The Justice Approach


#1

I’m very tired right now - work graveyard and still have not gone to bed because I was working in the sound booth all day - but I wanted to post a little something from the hidden recesses of my own little mind.

In the imaginary situations in my head I sometimes like to use this approach to surprise people and turn the tables on them. Y’know how they tend to say, “Well your God is just a God of love and no justice, all about the puppies and lollipops and not reality”?

Well, I actually think I’ve used this argument with my dad, but anyway, here goes: how could justice truly conquer while crooked hearts still exist? How could God’s encompassing Law be supreme while there was even one misled person, while there was still somebody who didn’t recognize God’s goodness as worthy of the highest praise? For as long as there are people who are willing to spit on the truth and call it something it is not, and to call good evil and evil good, isn’t justice still wronged and maligned?

Their response might be, but every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of the Father, and people will recognize his justice as supreme and right and good and holy, in the end… that does not mean they will not still go to hell.

But that’s just when you have them, for you can come back with the remark: but if they truly recognize God as supreme and his goodness as true and right, are they not then saved? Hasn’t goodness and right begun to conquer in them the moment they believe in its worthiness? And won’t it go on and on convincing them of its inherent truth and rightness as time goes on?

And wouldn’t a soul in such a condition eventually begin to value the nobility, the rightness of such a truth, even moreso than it delights in itself? And wouldn’t the beauty, the pleasure of such a righteousness, of such a justice and truth, overcome them to the point where their pain and misery is swallowed up in this all-encompassing, pervading reality? And would not God then become to them all-in-all, such to the point where they would be as in heaven itself though surrounded by the very flames of hell?

At this point they, in my imagination at least, would have no answer to this. Perhaps some might find some kind of semantics or thought trick to keep them from the inevitable conclusion, but I thought it might prove interesting to hear some of your thoughts at least.

Have fun with this thought process.

Cheers! :sunglasses:


#2

um, er… maybe somebody could move this to the general discussion on eu forum? I was so tired I didn’t even see it, though I looked several times. Thanks.


#3

Hey!–my mod powers are in fact capable of doing this! Cool! :mrgreen:

Moved per request (somewhat to my surprise). Bumped on the active topic list, too.

Yep, pretty much! :slight_smile:

Moreover, while I understand and sympathize with the wish that this could be alleviated by lollypops and puppies and gentle talkings-too and such–and while I have no doubt that if this is all it takes, this is all anyone’s “hell” will be (kind of like Catholic limbo except with hope instead of hopelessness :wink: )–the fact of the matter is that we ought to know from experience there are people who are, y’know, Nazis. :neutral_face:

Even if God burns up their thorns and thistles (i.e. their ability to oppress their neighbor), it isn’t unrealistic for some people to just be in need of brisk eonian cleaning. It isn’t God’s fault that they’ll feel it as though it’s fire.

(But Christians are exhorted to keep in mind, “yeah, and that might be me, the chief of sinners! Not necessarily those other guys over there.” Unfortunately, we aren’t often exhorted about the second sentence–more often it’s either the first one alone or neither of them. :wink: )


#4

Oh, sweet! Thanks for the move!

Anyway, you’re right, and I’ve had to admit over time that there are truly twisted people in this world, and that they are primarily the subject of God’s ultimate wrath. However, there’s still hope, even for these. Because, you see, I’ve even noticed at one point in my life lurking in the back of my subconscious brain little infant desires to torture, maim and kill-- and thinking about it, those only require the right kind of environment and nurturing to mature into full-bodied violent hate.

Therefore, the question becomes not one of how “worthy” we are or what we deserve, but of getting rid of actual, solid malignance (a handy word since it can refer to cancer as well) and this often requires very tangible purification.

I like what you said in the other thread about sulfur and fire. I’ll have to look into that because it seems to make a very good argument.

Anyways, as for the topic at hand, I look at God’s justice in terms of the right way of doing, and his judgment as the right way of thinking and setting things right. It involves reward just as much as punishment, and involves relieving the suffering of the pure and taking away the pleasure of the selfish, so that everyone may see God clearly (at least eventually!)

Amen and amen.


#5

Quite so!

(Also, don’t feel bad if this thread doesn’t get much comment; most of us are in general agreement with its principles. :slight_smile: )


#6

But thats the whole point of the cross!!! It does regenerate even the worst of people. And yes of course evil needs to be punished-thats kind of why Jesus took the brunt of it!!
But if nazis and people like that were beyond saving then why bother dying for us in the first place? What about people who are already saved? They may have once been nais. If jesus hadnt dies then yes we would all be doomed and would have to face the justice. But it has already been dealt with.


#7

Well we have to face justice anyway but if we are dynamically changed by justice now, it won’t be so bad at the judgment seat. Jesus made it rather clear that we all have to face judgment and justice at one point or another (and in another sense, the two are constantly in force).


