Is God fair?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Matt Black, Mar 11, 2003.

  1. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    This touches and concerns doctrines such as penal substitutionary atonement and election, but goes beyond them, which is why I've started it here. I'd be interested in people's views on the following:-

    1. Is it fair that Jesus took finite punishment for our sins (death) but that non-Christians suffer infinite punishment for theirs (eternal damnation)?

    2. Is it fair if, as some believe, some people are predestined by God for eternal salvation and some for eternal damnation?

    3. Is it fair that those born in Muslim countries and brought up devout Muslims and who never hear the Gospel are damned?

    4. If the answer to 3 is 'yes', is it also fair that babies and young children who die having never had an opportunity to respond to the Gospel are damned?

    That will do for the moment. Please understand, I am not trolling, these are questions with which I struggle pretty much on a daily basis. I genuinely want answers, but not pat answers of the nature of "shall the clay talk back to the potter". Neither am I denying that "God's ways are not our ways"; in fact, just the opposite - I am suggesting that, as we are made in God's image and likeness and that God's ways are higher than ours, surely then God's sense of fairness and justice must be higher and that if we as humans - as I do - feel a sense of injustice about these questions, surely God must too? So how do we tie this all up...?

    Answers on a postcard please....

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  2. timothy 1769

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    imo:

    is god fair in that no one is treated in a way they don't deserve? yes

    is god fair in that he treats everyone the same? no

    the problem with such questions is that they focus too much on us and our rights and not enough on god and his glory. perhaps that is the kind of pat answer you don't want [​IMG]
     
  3. Pastor Larry

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    I don't accept number 1. Christ's death was an infinite death, not a finite one. His infinite perfections made his death of infinite value.

    As for fairness, God is God. People born in muslim worlds go to hell for their sin, just like everyone else who goes to hell.

    I think the search for "fairness" in God is ultimately a misguided effort. God is God. That is teh point of Rom 9.
     
  4. Rakka Rage

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    i dont event get this, would it be "more fair" if jesus died "longer"?

    death may seem "light" to us... who must, at the end of our lives die. but to one who has existed perfectly forever, death may have been a bit more of a sacrifice.

    yes.
     
  5. Johnv

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    "Fair" means "equitable". God is not fair. He is just and merciful. He doesn't give us our share, he gives us more than our share.
     
  6. RebelBaptist

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    As I have come to understand, this is God's universe, and we are just living in it. Whatever is fair is what He says it is.

    As for salvation as I understand it, one is not damned because they are a muslim, or because they are of some race that has never heard of Jesus, or because they are bad people. No, damnation comes because of sin, and the fact that all men and women of accountability are guilty of it. Only by Jesus can one be saved, and that is why we have to get the word out here and around the world. Missionaries especially --- God bless them!

    Now if God was REALLY unfair,then he would have just left us all in our sin to go to hell for all eternity. The fact that Jesus came to us, died, and resurrected shows to me that God is a very fair God indeed.

    From the Southland,
    Rebel [&gt;&lt;]
     
  7. Daniel Dunivan

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    I don't think the answers we can give provide for an adequate answer to the base of your questions. We shoot at the truth, but in this case we are at a strong disadvantage through our human finitude. The deeper question of evil lies at the base of what you are asking. How can an all good and all powerful God exist when evil is so easily perceived? And if He does exist what does our understanding of right/wrong mean in the face of God's seeming apathy? I too struggle with these questions, and I have been studying theology and philosophy of religion at the graduate level for 5 years now. There are no easy answers, and many of those provided only point to the insensitivity of some Christians to the pain of the victims of evil.

    Grace and Peace, Danny [​IMG]
     
  8. j_barner2000

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    fair.... all have sinned and come short of the glory. I deserve Hell and eternal sepration from God by 1 sin. The fact that He sent His Son is certainly not fair, and I am glad of it. I am glad He extends His grace and not justice to me.
     
  9. D.R.

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    God is completely just in all His actions. I think we misunderstand who God is and interject what we feel is fair based on White Anglo Saxon Protestant and American democratic values. God is not a democrat. He is a a complete dictator. He dictates all of time and space. Is He fair? It really doesn't matter. He is God. And as such He created us and He can destroy us and send us to Hell for eternity without giving us a choice in the matter. Many old theologians considered why they would be given life in light of who God is. TOday we often think why we are not given life in light of who we are. I think we need to get back to seeing the God of Isaiah in his book, chapter 6 and Job in chapter 42. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
    DR
     
  10. donnA

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    God is always fair. Questions about His possable unfairness come from us judgeing Him against our own idea of fair. But God is perfect, and sin free, without flaw, and so are His acts and judgements. We can't play by our rules, but His. Only His are fair.


