SOMETIMES people ask: “Wouldn’t it have been possible for God to have made a world in which there was no evil or suffering?”

The question has no easy answer, but, occasionally, in a novel or a film we glimpse some insight into the dilemma.

Take the film called Pleasantville.

The plot swiftly sketches a modern world where we meet a teenager, David, an expert on a black-and-white sitcom about a suburban American town called Pleasantville, where everyone lives in a safe encapsulated world: there is no dirt, no unpleasantness and no threat of danger in any form.

Every day is cloud-free.

Mysteriously catapulted into this saccharine world, totally devoid of colour, where trees, cars, buildings, sky and even flesh are only shades of grey, David quickly tires of his monotonous existence.

He challenges the characters to be creative, to abandon sameness and certainty, to take risks.

As each character steps outside his dreary type-casting, his flesh takes colour.

With this new-found freedom comes the rainbow, creativity and excitement, but also danger.

Now there are storms, both meteorological and human.

By contrast with Pleasantville, we live in a world of freedom. Every day is different.

We can meaningfully say: “I love you”, because we could also chose not to.

God chose to make both us and the world free, because he wanted us to share his own free and creative nature.

God took that risk, because he took us seriously.

With that risk Christians believe that he also paid the price by joining us in the mess, so that one day we might be with him eternally in heaven.