Monday, April 6, 2015

"But God Killed Millions of People" = "But the Police Officer Was Speeding"

It struck me as I was passed on the other side of the road by a police officer stopping someone for speeding.

It's law -- police officers are allowed to "violate" various laws that apply to regular motorists/civilians if they do so in the pursuit of bringing a civilian to justice for violating a law.

Here's a synopsis from Wikipedia:
In 2007, the United States Supreme Court held in Scott v. Harris (550 U.S. 372) that a "police officer's attempt to terminate a dangerous high-speed car chase that threatens the lives of innocent bystanders does not violate the Fourth Amendment, even when it places the fleeing motorist at risk of serious injury or death."
In other words, a police officer is allowed to speed (and even drive in a manner that would be reckless if he wasn't pursuing a fleeing suspect) in order to apprehend a suspect.

There might be other laws or cases that are even more relevant. But suffice it to say, it's recognized by human government that agents of law enforcement are immune to prosecution for the violation of certain laws, that arise inadvertently out of the execution of their law enforcement powers.

God killed millions of people -- this is a common objection by unbelievers, on the basis of this supposedly being a cause for moral outrage. "Such a God is not worthy of worship because He makes excuses for Himself and commits murder etc."

Such an objection is wrong for so many reasons.
1. There is no basis for moral outrage if you reject God's authority, because He's the only valid foundation for morality. Without an absolute moral law, all assertions about morality are merely preferences.
2. Murder is the unjustified killing of a person. God is justice, and everything He does is justified. Ergo, it is logically impossible for God to murder, because every time God kills someone, it is justified.
3. Everyone who ever dies was killed by God, including those who die of old age, miscarriage, 'natural causes,' etc -- people who are almost always ignored in favor of manufacturing offense at the fact that a vanishingly small minority of people have died in violent circumstances. The person who projects this offense fails to realize that God is the giver and taker of ALL life, and everyone who ever dies is taken in death by the Lord's hand. The reason we die is because we are made mortal by the sin of Adam, which we all participate in.

And on top of all that,

4. God's justice is completely consistent even with contemporary notions of common/civil law that recognizes that authorities are not subject to all of the laws they enforce. FBI and police officers are not subject to concerns about theft (commandeering/impounding a vehicle), murder (killing a violent armed subject), property damage (liability), etc. God is subject to even less.

Why? Because most of God's Law has to do with our relation to each other, and our relation to Him. He can never violate those because He's not a mere man. And for those laws that are based in His nature, He never violates -- divorce is based on God's commitment to those He saves, and God will never abandon His saints. Murder is based in the destruction of God's image -- God cannot be destroyed, so He can't violate that. Theft is taking something that isn't yours, but everything belongs to God, so He can't violate that. Same thing with lust and greed--desiring something that doesn't belong to you. Quite simply, when you boil down every law of morality that apply to humans, they don't limit God's actions toward us. God's behavior toward Himself is the only limitation, and it's based in Himself, not imposed from without.

Bottom line: the moral outrage against "God killing people in Noah's flood," or "God telling the Israelites to kill the Canaanites," or "God killing the Egyptian firstborns" -- is manufactured, baseless outrage rooted in an unquestioned false assumption about the nature of God's relationship with His creation. He is not subject to our rules. We are subject to His.

If this is the kind of argument you make: Know your place.

~ Rak Chazak

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