Monday, March 16, 2009

More on the Justice of God

I was pondering this question about to what extent our own sense of justice corresponds to God's, and a question popped into my mind. What, exactly, ARE the ten commandments? Are they arbitrary rules that God simply invented for the sake of having us follow them? Or are they actually reflections of own God's character? In the former case, the ten commandments would essentially reveal NOTHING about God. But in the latter case, we could learn much about God, could we not?

It's my contention that the ten commandments are a reflection of God's own character, and furthermore, that there's a specific purpose behind the ten commandments… that is, there is a rationale behind why each commandment is what it is. That rationale, seems to me, is that where there is murder, there is injustice. Where there is covetousness, there is injustice. Where there is adultery, there is injustice. Where there is theft, there is injustice.

The only exception to this pattern might be the sabbath, but even that is a reflection of what God did… that is, on the 7th day, He rested. But leave that aside because since we are no longer under the Mosaic Law (the ten commandments are part of the Mosaic Law) we are obligated to observe nine of the ten because they are reiterated in the New Testament to Church Age believers. The New Testament omits the sabbath law, so that law no longer applies.

But for the other nine commandments, you can clearly see that their violation results in that which is unjust. It's not FAIR that a man possess something that another man worked for, for example. It's not FAIR that a spouse violate their marriage covenant. It's not FAIR that a life be taken without proper justification. See, there it is again… that word "Just". Note that the 6th commandment doesn't actually teach "Thou shalt not KILL," but rather "Thou shalt not MURDER." The difference is that murder refers to taking a person's life without proper justification. There are, in other words, circumstances where killing a person is JUSTIFIED, even in the eyes of God. And "justified" means "fair." It's "fair" to kill a person if they are, for example, threatening your own life or the life of an innocent person.

So, bound up in these commandments is a very clear expression of what sorts of things violates God's own sense of Justice. And, wonder of wonders, they seem very consistent with what violates our OWN sense of justice!

The conclusion is that the Calvinist teaching that God punishes people in Hell for something God chooses not to give them (namely, faith) appears ludicrous on its face. We recoil at the INJUSTICE of this idea. We have exactly the same reaction that we would have upon seeing a father punish his child for not putting his shoes on while the father has hidden the child's shoes. We rightly see that as unjust, and that is precisely because God also see it as unjust. We certainly can know what God's sense of Justice because God has written it in our souls.

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