Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Expressed Power

Quote from the Holy Qur'an:

"...but Allah knows the man who means mischief from the man who means good. And if Allah had wished, He could have put you into difficulties: He is indeed Exalted in Power, Wise."
Al-Baqara 220

Quote from the Holy Bible:
"He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."
Matthew 5:45

From a Christian perspective it is kind of shocking the first time one reads the Qur'an. To see the same language which has always been reserved for reference to God. To suddenly realize that there are an entire other group of people associate the power and majesty of our God of their deity can be quite confusing and even a little upsetting. However the conceptualization of God's abilities is not limited to only those from a Christian background. The express details of how God uses power is the difference between the brothers.

When looking at monotheistic religions the attributes of God are quite consistent. God is of course all powerful, he is all places at once, and can create or destroy at will. The being that is above and beyond all things would need to have all these abilities to fill that position. Each book represents their high being as someone who occasionally meddles in human affairs. I was a bit shocked at this mention in the Qur'an given the story of Adam in the beginning seemed to be a testament to free will, but it would not be an Abrahamic religion if God did not decide to come down occasionally to deal with beings of much lesser power.

But how are we to deal with this occasional intrusion, should it be welcomed or rejected, loved or hated. It is quite possible to simply follow the instructions contained in the books and welcome the intervention, good or bad, into ones life by a higher power knowing it is for good because it is from God. These occasions are impossible to identify. How does one know when God is pouring out difficulties and when it is simply the unfortunate circumstance of life? Simply trusting one's instinct only goes as far as crisis, when the intuition goes away and all that is left is a screaming raw soul begging for an explanation for the apparently senseless action taken by the Creator against their life and well being.

In the Bible exists the example of Job who never stopped trusting and received double what he started with as a gift for his faith. This theology has been removed from Evangelical Christianity though because it breeds greed, "Wealth is Proof" of salvation and favor in the eyes of the Divine. Jesus message to those in his lifetime was opposite, it did not matter what an individual had here true treasure and wealth lay beyond this material world in heaven. It is all very confusing in the Bible, attempting to sort the old with the new each narrative seeming to present a different message. Job makes an appearance in the Qur'an as well being rewarded for a similar effort. His steadfast faith in Allah brought him great blessing. Again the example is that even in loss humanity is not to question the expressed power of Allah, for He will do as he wishes and it is good. There is not a challenge from humanity, because it is far to weak.

Perhaps there is another answer inside of this expressed power. It is full of questions: Why would God/Allah even need interaction with man? What possible end could theses trials and miracles provide for God/Allah? When humanity sees a trial how does it decide from whence it came? These questions indicate a flaw in the logical argument of God's expressed power in the world. When we look at it honestly, these messages point to a God who for one reason or another messes things up for no reason, but then the damaged individual learns a valuable lesson and is restored.
I'm not so sure God is required for this process, but it would make sense that God would be branded as the author. Every time someone encounters crisis they have the option to grow or stagnate. This happens to the believer and the atheist, it seems more likely that this message in both books seek to provide a reason for this growth or death. It is easier to brand it God than nature because it gives us someone to blame besides ourselves when we fail. "God did this to me and I hate God for it." is far easier to take than, "This just happened and it is a terrible tragedy, I don't now how to move on" Both mental realities are difficult to deal with, but one gives a reason for the problem, and we love placing blame.

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