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Thursday, July 17, 2008

An Unjust Lawgiver

I was asked once in a comment to my blog why, if I somehow came to know that the Christian God exists, do I qualify that I would believe in him, but not worship him. Ray's most recent post Heaven or Hell? sheds some light on it (along with his previous God is not All-Loving).

I remember being a freshman or sophomore in high school and was taking World History. I am not sure where the subject of American Law came up, but it was in juxtaposition to other countries where laws are arbitrary, unwritten, or undisclosed. She commented that, in America, not knowing the law is not an excuse for violating it; in America, we have a justice system wherein all the laws are written down and available to the public (voluminous though they may be).

God has fashioned himself after America by also writing all his laws down in a book -- very just, right? Some of them, like slavery, subjugation of women, etc, have been repealed (due to secular modernity) but the law has not been updated to reflect this nor does it have an amendment process. But I digress.

He has written them down, being the just god that God is. He has, however, failed to make them available to all those who are subject to the laws (every person who has and ever will live). And if you fail to receive a copy of these laws, through no fault of your own, you are to be tortured for all eternity, regardless of whether or not you lived your life better than those who are getting into Heaven?

Some child in a miserable third world country and who never even heard the name Jesus Christ and never even knew that such a book of laws existed, starves to death -- literally starves to death -- then gets tortured for all eternity?

This... this is justice? This is how a just God behaves? Either we are to believe that a perfect being, who is perfectly just, would commit to his creations such atrocities, or we are to believe that the book has been corrupted and perverted over the MILLENIA (regardless of whether it was divinely inspired or not in the first place). What greater injustice could there be than to infinitely punish someone for a finite violation of a law that a Lawgiver never gave them?

I thought, for sure, all of the Christian commenters would attack Ray on his post. Some did, but some took a more peculiar approach:
Some have said, "Um, okay, no one's ever told me that before and I've been fine so far, so..."

I don't think any of us can say that we have absolute knowledge that anyone who has died and gone to Hell never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel.
Let's just avoid the hard questions altogether by pulling out the gem of absolute knowledge? Someone has listened to a bit too many Ray-tracts. There are several things wrong with this, but I will point out two problems with this statement:

Absolute knowledge of the antithesis

Your claim is that you know that no one has died without hearing the Gospel. Such a claim requires absolute knowledge. How dare you make such a claim! You are not omniscient jesusrulzme, only God is. Therefore, you don't really know... you are agnostic (ignorant).

Hypothetical question

This doesn't even require any evidence that there has ever been a case where no one has heard the Gospel (though I could make irrefutable arguments to such an end). It, like my third world country child, is taken as a purely hypothetical question:
A hypothetical question is one that is answered only in terms of validity, not soundness. Thus the question is designed to make a number of assumptions, and be answered as if those assumptions are true.
Based on the hypothetical question that a person died without ever hearing the Gospel, Ray (speaking for God) casts them into the fiery bowels of Hell.

Others on this topic
The Raytractors (Clostridiophile)
Flinging Dust


Anonymous said...

Very insightful. I think it's safe to say some people at some point in time have never heard the gospel and god has thrown them in hell (according to the bible). I think many fundamentalists want to deny this possibility exists. It's like the Christians who say god would never throw children or the mentally disabled in hell since they do not have the mental capacity to accept Jesus. Yet, I think these are assumptions as I have never come across a bible verse suggesting such a thing.

Anonymous said...


"And if you fail to receive a copy of these laws, through no fault of your own, you are to be tortured for all eternity, regardless of whether or not you lived your life better than those who are getting into Heaven?"

Yet, God gave us a conscience. Man knows what is right and what is wrong.

For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. (Romans 2:14-16)

God is going to judge all mankind.
He will judge the ones who have been given the law stricter than those who have never heard of it.

Therefore the people who have not heard of the law will indeed be judged by the law of God which has been placed into there heart.

Hope that answered a few of your questions!

Have a great day discomforting ignorance, or JT!

In Christian Love,

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