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March 6th, 2009

Mack has lived for four years with “the great sadness” – a personal tragedy of unimaginable consequence.  Now he has his weekend with God, allowing him to surface his buried thoughts and feelings – not just about “the great sadness,” but about a life of pain that distanced him from a personal relationship with the Creator.

In chapter 11, Mack is invited to sit in judgment of God.  “Yes, God is to blame!” he is finally prodded to scream in pain.  He is also invited to judge the world, since he has such experience at judging!

Lovingly but firmly, Mack is prodded to examine the consequences and implications of humans sitting in judgment of God.  “You (humans) demanded your independence,” he is told, “and now you are angry with the one who loved you enough to give it to you.”

A collection of essays by C. S. Lewis was published posthumously in 1970 under the title, “God in the Dock,” also the title of one essay in the book.  The “dock” in British parlance is where the accused criminal sits.

“The ancient man approached God (or even the gods),” Lewis wrote, “as the accused person approaches his judge.  For the modern man the roles are reversed.  He is the judge: God is in the dock.  He is quite a kindly judge: if God should have a reasonable defence for being the god who permits war, poverty and disease, he is quite ready to listen to it.  The trial may even end in God’s acquittal.  But the important thing is that Man is on the Bench and God in the Dock.”

I suppose all of us, like Mack, occasionally think we can outdo God or at least instruct him a bit on how to run the world.  When you think about it, it’s a foolish idea, isn’t it?

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