxiii-xxiv), extols the greatness of God (xxvi-xxviii), and closes with a forcible appeal to the Almighty to, examine his case and to recognize his innocence (xxix-xxxi). At this juncture Eliu, a youth who was one of the company of listeners, is filled by God with the spirit of prophecy (xxxii, 18-22; xxxvi, 2-4). In a long discourse he solves the problem of suffering, which Job and his friends had failed to explain. He says that suffering, whether severe or light, is not always a result of sin; it is a means by which God tries and promotes virtue (xxxvi, 1-21), and is thus a proof of God's love for his friends. The sufferings of Job are also such a testing (xxxvi, 16-21). At the same time Eliu emphasizes the fact that the dispensations of God remain inexplicable and mysterious (xxxvi, 22; xxxvii, 24).
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