A part of a four-lane tunnel under construction on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Ramban district collapsed, killing two so far and injuring many others.
These devastations are caused by man and by man-made institutions. Such lapses occur because of planning mismanagement and disaster unpreparedness. This is not an act of god.
A few years back, IVRCL Limited, the Hyderabad-based company that was constructing the flyover, told the media in the wake of the Kolkata flyover collapse—“It is for the first time in the history of the company that such an incident has occurred. We are unable to comprehend at this stage what could have happened. It is beyond our thinking. It is like an act of god”. (Daily Hindu -2016).
Probably, it is not the first time that God has been “blamed” for something that goes beyond the perceptual capacity of human beings. It’s not even the maiden statement that narrates the buck-passing leaning of individuals. We chip in God quickly whenever our difficulties and dilemmas go bonkers.
There is nothing wrong with seeking refuge in Providence. It translates the belief that flickers in a certain corner of our existence even as we may not be noble followers of any religious ideology.
It also depicts the eventual vulnerability, the fragility of human nature that is bound to revert to something alleviating and reassuring. That’s why we look upon God as a caring therapist full of benevolent affection.
Of course, the divine will is inexorable and definite. Things happen because they have to happen. Nothing can hamper the flow of events. No one can hold back the ordained.
Things fall in line with the preset scheme. Humans are simply the performers who deliver the scripted play. The playwright eventually is God. He enjoins everyone with a particular role for execution in the world. The difference is in the style of execution.
However, rationality demands that we do not reproach divinity for everything happening with others and us. We may have actually bungled and bemoaned, spoiled and suffered, faltered and failed. The discretion of freewill does not function in isolation.
There is a propensity to doubt, question and test the niceties of freewill in tandem with our self-discoveries and experiences. Hence, the event. In our lives, outside us, and around us.
So, ‘an act of God’ is actually when we are on our own. It’s time when we don’t look to anyone and get our act together by ourselves, only to realise that we are utterly imperfect pawns. And most importantly, to be reaffirmed about the veracity that God exists, is compassionate, and full of wisdom.
Whether it’s a man-made disaster or natural calamity, an individual mistake or organisational blunder, a personal goof-up or collective crime, God is there but not as a participant. He is a witness. He watches. He tests. He salvages.
Death may shake many of us. Grief may stagger us all. Joy may soothe everyone. Pain may stun all and sundry. Everything carries meaning and purpose in God’s eternal plan. In every happening, the decree of God runs. In every act, God lives through. With us. Along with us. Amidst us.
We are because He wanted us to be. Our minds are thought of His. Our life is a breath of His. That’s why, they say the question of “Who am I?” should be answered with, “Whose am I?”
The famous theological writer Douglas Wilson blogs, “God is not an actor within the larger scheme of things. He is not a muscle-bound Jupiter, bullying the littler ones.
He is the Author of the whole thing. We never ask how much of Hamlet’s role was contributed by Hamlet, and how much by Shakespeare. That is not a question that can be answered with 70/30 or 50/50 or 90/10. The right answer is 100/100. Hamlet’s actions are all Hamlet’s and they are all Shakespeare’s”.
There is interplay of human choice and divine will that leads to the act whose Author is but one. He has completed the script, pens have been lifted, and the pages have dried up.
We are just trying to play the character roles. And many a times, feeling frail to stage the role….Aadmi Ko Bhi Mayassar Nahi Insaan Hona
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK