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That nothing happens without God

That nothing happens without God we know from many sources; and, reversely, that God’s dispensations have no element of chance and confusion in them every one will allow, who realizes that God is Reason, and Wisdom, and Perfect Goodness, and Truth, and could not admit of that which is not good and not consistent with His Truth.

Whether, then, the early deaths of infants are to be attributed to the aforesaid causes, or whether there is some further cause of them beyond these, it befits us to acknowledge that these things happen for the best. I have another reason also to give which I have learned from the wisdom of an Apostle; a reason, that is, why some of those who have been distinguished for their wickedness have been suffered to live on in their self-chosen course.

Having expanded a thought of this kind at some length in his argument to the Romans , and having retorted upon himself with the counter-conclusion, which thence necessarily follows, that the sinner could no longer be justly blamed, if his sinning is a dispensation of God, and that he would not have existed at all, if it had been contrary to the wishes of Him Who has the world in His power, the Apostle meets this conclusion and solves this counter-plea by means of a still deeper view of things. He tells us that God, in rendering to every one his due, sometimes even grants a scope to wickedness for good in the end. Therefore He allowed the King of Egypt, for example, to be born and to grow up such as he was; the intention was that Israel, that great nation exceeding all calculation by numbers, might be instructed by his disaster.

God’s omnipotence is to be recognized in every direction; it has strength to bless the deserving; it is not inadequate to the punishment of wickedness ; and so, as the complete removal of that peculiar people out of Egypt was necessary in order to prevent their receiving any infection from the sins of Egypt in a misguided way of living, therefore that God-defying and infamous Pharaoh rose and reached his maturity in the lifetime of the very people who were to be benefited, so that Israel might acquire a just knowledge of the two-fold energy of God, working as it did in either direction; the more beneficent they learned in their own persons, the sterner by seeing it exercised upon those who were being scourged for their wickedness; for in His consummate wisdom God can mould even evil into co-operation with good.

St. Gregory of Nyssa

On Infants’ early deaths

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