So, I tried to answer. I said...I think that God doesn't want bad things to happen to us. I think that God is with us. And guides us. And has ideas about what life should look like for us. But I don't think the bad stuff comes from God.
She looked at me sort of quizzically...like she didn't understand how that could happen. And then she asked how that could be - if God was in control, how could it be that the bad stuff didn't come from God, too? So, I tried again. In a language that I thought she might understand...Karl Rahner's theology as explained by ice cream.
See, it's sort of like God is a bowl of ice cream. You probably know a lot about ice cream right?
YES! I know a lot about ice cream.
Perfect. So what's your favorite kind of ice cream?
Okay, great. So God is a lot like a big bowl of vanilla ice cream. It's all vanilla. There's nothing else in there. You can move your spoon through it, you can let it melt, you can eat some of it and dig into the middle - you can do all kinds of things, but no matter what, it's still all vanilla, right?
Yes, it's still all vanilla. Even if you put toppings on it. That doesn't change that it's still vanilla underneath.
Exactly! So, God, is always good. Just like vanilla is always vanilla. There is nothing in God but goodness. God only wants the best for us - because God is all good. And no matter how much you try to get around it - or dig into it - there's nothing in God but good. Just like you can't dig into a bowl of vanilla ice cream - and find something yucky - like a worm, or a bug - you also can't dig into God and find something bad. Does that make sense?
Yea. Because there's just nothing bad in God, right? So then...you're saying that God doesn't make the bad things happen?
Right. God doesn't make the bad things happen any more than you can pull something yucky out of vanilla ice cream. Cause vanilla ice cream is always good - nothing bad can come out of it. Just like nothing bad can come out of God.
It might be true that Karl Rahner would be appalled by my over-simplistic explanation of the goodness of God. But it worked for this nine year old - who needed to hear that God doesn't do bad things to us. Bad things might happen - and God is with us in those things - but God doesn't do that to us. She then went on to tell me that she liked me - and God - and wanted some vanilla ice cream. Which, I thought, made perfect sense.