From Womb to Tomb

How much insight you find in Dillard's questions may depend on how many deeply deep conversations you've had with people who use German words like weltschmerz. And how much comfort you take from her answers will depend on whether you accept the great escape clause, first proposed in rudimentary form by Thomas Aquinas: that God greased the gears of evolution, flipped on the power, and settled in to nap until doomsday. There is perhaps more hope in a line Teilhard wrote while wandering in a lifeless desert 6,000 miles from home: "If I should lose all faith in God, I think that I should continue to believe invincibly in the world."

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