Neo’s post about Fr Kimel’s words on Saturday prompted this from our commenter, ginny:
this fallacy of some sort of love God has towards His creatures that permits no justice because that would mean He doesn’t love them at all
I reread Fr K thrice and still can’t see where he says what ginny writes here. Fr K does not say anywhere that love precludes justice – but he does write about God’s justice in a way that would baffle someone whose conception of God was an eternal being so touchy of his pride and honour that he would cast his creation into a lake of fire forever because it displeased him. That does sound terribly like an anthropomorphic god derived from the way men thought about all powerful rulers. Now, of course, it might be that that is the case, but if so, it gets a bit puzzling that we are told that God is love and that he is Our Father. What would we make of an earthly father who, when his child displeased him, put her in a hot fire to burn with no chance of ever being taken out? God is Our Father. My daddy was far from perfect, but the most I ever got from him when I was naughty was a smack on the legs and being sent to my rooml he did let me down again. But a God who is love, is worse than any earthly daddy because ‘justice’ requires it?
What sort of ‘justice’ is it when someone else takes the rap for me? If I am guilty of a charge and someone else takes my penalty, that would not satisfy human concepts of justice. I was evil, but kill that man, not me, he is dying for me? Where’s the justice there? It sees pretty clear then that God’s ideas about justice and love are higher than ours. When ginny says Jesus paid this price for us, she answers the question of why thus:
Here is my answer: Pity. For pity’s sake. He pities us like sheep without a Shepherd. Those were His own words.
That, again, is to take the Psalmists analogy rather then the one preferred by Jesus. Jesus is clear, God is like the father in the parable of the Prodigal, he loves us from far off, even when we are in sin, and welcomes us with open arms when we return to him. That’s a hard thing for a human to take – we’re all the elder brother when confronted with another sinner – and the elder brother cried ‘not fair’. That ought to tall us something about the magnitude of God’s. When pronouncing on such things we should always bear in mind Isaiah 55:8-(;
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
We would think a father who thought that justice for his child demanded she be put in a lake of fire forever a brute; if God is perfect love and his ways and thoughts higher than ours, are we really to credit the notion that means that in his wisdom, such behaviour is fine – and even laudable? It seems some think the answer to that is yes.
When we are made new in Christ we are given a new heart within us. For me, when I sin I feel repentance and seek the confessional and forgiveness not because I am scared something rotten that God is going to give me what I deserve, no, I do it for the reasons I used to be sorrowful when I upset my daddy. He loved me, God loves me. I have upset them. My tender heart is touched by their love, and I know I have offended them. So I say sorry; nay, more, I am truly sorry. As to whether God’s notion of justice requires me, or anyone else to burn in hell forever, I leave certainty on that to those who purport to know the mind of the Infinite. For my own part, I know what I deserve, and I know Christ paid that price on my behalf. That is not within the earthly conception of ‘justice’. One might, if one were very good and brave, choose to doe for a good person (as some did and do) but who would die for a person still sunk in sin? The answer is Christ, Jesus. And it is because of his love that my heart goes out in love to him, and it because of his love that I was saved, am being saved and hope, at the last, to be saved. Beyond that is beyond my pay grade.