28 January 2012

The Infinite Goodness of the Creator

Your loss is so terrible that I can only explain it to myself as a special providence of God who, loving you, wishes to try you and your excellent mother. Oh, my friend! Religion, and religion alone, can—I will not say comfort us—but save us from despair. Religion alone can explain to us what without its help man cannot comprehend: why, for what cause, kind and noble beings able to find happiness in life—not merely harming no one but necessary to the happiness of others—are called away to God, while cruel, useless, harmful persons, or such as are a burden to themselves and to others, are left living.

The first death I saw, and one I shall never forget—that of my dear sister-in-law—left that impression on me. Just as you ask destiny why your splendid brother had to die, so I asked why that angel Lise, who not only never wronged anyone, but in whose soul there were never any unkind thoughts, had to die. And what do you think, dear friend? Five years have passed since then, and already I, with my petty understanding, begin to see clearly why she had to die, and in what way that death was but an expression of the infinite goodness of the Creator, whose every action, though generally incomprehensible to us, is but a manifestation of His infinite love for His creatures.

Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Painting: Walter MacEwen (1860 – 1943), The Absent One on All Soul's Day


  1. I'm not down with the whole "God loves you, so your loved ones are taken from you" but the craft of the section is great. I totally want to know what happened to Lise. Excellent tension!

  2. Tolstoy is something else. He took on religious faith, the military, human nature (sociology), politics, the family, mathematics, science, etc, etc, all in novel! You can get quite an education reading him.

  3. Beautiful passage. Sad, tough to accept but beautiful.

  4. Thanks for visiting Sonia. Literature has so much to teach us and Tolstoy is such a great teacher.


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