Article 11 in a Series (see full lnterfaith list here) This final article continues discussions from last time considering why God must be good. To go further, someone good must be just, as justice is the virtue of giving each their due. The worker earns their wages and should be paid what they have earned. It is morally right. Doing the moral thing is good. Therefore a moral being must give someone what they have earned. As God is not only good, but the source of good, He must also be morality’s source.
Don’t Let Go of God’s Moral Instructions, No Matter WhatAs God is creation’s creator, He is also its governor. In Jonathan Edwards’ words,
[T]he Creator of the world is doubtless also the Governor of it. He that had power to give being to the world, and set all the parts of it in order, has doubtless power to dispose of the world, to continue the order he has constituted, or to alter it.Governance requires communication. As governor, God’s law is a means of communicating His commands to His creation. As creator, His law is supreme. Man’s disobedience is therefore rebellion, a rebellion that is the closest man can come to committing a capital crime against God. If God is just, man must be punished. There is no balance, no mixing of good works and bad works. Virtue is not a balance. There are only fully virtue and vice. Christianity provides a simple solution to a pagan paradox. “Paganism declared that virtue was in a balance. Christianity declared it was in a conflict; the collision of two passions apparently opposite.” Conflict within a will to do good or evil, to promote virtue or practice vice. This view is Christianity’s key to ethics. Paganism holds this passion to be a mixture, a blending of white and black into gray. Accepting the pagan view means becoming not too much of anything. One is neither too prideful nor too humble, too boastful nor too meek. However, when one is not too much of anything, they are also not much of anything. We do not fulfill our purpose or utilize the gifts we have each been given. Suicide and Martyrdom We can examine suicide and martyrdom as a practical application. Some free thinkers say there is no difference between the two. Christianity holds they are opposites. The difference is in love. The suicide cares so little for them self that they are unwilling to live. The martyr loves another so much that they are willing to die for them. Suicide is a lack of love even for self, it centers around self-interest. Martyrdom emphasizes self-sacrifice for another. Saying these are the same is not only foolish but illogical. Pagan thought would assert oil and water to be a type of balance between liquids, but this is only possible if you spin them together fast enough in a small enough circle to make them appear to come together. It requires exerting continuous force to deny their nature. The more you wish them to blend, the greater the effort needed. They naturally separate, and this is Christianity’s point. It simply acknowledges the nature of each, and that each is both fully present and fully different. One can draw a hippopotamus to look like a horse, but then it is no longer a hippopotamus. This difference between suicide and martyrdom can be further illustrated using the suicide bomber and Christ’s crucifixion. But first we need to complete a point. Christ’s nature presents another paradox, one which the Christian approach resolves. Christianity asserts Christ is fully man and fully God. Every heresy about Christ’s nature asserts He is either only man, only God, or a mixture of the two—an application of the pagan world view—neither fully man nor fully God. Christ’s love for each and every one of us is attested to by His giving His life for us. His self-sacrifice paid the price for man’s rebellion, one time for all time as He was God and He was man. Justice required such a sacrifice. A suicide bomber, on the other hand, cares so little for their own life that they are willing to end it, and take as many others with them as they can. It is an act of hopelessness, done in the hope of being rewarded. But if God made creation out of love, then answer why He would reward such a hateful act? It is unjust, giving to another what they are not due. Therefore the bomber’s act is not good. It is not the action of a martyr, but one of suicide. “The man who kills himself, kills all men; as far as he is concerned he wipes out the world.” We’ve laid out the need for justice and morality which are exercised through governance, and that is where we turn next.