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When God is dead anything is possible


Fyodor Dostoyevsky once observed: When God is dead anything is possible.

That is a potent statement but sadly, history confirms its truth. When God is dead, the fences of morality are easily plowed over.

I am reminded of a book written about the Holocaust and the men who carried out its murderous plan. Hauntingly titled Ordinary Men, the book conveys that these men were not the psychologically crazed brutes we would like to imagine, but men You see, when God is dead, anything is possible.

A man in his middle years once approached Ravi Zacharias after he had finished speaking and said, “If I told you all the horrible things I have done in my life you wouldn¹t even want to be seen standing next to me. There is almost nothing I haven¹t done. I am not sure even God can forgive me.” Dr. Zacharias said at the time he had to wonder what all was couched beneath those words. Still, the verse which came to mind were words spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6-7)

When God is dead, the possibilities are unfathomable. This man’s life had been guided by the whims of that certainty. Dostoyevsky, too, saw the devastating reality of that truth lived out. But it was the reverse of this truth that changed his life forever. You see, if anything is possible when God is dead, what then is possible if God is alive?

In prison and facing death, Dostoyevsky discovered the parable of the prodigal son. In that story of homecoming, God was resurrected in his mind. The parable of the prodigal son transformed Dostoyevsky’s life. Having this story read to him was the last request on his deathbed, and it was the story that touched every story that brilliant author ever wrote.

C.S. Lewis was another who saw the beauty of the prodigal son worked out in his life. Describing his own quite reluctant conversion, he exclaims, “Who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance to escape? The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.” (C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1955, p. 237)

When God is alive, nothing is impossible! Absolutely nothing can separate you from God’s love, not even God’s seeming “death.” Have you killed God in your mind? He is still alive and His love for you is unchanged. The Father is fully with you, waiting for you to come home.

Jill Carattini


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