The concept of time and justice

I am not sure how well I will do with this blog today, but I wanted to take a minute to try and reply to some feedback I received from a brother in Christ to my blog from Saturday. As Christians one of the deeper topics we wrestle with is God's sovereignty and man being held accountable for his actions. The Bible does indeed teach both, and yet they seem mutually exclusive. They come to a head and - hopefully - can be seen in the judgement to come. One one hand we see man, and the in the fall displayed, an ability to choose to not obey God's commands (i.e. sin). God was pretty clear, "...the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Gen 2:17 esv) And yet man does eat of it. Man choose to disobey and suffered the consequences. The immediate affects were for him to no longer live on and on. He would now suffer death. The entire Bible testifies to this affect. Man sins and will ultimately pay the price unless a substitute death is offered. As Christians we have Christ paying this price for us. We may suffer some consequences in this life, but for the life to come it has been paid in full. On the other hand we have God's sovereignty. And to be honest this is the one we have the most difficulty grasping. Another thread through out the Bible is that God is sovereign. The winds, the stars, none of it escapes His notice or control. But the 'difficulty' comes with the interaction with man. Two different ideas have come to my mind in this regard. Bear with me. :) One is that of a scientist performing maze experiments with a mouse. The mouse has to navigate the maze in order to reach the prize. At no time does the scientist tell the mouse to go one way or another, and yet the scientist can change the maze itself, can drop crumbs of cheese to encourage which way to go, etc. The scientist is altogether seperate from the maze, and yet can control it. I think in many ways parallels can be seen between man and God. God does not make us perform a certain way - although He has, and does - intervene in our journey through this life. He never forces us to comply, and he allows for our free decissions. The other image I have is of God existing outside of what we conceive as time. Time is a created thing. It is clear that God has always been. There is no beginning of God. He was there before the world was created. He sees the end from the beginning. "All the days of my life were written in Your book before one of them came to be" (Psalm 139). In the judgement we have the diffinetive example that no sin goes unpunished. It does not escape His attention. One of the comforting things for a Christian is that we are not the ultimate judge of others. That those that seem to sin and get ahead in life will ultimately pay for such arrogance. So now I come back to how can God allow sin and yet remain sovereign? It comes down to a matter of perspective. We see only the here and now (in relation to eternity). When we see God allowing sin and not doing anything about it we hear that God must not be sovereign, or that He is some how a guilty party in the said sin. And yet we are not taking into account the judgement. In God's soveregnty He is able to both allow the sin - to help mold us into the image of his Son (Romans 8) - and yet He is not guilt of sin. After all He did not perform the sin - her merely allowed it for a time so that we can see the consequences in a finite form. In the end all sin will be accounted for. Does God have the ability to just stop all sin in its tracks? Surely, but if He was to do so creation would no longer exist. But how can God's righteousness and mercy be displayed for all eternity through robots that were just picked to follow Him? And how can God be sovereign and all powerful if anything is beyond His control? As finite beings we see things in shades of white to grey to black. But in God it is truly black or white. God is sovereign, is perfectly just, is perfectly holy. I hope this was helpful. I've never actually tried to outline it out before. By God's mercy this has been something that has intrested me for sometime. If this has not been helpful please let me know. But ultimately it is something each of us has to pray through. I doubt that I have this all wrapped up either. But at least I get to roll it around in my mind like a 'Rubik's Cube', and on some level interact with my God. :) For further study I highly recommend "Bible Doctrine" by Wayne Grudem. This is the "Reader's Digest" version of "Systematic Theology" by the same author. Verse for today: Romans 8:18-25 esv For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

No comments: