Let's Create A Perfect World

A world without suffering is literally unimaginable. Try it.

BY: Frederica Mathewes-Green


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The world we’ve got is far from quiet and unchanging. It changes constantly, vigorously, and yet remains the same, like an ocean, like a forest. God doesn’t sit afar off, watching us “from a distance,” as the dumb song has it. There’s no distance. His life permeates creation, filling every bug and every blade of grass, sustaining every molecule. “‘Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:24), and Isaiah heard the angels agree, “The world is full of the glory of God” (Isaiah 6:3).


Yet there is, undoubtedly, suffering. Behind every overt experience of suffering, there is a gray-noise static of isolation, even loneliness, and the edgy necessity of self-protection. It is easy to spend most of our lives in the dry attic of the mind, worrying and pondering. We retain a sense that we are cut off from something important, something beautiful, and that is surely the tragedy reigning behind all others.

No one knows why things are this way. (A factor we usually disregard, but one assumed by people in most times and places, is that it’s not just us and God here in the universe. There are spiritual forces that are not benign. You laugh, but it might turn out they’re right. They make up a mighty big vote.)

The God who made such a world, and who continued to love his lost children, would try to call them back into communion with him. He would want them to dwell in innermost security and peace, because then nothing they could face would be perceived as suffering. Even when they were hurt and hated, they would give love in return. But how would he go about reaching them?

This entire Planet Earth project is eccentric, so God’s approach to this problem is likely to be unexpected too. What we would expect is for him to try to make contact by speaking in the hearts of some people in every generation, and giving those prophets a message designed to draw his beloved home. Most religions preserve such books.

But we Christians believe that he did something else, something extremely odd: he became a baby. Holy books are one thing, but what humans really need is love. So he started out as a baby and walked, day by day, through a specific, earthy human life. The things he did and said during that life are still compelling, two thousand years later. The force of his personality reverberates through the ages.

At the end he went through terrible suffering. It was as if he was saying, “Look, this is how you do it,” and then he did it with courage, love, and, most amazing, forgiveness.

But that wasn’t the end. On the third day he rose again from the dead, trampling down death by death, and smashing the forces that wound and tear us. He demonstrated that the final victory belongs to him.

If you believe this happened, it’s the definition of “good news.” If the fear of death is shattered, everything is changed. Our lives are not free of trouble, but we can look at trouble in a different way, because the conqueror is with us. “In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

This story might sound crazy, but it’s not any crazier than the world itself; in that context, it’s strangely fitting. But what about your perfect world, so beautiful and unchanging? Can you honestly say that you love it? Would anyone die for your marble men?