    Jesus died for the sins of men, if they suffer in hell for eternity,then it is becasue they themselves did not ask for forgiveness and accept Jesus death for their sins.(depending on if your calvinest or armenien of course, sorry about spelling)

    Everyone would have been destined to hell, as we all deserve, without Jesus, so no it's not unfair if in fact some are destined to hell. God was loving and good enough to give us a way not to go to hell.

    Would it be fair for Jesus to die on the cross, and some get to heaven without Him, another way?


    No reply, want no arguments.
     
  11. JamesJ

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    Hi Matt,

    I used to struggle with that "Is God Fair" too until I read Matthew 20:1-16

    Realize that this is God's creation. He is not here for our purpose and pleasure, we are here for His.

    I think Bildad the Shuhite said it best in Job 8:3

    God always does right and is always fair. We may not understand His ways but I have faith in Him, that He knows His ways, and that He is right.
     
  12. Matt Black

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    Thanks to all who've responded so far, esp to Daniel and James. As I keep saying, this is a really thorny issue for me, particularly as a lawyer concerned with the idea of justice and mercy. Thanks also to Pastor Larry for steering me in the right direction wrt #1.

    Rakka Rage, you ask me whether Jesus should have died 'longer'. No, I'm not saying that; my question was really, in the light of Jesus finite punishment, should sinners go to Hell for an eternity rather than a finite period? But, as I say, Pastor Larry has at least partially answered that point.

    But what about ideas of (s)election and opportunities to respond to the Gospel. DR has said that we shouldn't judge these kind of things according to our standards; but Johnv has said that God gives us more than our share - which is kind of my point here: surely God acts more highly than our standards and if by our standards we perceive injustice, how much more does God?

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  13. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    1. YES. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
    John 3:16.
    (What could be more fair than that?)

    2. YES. "He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
    John 3:18
    (That doesn't sound like anyone is predestined to go to hell.)

    3. YES. "And they went forth, and preached everywhere , for the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen."
    Mark 16:20
    (There are missionaries preaching to the Muslims. How can we say God is unfair if they choose not to listen?)

    4. YES OR NO WILL NOT SUFFICE. "But Jesus said, '"Suffer little children, and forbid them not to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven'".
    Matthew 19:14
    (I believe babies go to Heaven because they have not willfully sinned and they no longer have to pay for the sins of their fathers).

    Blessings,
    Sue
     
  14. Matt Black

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    Thanks, Sue, I like your answers although I'm not sure what a Calvinist would make of them ;) . On #1, 'whomsoever' - what about those who've never heard?

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  15. Dan Todd

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    We, finite human beings, try to box the infinite God into our conception of what we think God should be.

    Romans 9:17 - For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
    18. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
    19. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
    20. Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
    21. Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
    22. What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
    23. And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

    Was God fair with Pharaoh? God is God - and He can and does do exactly what He wants to do - and when we see Him face to face - we'll most likely be so busy doing His will - we won't even think to ask Him whether He was fair or not.
     
  16. Artimaeus

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    Gen 18:25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

    Talk about your rhetorical question. Just imagine yourself making it to heaven despite your doubts about certain issues and you have the nerve to ask about your concern. "It doesn't seem fair to me that...?" The Lord lovingly smiles and answers your question, and you go, "oh". It is now too late to make up for the fact that your had spent years in doubt instead of in faith that God would ALWAYS do that which is right.
     
  17. Terry_Herrington

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    God may not conform to the human idea of fairness. The problem is not God fitting into our understanding, it is that we should acknowledge that God is always right. It may appear that He is not being fair, however, we do not have the same perspective that God has. Since He sees and knows all things, we should trust in what He is doing.

    It is difficult to believe that God loved us sinful human beings enough to send Jesus to die in our place and, at the same time, to believe that he then would treat us unfairly.

    I believe that in eternity, when we can see things that now are hidden, we will understand that the only unfair thing about God is that He allowed his judgment to fall on Jesus in our place. After all, God did not rebel against us; we rebelled against Him.
     
  18. Artimaeus

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    ...and even that was right, Terry, even that.
     
  19. Terry_Herrington

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    Artimaeus,
    Maybe I am not understanding you. Are you saying that it was right for man to rebel against God? :confused:
     
  20. Artimaeus

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    [​IMG] No, Terry, I was saying that when you said,

    "the only unfair thing about God is that He allowed his judgment to fall on Jesus in our place."

    That even that was right. (I thought there was a smiley for embarrassment) :confused:
     

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