Sunday, April 29, 2018

"Question of Morality" Part II

The following work is a response to my friend who is an agnostic / atheist. He from time to time challenges me on my faith and poses questions of interest. Since I haven't posted anything in a while I thought it might be interesting to post our conversation.

"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson


Here is the problem I have with your response to the killing of Jesus. There is no reasoning (scripture) that can be given by the Bible to justify the torture and sacrifice of a Man to exonerate the crimes of others. I ask this question in friendship, not in condemnation: How can you default to the Bible to justify a brutal killing when your own sensibility and reasoning should reject such an outrageous concept? 


It is, in my opinion, morally wrong to hold a child responsible for the crimes (sins) of their parents. Did not God know ahead of time that Adam and Eve would eat from the Tree of Knowledge? If he knew that would happen, how can he hold their descendants responsible? There is no Biblical justification that can exonerate a God the allows the execution of his own Son (himself) so that mankind can be saved from eternal hell. There is no justification that can exonerate a God the allows a man to rape a little girl and take no action except to wait until the death of the rapist to send the rapist to Hell unless of course, the rapist accepts Jesus into his heart and is saved from justice. How can anyone with compassion and empathy let God go unaccountable for allowing cruel things happen to children? A God that does that is either not as powerful as proclaimed or doesn't care and therefore is not worthy of "God" status. 


You stated,  "Our morality is not from Him, for our morality is in ruin." I absolutely disagree. If I see a child being raped, I would do whatever I could to stop the rape. God choose not stop the rape of a child. I believe my action to take action against the rapist is moral. God's decision not to interfere is immoral and therefore it is God's morality in ruins.  


You stated, "Every human being, even from our perception of innocent, though not yet having done any good or bad is guilty by nature." I am not even sure how to respond to that, except, once again I must say "I absolutely disagree." So a newborn baby taking his first breath of life is already condemned and guilty of sins (crimes) he or she has not committed. This is one of those concepts that Christianity puts forth that for me shows how Christians set aside reason and logic because of the fear of Hell if they don't accept God's "plan, verdicts, and rules."


You say mankind does not understand God's true perfection. Well, you may be right because I cannot understand how it is perfection that an all-powerful God allows a child to be raped, condemns us at birth for the sins of our parents and creates a "Hell" for those of us that cannot believe in something unseen and unproven. If there is a God, he made us that way and he is a monster to create a situation that virtually guarantees many will not accept a myth as true and condemns us to hell because we use our reason and logic to reject a claim that cannot be proven. 


Well, my friend, I know have thrown a lot at you and I have actually enjoyed responding to your email I could go on, but it is 10:52 p.m. and I need to get to bed, work tomorrow! 

Take care my friend,

Gene
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Excellent response Gene, I see what you’re saying. Those conundrums have crossed my mind before as well. They are not easily answered and theologians have wrestled with them over the years. I will give you my best understanding of the Scriptures at this point. Since you like to reason things out, lets start with where Logic might take us.

 {LOG'IC, n. [L. id; Gr. from reason, to speak.]
The art of thinking and reasoning justly.
Logic is the art of using reason well in our inquiries after truth, and the communication of it to others.

Logic may be defined, the science or history of the human mind, as it traces the progress of our knowledge from our first conceptions through their different combinations, and the numerous deductions that result from comparing them with one another.

Correct reasoning implies correct thinking and legitimate inferences from premises, which are principles assumed or admitted to be just. Logic then includes the art of thinking, as well as the art of reasoning.

The purpose of logic is to direct the intellectual powers in the investigation of truth, and in the communication of it to others.} – Webster’s 1828 edition.  

(Isa 1:18  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.) 

Let’s start with the beginning, if God is who he says He is and is truly infinite in His nature, does he have the right to create? It seems from that statement logic would dictate it would be right for Him to create, for nothing exist outside of Him. I cannot think of an argument at this point that would prevent Him from creating assuming as the Scripture states He has the power to do so.

