Deity of Just Rightness
“God makes no mistakes.”
Something in the fairy tale of Goldilocks and the 3 bears, which most of us know from childhood, resonates with us.
Goldilocks, while wandering in the forest (not all who wander are lost), stumbles upon the house of the 3 bears.
The front door is unlocked. She enters.
At the kitchen table, she spies 3 bowls of porridge. The first porridge she tastes is too hot. The next porridge is too cold. But the third porridge is just right, and she consumes it in entirety.
Hunger pangs assuaged, she goes into the living room, where she spies 3 chairs. The first chair she samples is too big. The second is likewise too big. The last, smallest chair is just right. The fact it breaks when she sits doesn’t negate the fact that it was just the right size.
Fatigue sets in, so she ventures upstairs.
In the upstairs bedroom, the first bed she tries is too hard. The second bed is too soft. The third bed is just right and Goldilocks removes her shoes, lies down, slips under a coverlet, and soon falls fast asleep.
From whence she is awakened when the 3 bears — Papa, Mama and Baby — return home. Startled by the unsettling sight of three bear faces peering at her, she bounds from bed. Clutching her shoes and shrieking, she runs from the house and never returns.
Like Goldilocks, we recognize when something is just right. We may not know exactly how to define it, but, like a politician’s take on pornography, we know it when we see it.
Genesis records the creation of our world as being good. Nothing had to be done over; it was right the first time. Unlike a carpenter (which He became as an Earthling) the Almighty did not measure twice and cut once. He cut once, and may not have measured at all.
As the Son grew up in Nazareth a carpenter, it is easy to speculate that He might have been tempted to, at least once, use the superpowers to which He had access (He alluded to that power later in Gethsemane when he remonstrated with Peter after he sliced off the right ear of Malchus, servant of the high priest; did Vincent van Gogh, Dutch artist and also ear abuser, read this, I wonder?).
Much has been made recently of superpowers, some of which I read as a boy in comic books.
Can you imagine? Faster than a speeding arrow. Able to leap synagogues in a single bound. More powerful than a horse-drawn chariot of iron.
Just one time, and He might no longer be known as merely the carpenter from Nazareth (can anything good come from there?).
But no. He never availed Himself of the power — except to help others, when He healed the sick, and fed multitudes with a few loaves and fishes. And reattached the ear of Malchus without stitches.
He also brought back to life that which was dead. Catalyzed the transformation of hearts of stone into ones of flesh.
In His crowning act, He Himself rose from the sepulcher, and departed Earth vertically, needing no rocket fuel or spacesuit.
Neither death nor gravity could hold Him.
Let us consider the Almighty’s dealings with man.
Given His omnipotence, it may have been easy for Him to overwhelm his lesser creation (humans being a little lower than angels).
On the rare occasions when He seemed to overdo (as with, perhaps, the Great Deluge and destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah), He provided a way out. In the former case, an ark for Noah and his family. In the latter, angels led Lot and his family out of the city, which fire and brimstone would annihilate.
We are told we will not be tempted beyond our ability to endure. It is comforting to know that, if we fall, we will not have been pushed.
When God told Moses to step aside, and He would destroy the unruly, complaining multitude who had fled Egypt, would He have, had not Moses interceded? We can only speculate. But mankind had once been nearly obliterated (by the Flood); surely it could happen again.
And, at the Parousia, it will happen again. The majority of mankind will not be aboard the figurative saving ark. That which engulfs them will not be waves of water, but flames of fire.
When Moses asked to see the face of God, he was told no man could do that and live.
Adam and Eve heard the voice of God in Eden. Did they see His face? Perhaps, but that was before the Fall.
Rather than deny the request of Moses outright, which He might have done, God placed Moses in the cleft of a rock and covered him with His hand. When He removed His hand, Moses could see His backside as He passed.
Nowhere in his writings does Moses describe the backside of the Almighty. Why is that? Moses records many other things in detail. Was the lack of description an oversight? If the Almighty inspired Holy Writ, may He have decided His backside not worthy of mention?
As in the fable of six blind men and the elephant, the backside of God likely no more represents Him in toto than does an elephant’s tusk the elephant.
Since that recorded event, Moses may have seen God’s face, but, if so, it likely transpired in the hereafter, after here.
Holy Writ contains example after example of His doing things just right.
The burning bush that marked the call of Moses (we are told many are called, few chosen; Moses was both) did not burn up. A little less, and the bush might have burned insufficiently to attract attention. A little more, and it may have been consumed.
The Red Sea parted just the right amount to permit egress of hundreds of thousands (refugees? They might be so considered; would they have been welcomed on our shores?) onto dry land. Had the strong east wind been stronger, it might have blown the Hebrews off their feet, as tornadoes and hurricanes sometimes do today. Had it been weaker, the waters might have not parted sufficiently to permit dry passage.
Manna fell in just the right amount as the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness. Not too much, not too little. Just right. And closely aligned with the hours of the Sabbath.
So with the oil and bread provided the widow of Zarephath. Those matters of sustenance were not provided in abundance, but in sufficiency. Her faith and appreciation might not have ripened had she not had to go to the barrel and cruse daily.
The lost axe head (II Kings 6), probably made of iron. A little less force, and it would not have been buoyant. A little more, and it might have been propelled with alacrity onto dry land. But no, just the right force was applied. It was designed that the man who lost it would put forth his hand, and retrieve it as it floated on the watery surface.
Iron never naturally floats. It is no coincidence that one wood heavy enough to sink is called ironwood.
In the first recorded miracle of Christ, the water that transformed into wine did so with perfection, so fine those who imbibed commented on its quality. Had a sommelier been in attendance in Cana that day, he might have preserved that event for posterity on parchment and given the wine a 5-star rating. Only, not being bottled, it probably had no name. Plus it was not intended for future consumption, but in the then and there. Tellingly, it was nowhere to be found thereafter.
When, during Communion, the observed quarterly ordinance of humility, we drink grape juice, signifying the blood of Christ, I like to think back on the time of His first miracle, when wedding guests were privileged to partake of the finest wine they had ever tasted.
In a sense, the miracle may have been a prequel. Wedding guests may have been figuratively drinking in advance the blood of the soon to-be-martyred Christ.
Those (once, 5000; once, 4000) who partook of the bread that was miraculously multiplied may have also been figuratively eating in advance the Body that would be soon broken for them.
The day will come when, with grace, the imperfections of our bodies and characters will be no more.
We may never achieve the perfection of the Almighty, but we will be closer than we are now. For that we harbor hope and, hopefully, gratitude.
Like Goldilocks, we will again recognize when things are just right.