Where was God that morning? It was the question that a Law student asked me several years ago. His voice, which sounded more regretful than angry, filled that college classroom full of students with emotion. And although teaching teaches about the lordship of time and the importance of waiting for the other, I confess that that silence seemed eternal to me. When he could compose himself, the young man put his story into words. He still remembered the last time he saw his mother through the window of his house, hours before the accident. He was a boy then.

A question that challenges

We have to agree that this question that sounds like a claim has always questioned us. In some way, the questioning of Jobante’s wife is the tests her husband was subjected to: “Do you still believe in God?” (Job 2,9). Deep down, this claim shows the first reaction that evil causes us. Although it is also true that there are people like Job of the Old Testament, who discover the face of the true God through suffering.

Perhaps for some, evil is the rock of atheism where the possibility of a God crashes. A position that we must respect because the other is my brother and because faith is above all a free adherence.

However, there is something in that statement that I am interested in clarifying. If God did not exist the question of the sense of evil, it would not make sense. It is the existence of God that makes evil a lacerating enigma. If God does not exist, and the world comes from chance and nothing, why would we complain about the existing disorder? The meaning of the world is affirmed in God. It is the existence of a creator God that assures us of the value of creation. The same moral outrage that evil and injustice produce in us make the God hypothesis credible. What would be the foundation of a morality without God? Can human conventions by themselves cement the ethics of our behaviors? Without God, morality is reduced to the search for balances that guarantee the survival of the fittest. But that concept would prevent us from living morality as a path of liberation and fulfillment in free adherence to the good.

Looking for answers

However, it is not to be believed that my student’s question sounded like blasphemy. On the contrary, it is a question that has always revealed the person and crosses the entire Bible, from Job to Saint Paul. In short, man is a being who questions himself from his finitude and with his feet very stuck on the sidewalk. At some point you will have to look up for answers. As Pedro Laín Entralgo says: “Man naturally expects something that transcends his nature” (Antropología de la Esperanza, Madrid 1978, p.172)

I have always remembered that afternoon as one of the most heartfelt moments of my teaching vocation. I also think that the teacher’s mission is not to overwhelm with answers, but to motivate questions and questions among his students.

After a few years I met that young man who had become a lawyer. We talked about the episode that we remembered clearly. With the tone of a spontaneous confession, he recognized that what afflicted him at that time was the pain for the loss of his mother, perhaps as much as the silence of a God who is silent. We both agree that his claim was deeply theocentric (God in the center), only that he, at that time, had not yet discovered it. But time, the spiritual craftsman par excellence, shaped that stonemason and was able to find the answers. And so, from the experience of evil such as the death of his mother, he managed to cross the threshold of hope and believe from the cross. More than ever, the words recorded in a basement in Cologne (Germany), by a group of Jews fleeing the Nazis, make sense. Although they foresaw its tragic end, from the depth of their faith they wrote: “I believe in the sun when it does not shine. I believe in love even when it does not feel it. I believe in God even when it is silent.”

By Miryan Andújar
Lawyer, teacher and researcher
Bioethics Institute of the UCCuyo

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