Now let’s add another dimension, if God is righteous, then he must create in a way that is right and just. (Dan 9:14  Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.)
So, following this logic, when creation is complete, it must be complete in such as fashion that nothing wrong or unjust exist. (Gen 1:31  And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.)

You stated, “There is no reasoning (scripture) that can be given by the Bible to justify the torture and sacrifice of a Man to exonerate the crimes of others.”  So we are not debating the authority of the statement, but the logic of it.

So far we have a creation that is good, no death exist, no crime, no hate, nothing in creation has committed an injustice. So at this point we have determined I think quit reasonably that it was right for God to create, and there being no injustice committed in or by this creation, we must determine His creation to be right.

I will assume we are good up to here, but now we come to the issue of evil, unrighteousness, and injustice. We will have to determine if it would be right for God to create in such a way as to allow those things to exist in His Creation. We will have to admit He could have created without allowing these elements in His creation since He is infinite in Power and Wisdom. But since He chose not only to allow them but make provision for them, how are we to understand it? And would it be right?

If God in some way of His own essence induces evil into His creation, then He becomes responsible for that evil. Lets try and identify the source of this evil. (Eze 28:15)  Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.) The first appearance of Evil in creation that I can find is here where the great created being that we now know as Satan fell. He was perfect from the day of creation, no contrary thought to perfection, no injustice, complete goodness. But we discover this being diverted from this state and a root of iniquity began to sprout. It did not precede from God, but came from the creature. You find this same process taking root in the first two human beings, iniquity coming from the creature and it falling from it’s original state of being.

But was it right for God to create in such a manner as to make this possible? I think we have determined it was right for God to create, and it was right for Him to create in what ever manner He pleased as long as it is consistence with His Righteousness. If God created a perfect being, but in that perfection gave Him the moral ability to understand God’s purpose and see His Glory; but also possess a consciousness of his own being with an ability to pursue his own purposes and glory, can we charge God with an injustice? I would argue that this would not be an injustice, but a giving of moral responsibility to the creature. The fact God new they would fall does not make it unjust in giving them the opportunity to stand and making them responsibility for it. Even our own experience I think in a small way demonstrates this. We all know our children will fail, yet it is not wrong for us to let them try. Nor is it wrong for them the carry the responsibilities of those failures. They learn from the failure as well as from the consequences of those failures. 


It seems reasonable for God to make demands upon the creature (man) and expect obedience from him. All that would be required of him would be for God’s Glory and the creature’s own good. Then to give the creature the absolute ability of being able to perform that obedience with ease would be perfectly right to require. The fact the creature (man) could recognize the Glory and Majesty of his creator, and possess the ability to recognize what he was as a creature, would be a glorious thing. But sin sprang when the creature through the possessing of these faculties began to desire what God was, for himself and his own glory.


It seems reasonable for God to determine the rules of conduct as long as those rules were right and good. (Gen 2:17  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.)  Though Adam was a very great man, a very good man, and a very happy man, yet the Lord God commanded him; and the command was no disparagement to his greatness, no reproach to his goodness, nor any diminution at all to his happiness. Let us acknowledge God's right to rule us, and our own obligations to be ruled by him; and never allow any will of our own in contradiction to, or competition with, the holy will of God. – Matthew Henry (1662-1714)

It seems reasonable for God to require service from the man since God owns everything, therefore for the enjoyment of living in God’s environment should require something of the man. (Gen 2:15  And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.) 

It seems reasonable and right for God to keep one tree for himself and forbid the man from it’s use, after all, God owns it all and has given the man access to all but one.  (Gen 2:16  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat)

As in all societies, once a law is given, justice demands retribution for the breaking of that law. (for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.) The law and the punishment was made clear and set forward so as the breaking of it would be committed with full understanding. (1Ti 2:14  And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.)

