Beckett: Poetry – No. 2210, Why God Permits Evil

I commit this poem to paper
to demonstrate how unreasonably
God is blamed for evil and suffering.
Come, therefore, with an open mind.

If you are unprejudiced of the truth,
you should find this easily acceptable.
God, they say, because He is good and holy,
must not permit any evil to occur.

Sheer delusion compels such thoughts, —
that you would make a much better God.
Where do you draw such false inference?
It is thus my duty to respond.

The beauty of God’s holy goodness is true,
but I cannot conceive the reason why
His holy ontology compels you
to be enamoured with cessation of evil.

For you who are charmed by this
also copulate with evil and abhorrence.
It would then mean your own destruction;
thus, your desire is born of ignorance.

If God’s holiness necessitates
immediate destruction of evil,
this means God’s wrath unconstrained
and your immediate annihilation.

God is under no obligation to you,
and you dare demand His kingdom come?
Since mankind is the cause of evil,
do you have cause to complain?

Consider God’s two choices at the Fall:
destroy all creation or promise to save?
It pleased God of His holy will
to bestow His favour upon humanity.

As the wind deserves no blame for its precariousness
because it blows according to its own nature,
so God deserves no blame for His holiness
because He decided to delay His just wrath.

Why, therefore, do you revile God for being gracious
instead of bending the knee in penitence?
Launch your invectives at that vile basilisk;
let God’s praises pour out from your lips.

For God made a promise in Christ Jesus;
He came to save and He is coming to judge.
He is our Arbiter who cancelled our debt;
we thus stand acquitted of all our evil.


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