“Because God is never cruel, there is a reason for all things. We must know the pain of loss; because if we never knew it, we would have no compassion for others, and we would become monsters of self-regard, creatures of unalloyed self-interest. The terrible pain of loss teaches humility to our prideful kind, has the power to soften uncaring hearts, to make a better person of a good one.” – Dean Koontz
A friend posted this quote on Facebook tonight. While I appreciate the sentiment of this quote, I disagree with this theology.
From the theology of the Bible, as I and some theologians understand it, the reason we experience loss so painfully is because it is a reminder of our fallenness/finality and the imperfection we chose when humanity chose the first and most detrimental disobedience toward God. They chose the ability to lose and do so painfully through the original sin of Adam and Eve. And because God is good, He allowed it, because His greatest act of love was offering humanity the ability to choose to love and obey Him, or not to, and the first humans chose to suffer consequences rather than live in perfection because they were deceived by Satan. Which is why God offered the out by offering grace through the first covenant with Abraham, with the promise (later fulfilled) of the second covenant via the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Adam and Eve did not need to know loss to learn these things in paradise. In paradise they already knew how to love and care perfectly. Even naively. Which is why they were deceived. They didn’t know how to harm, or how not to love. So they didn’t recognize harm or lack of love when they were deceived. Loss was not necessary, nor was it intended. We know loss because the first ones chose to listen to Satan and make choices that would hand the world to him. As stated earlier, this was redeemed through the death and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Death and loss are still experienced, but with the option to choose to accept the grace of the cross.
Yes, these beautiful things can be learned from the pain of loss, and make better people, but loss can also cause the opposite. Hearts can be hardened by loss just as much as they can be softened. Again, our ability to choose. We choose to love and show compassion and learn from these things and turn them into useful tools in life to continue to grow ourselves and others. Or we do not. God’s greatest gift of love that we ruined. Our ability to choose.