We know that the man committed treason and rebelled against the Maker and time moves on. I took the time to cover all of this to demonstrate that the account of creation and the fall of man follow a logical and reasonable course of actions. God being right and good toward the man, the man being happy and complete in his environment and responsibilities. The man being wrong in his rebellion and punishment just.


But some will say, the punishment does not fit the crime. One disobedient act and all creation is plunged into ruin and the human race into eternal damnation. It is here we do not understand what perhaps Adam may have understood. Before time began, God inhabited an eternity of pure Holiness and Blinding Righteousness. (Isa 57:15  For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.) Now a dependent created being call an angel introduces iniquity for the first time, an act that brought an eternal curse without any means of hope upon itself and all who followed it. Then the one created being that was made in God’s own likeness joined this rebellion which is a crime our minds cannot comprehend. We can only know it’s greatness by it’s punishment. If a man comes upon another man’s property and kicks his dog without provocation, there is a level of retribution to be sought. If he abuses the man, a higher level of retribution is demanded. If he abuses a man of dignity such as a Prince or President an even higher level of retribution is to be sought. If he abuses an infinite being completely out of his species, a being who is eternal and majestic above all known measures, the highest, not of Creation, but the source and fountain of all! At what level does justice seek retribution? But out of pure Mercy, God of His own being meets the demands of divine justice and offers to the man redemption from the fall.

Again, you stated, “There is no reasoning (scripture) that can be given by the Bible to justify the torture and sacrifice of a Man to exonerate the crimes of others.” There is a misunderstanding somewhat in this statement concerning the Christian understanding of Christ Sacrifice. Remember how before we talked about Christ himself having the power to take up again His own life, that no one takes it from him, but he lays it down of his own purpose. Perhaps your military training will help us here. Do we not hold one in high esteem who offers and gives his life for another? Have we not heard the heroic tales of one who threw himself in harms way to save his fellows? The one who threw himself upon the grenade and saved his buddies! Oh, but he had a wife and small children, surely it was wrong for him to make the sacrifice! No, the circumstances of the moment made the sacrifice the right thing to do.

I would suggest the circumstances in which man finds himself in after the fall makes the sacrifice of Christ offering himself to save us the right thing to do. Did the man’s buddies deserve such a sacrifice to save them? They would probably say no. Did we deserve that deity should humble himself and become a man and offer himself in our place? Obviously the answer is no, but it was right for God to show mercy if he choose to do so.

You stated, “It is, in my opinion, morally wrong to hold a child responsible for the crimes (sins) of their parents.” There is a slight misunderstanding of this concept also. It is true we are all guilty in Adam. (Rom 5:12  Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned:) It is not Adams particular crime, but what we became as a result of it. It is the nature of what Adams was that was passed on to his race, sin is as much of who we are as the life we live. For this we ourselves our guilty. (Rom 5:14  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam's transgression, who is a figure of him that was to come.)

I present this in response to your question of reason. I hoped to demonstrate that if the God of the Bible is who He says he is, then the torture and sacrifice of the God Man (Christ) is reasonable in all aspects. It would be the only logical action that could be taken to save the creature. When the concept of such a being as God contrasted with such a creature as man is understood, the logic and reason become more clear. That is what the study of Theology is, that we come to understand these things more clearly. Anytime you reason together and information is share, understanding is lightened. That is Theology to the Christian, reasoning with the Scriptures is like talking with God and understanding things He has revealed. Bringing spiritual things to light. (1Co 2:10  But unto us God revealed them through the Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 
1Co 2:11  For who among men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man, which is in him? even so the things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God. 

1Co 2:12  But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that were freely given to us of God. 
1Co 2:13  Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words. 
1Co 2:14  Now the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged.)
There is more I would like to say about some of the things you mentioned, but this has been a very busy week. Give me some time and I will proceed to try and address some other issues you brought up. I don’t want leave anything in question unaddressed. But for now I hope this at least helps you to see the logic we find.
David


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