GOD, character of
During the Thirty Year's War in Europe (1618-1648), the King of Sweden, Gustavus
Adolphus, was slain while his troops were winning the Battle of Lutzen, in what is now
Germany. Sweden was thrown into mourning, and government officials met to determine how to
replace the king. Some suggested a republic; others thought the crown should go to
Adolphus' cousin, the king of Poland. The chancellor of Sweden arose and said, "Let
there be no talk of a republic or of Polish kings, for we have in our midst the heir of
the great Gustavus, his little daughter, who is 6 years of age." Some protested that
they had never seen her. The chancellor said, "Wait a minute, and I will show
you." He brought in Christina, daughter of the king, and placed her on the throne.
One of the representatives who was especially suspicious of the move pressed forward and
gazed intently into her face. Then turning to the assembly, he exclaimed, "Look at
her nose, her eyes, her chin! I see in the countenance of this child the features of the
great Gustavus. She is the child of our king!" From all quarters of the room rang the
proclamation, "Christina, Queen of Sweden!"
We want, in fact, not so much a father in heaven as a grandfather in heaven: a senile
benevolence who, as they say, "liked to see young people enjoying themselves"
and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each
day, "a good time was had by all.
World War II was almost over. News of the armistice had reached the troops but the
actual order to cease fire was still on the way to the front. Then a bursting shell tore
open a soldier's flesh. As his blood flowed out of the fatal wound, he said, "Isn't
this just like God?"
Christian Theology in Plain Language, p. 81.