#8

There is a lot of interesting nuance in this topic which is also covered over in “Discussion Affirmative” thread here…
[The Classic "God is Love, But God is Just" Argument)

Here’s a point I think gets lost though; it seems that the way the bible talks about Justice it is something an oppressed person expects and welcomes! It means wrongs are about to be righted; Justice is done FOR a person, not so much TO them. It’s what a Righteous God does.

Somewhere along the line the concept of justice has become perverted to mean only punishment for misbehaving. So an act X against society or against the law requires a reaction Y (who has the obligation to actually see that Y gets done?) after which we are now back to some kind of state of being “even”. Somehow a “balance” has been restored again. Penalty has been “paid” and we (wrongly I believe) equate that with “justice”.

In practice however, this makes little sense; a wicked man rapes, and kills, a little girl. Society catches him, convicts him, and punishes him, maybe by killing him, or keeping him in prison the rest of his life. And we say that “justice” has been done… But has it really? That little girl remains dead, and the memory of the horror she experienced haunts her parents and those who loved her for the rest of their lives. To say that God’s justice involves similar dynamics is quite demeaning to God’s concept of justice it seems to me.

As I see it God’s justice will redeem and sooth the loss and horrid memories of those left behind AND it will restore the wicked man as well. Hard as this seems for us, I’m certain that God’s righteousness will do just that. It will win not only repentance by the evildoer, it will also restore relationship between God and all the participants in that drama.

As I understand Japanese culture and society, that is exactly the sort of thing the judge attempts to do as he decides on proper “punishment”. It is not intended to be punitive but redemptive and restorative. Weaver, in his book The NonViolent Atonement tells the story of a Japanese man who kills a girl in an auto accident. There are mitigating factors, but the man is “guilty” before the law. Justice however is seen not as a Lady blindfolded holding the scales of justice as we in the west envision it; rather it is a wise old man whose job is to meet punishment only as it facilitates restoration of relationship between the wronged parties. So in this case the judge forces the guilty man to go to the funeral of the slain girl. More than this, the judge goes to the funeral Himself – where he will witness and judge the mans sincerity. In the end, the judge helps the man empathize with the family who has suffered this great loss, as well as help the family understand the mitigating factors in this mans actions. The goal is to restore the man to his place in that society and to foster forgiveness and restoration for the entire community.

So, I’m thinking that for God, justice is more like this eastern model; God’s goal for us is, and always has been, redemption for all of His creation – even, and especially, for the most evil amongst us. He will settle for nothing less. Justice serves His purpose of Universal Restoration; knowing that, as we here on this site do, illuminates even the most heinous events of history.

Frankly, I continue to shake my head in dumbfounded amazement at HOW God is going to work all this out; That He will do so is quite certain for me however. As to what it will look like from the rebels perspective, I imagine God will slowly let dawn upon them the impotence of their evil; part of what we celebrate this weekend IS God’s victory (His TotalVictory!) over evil – for evil evolved, at the cross, to the most irrational and illogical act in history; the attempt to kill God. Evil was shown to be an abject failure; Sunday morning the ultimate impotence of evil is fully unmasked. It’s supreme weapon, death, has been conquered by the risen Christ.

Imagine the frustration then when God finally lets the evil live with the reality of their own impotence; they seek to control with threat of force, but what power does that ultimately have? None. This frustrates the remaining rebels into an insanity which God will heal by His character of pure love. And for the evil, yes it will be the Fires of Hell.

So for we with the UR faith in God’s healing power to save and restore, Justice is all about redemption…
That’s sort of my take on the matter…

TotalVictory
Bobx3


#9

Stellar
You have been a breath of fresh air since you joined (no slight to the rest of us)

Bobx3
I love reading your posts (nuff said).


#10

Let me ask you - did you create those “little infant desires to torture, maim and kill”? Where did they come from? If you did not create them, are you not a victim to have them in your possession at all?

Rom. 5:18: “Consequently, just as one offense resulted in condemnation for everyone, so one act of righteousness results in justification and life for everyone”.

You were made subject to vanity, not willingly. Human justice requires an eye for an eye. God simply makes those righteous who are not. The evil and sin itself is subject to wrath and death, not the persons who are the victims of one man’s offense.

“the free gift is after many sins unto justification”. The world system hates this- they want retribution (what some call “justice”).

God delights in resurrection from the state of death and sin - not in punishment for a state we did not cause.


#11

Sorry I’ve been so long in responding.

JeffA - thanks! I really appreciate that comment.

firstborn - I totally agree, and thanks for the reminder. I grew up in the tradition of free will and being taught that we choose sin and that we can choose not to sin. I had to gradually realize that God is the only one who can free us from sin’s captivation, that his plan is supreme in this endeavor, and that I only have to recognize that to be saved. This is where Madame Guyon’s book came to be of great help. I clearly saw it spelled out to me how it is God who does the work and not us (though consciously we complement that work on an external level somehow if it is in fact really being undertaken in us).