- "He's in God's hands now."
- "He was in God's hands the whole time."
This short exchange between a comforter and a griever is from The Tree of Life. It captures masterfully the essence of the book of Job, which is the tension between trust in God and the experience of a form of God that brings such trust into question. "He was in God's hands the whole time" is equal parts declaration of assurance and accusation. And as accusation, it carries more weight than anything Ditchkins can throw God's way. As Barth explains:
Surely all ancient and modern sceptics, pessimists, scoffers and atheists are innocuous and well-meaning folk compared with this man Job. They do not know against whom they direct their disdain and doubt and scorn and rejection. Job does. As distinct from them, he speaks en connaissance de cause. They can easily enter into controversy with a God whom they do not know as their God. Job cannot do this. He can curse the day of his birth. But he cannot curse God. He cannot separate himself from Him.
If Zizek can say that only an atheist can be a true christian, then perhaps we can turn that around and say that only a christian can be a true atheist.