“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3)
“O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.” (Psalm 104:24)
“The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.” (Psalm 145:17)
The Twentieth Century was one which saw its fair share of dictatorial regimes, and between two World Wars and a Cold War there has been a growing mistrust of power. On an April Tuesday morning in Cannes, Lord Acton once picked up his pen and wrote to Professor Mandell Creighton of Cambridge (later bishop of Peterborough and then London). The good Baron objected to the Professor’s rather rosy view of the past. Famously Acton gave the opinion that: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men…”.
The letter was sent in 1887 but many, casting an eye over the 1900s, might sagely nod and agree with the sentiment.
This gives us a problem when speaking of God. Surely there can be no more absolute power than that wielded by God. Does that mean that God should be more feared than trusted with this dominion? There are those who simply dismiss God as some sort of transcendental dictator, declaring that they can’t believe in such a figure.
The problem is, whether you believe in God or not doesn’t alter the fact of his existence. I might not believe in the existence of Archdeacons, yet still they appear. The great comfort in all this is that the God who exists is a God who both wise and holy, all knowing and all good. In fact Psalm 145 gives a most marvellous description of God - “kind” - and Luke’s Gospel repeatedly tells us that Jesus had “compassion” for those around him. Power may corrupt imperfect human beings, but fortunately for us God is not a bigger version of a human. He is good. His is not corruptible.