Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Jean-Louis de Biasi, author of Secrets and Practices of the Freemasons, The Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis, and Rediscover the Magick of the Gods and Goddesses, and the forthcoming Esoteric Freemasonry. Jean-Louis is also Lifetime Grand Master of the Ordo Aurum Solis and Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Cross.
I have recently been fascinated by a paradox apparently ignored by many people. As you may know, the east coast of the United States has been strongly tested by hurricanes, flooding, and more. Other parts of the world have also experienced disasters of many kinds. Of course, these events have existed for centuries, even if today, factors we all know increase the instability of the climate.
In legal usage throughout the English–speaking world, “acts of God” are things we cannot prevent, which include any naturally occurring catastrophe (such as earthquakes, tornadoes, erupting volcanoes, hail, lightning, windstorms, and of course, hurricanes). In these cases, no human is seen as responsible.
Starting from that, what shocks me is the singular used in this expression: “God.” Usually this singular is used in the Judeo-Christian religion to define the God worshiped as almighty and all love. So why refer to catastrophic events as “acts of God?” Of course, the Bible gives countless examples of God using his power, sometimes acting directly, sometimes allowing Satan to act for him. We can read such an episode in the book of Job.
I don’t want, in this blog, to start a theological debate about the rationale regarding killing or torturing people while saying that they are loved. But why not use the words “Acts of God” for blessings received in our life instead of just times of destruction? As a Hermetist, I want to think about divinities as benevolent and eager to give us the best in our lives.
Polytheism is a different story. As there are multiple deities, we can easily understand their anger, disputes, and jealousy. Sometimes humans are in the middle of their fight and there is collateral damage. Fate in the Pagan world is a complicated matter. Most of the time, it is seen as unavoidable. The three Moirai, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, oversee our destiny and we can do little regarding their management of our lives.
However, in the case of this common expression, it might be best to talk about an “act of Gods,” using the plural. As I stated before, Monotheism is, according to its principles, the expression of a unique benevolent God.
It is fascinating how a simple expression can be so problematic on the theological level. Centuries ago, the one who created this expression could have been declared a heretic with all the usual consequences.
Be careful with the words you use.
Our thanks to Jean-Louis for his guest post! Visit Jean-Louis de Biasi’s author page for more information, including articles and his books.