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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Ethical Dilemma

I once read a short science fiction story where a scientist created a "planet" of little beings. Okay, not a planet. But a world. In his laboratory. He presented himself to them as far as they could understand as their deity. They lived faster than humans, so he would hand them problems that we have in our world and see what they did to combat them. When they came up with a solution, he would take it and give it to the world. He solved hurricanes and tornadoes. He produced a force field to defend the country. All sorts of interesting and helpful things. Then, one day, he went in to check on them and they were gone. They had set out do destroy their deity who gave them all these problems.

It's an ethical dilemma, even if it is theoretical. Assume the situation. A scientist creates a miniature world with miniature, simplified beings. The beings rebel and set out to destroy the scientist. What is his obligation? What are his rights? Is he obligated to do something on their behalf? Is it immoral to eradicate them as a failed experiment and a threat? What is the ethical thing to do?

We want to hold God to a standard I'm not sure we actually hold. He has to act like our big brother, not our God. He has to act like one of us. We have no qualms about wiping out an entire hive of bees or swarm of ants if they're a problem, but God is not allowed to do that with humans. No, we're important and He would do well to remember it. So, when His creatures rebel and go to war against Him -- creatures that are not gods, but creations -- what are His obligations? What are His rights? Is He required to do something on their behalf? Is it immoral to wipe them from the planet? What is the ethical thing to do?

(And, please note. If "the ethical thing to do" is a higher law than God, then what, really, is God? Certainly not the Highest, is He?)


Bob said...

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion,2 but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?.

this the part of the Gospel that is seldom preached. and yet it is God's word on His prerogative, to save whom he pleases. why do we have a problem with this?
that's right i forgot that we have free will and can hold God accountable.

Stan said...

So you're saying, "The ethical thing for God to do is ... whatever He wants, because He's right."?

Stan said...

Apparently I'm wrong. Apparently there IS a higher moral code to which God Himself must submit. Apparently that moral code is whatever humans determine it is. Nice.

(For those who are perpetually confused by the idea that God does whatever He wants because whatever He wants is right, this is NOT suggesting a "God of whims", some deity that just plays around. It is a God who does what is in His nature, remembering that His nature includes "Good". Since His nature is Good, He defines "good" for the rest of us. Thus, for those of you who are ready to pass judgment on a God who commanded Israel to execute the Amalekites (1 Sam 15:3), you've got to figure out, "Is my version of 'good' better than God's -- does God need to subscribe to my version of good -- or is it possible that His version of good is good in ways I don't fully understand?" Of course, you can always go with, "I reject the Bible on this point." But that's a different ballgame, isn't it?)

Bob said...

if this is true than, God seems to violate our Nobel sentiments,and should be judged.
after all if God is loving why don't he just save everyone? doesn't it say that "God so loved the world". there you have it, God loves everybody so it must be that its just our free will, that keeps God from saving people. Right?
why don't we just remove/ignore all of Romans 9 from the scriptures.
besides Paul didn't really mean what he said, he was only kidding....

what is it about God being sovereign that rubs us the wrong way?
oh i know... pick me, pick me.
we want to be gods too... and there is already too many gods in this town.

Josh said...

This is a terrible analogy. What a horrific picture of God. Jesus had a better one you should check out, Luke 15:11-32

Stan said...

Let me see if I understand you. Either God did not create Man, or Man did not rebel against God. Which is the "horrific picture of God" to which you refer. Please note, however, that I'm offering a hypothetical dilemma. The question is "Is God obligated to save?" Or perhaps you're saying, "Yes, He is, and, in fact, Jesus will save everyone"?

Long story short, I don't understand what you're trying to say in response to the question "What are His rights and obligations?".

Josh said...

Is God obligated to save, I guess not. Does Jesus reveal that God desires to save, yes. Why spend time debating God's moral right to kill us all, when the Bible shows us a different picture?

Stan said...

Because many (most?) believe that God should save everyone, that Hell is a travesty of justice, that God is obligated to save us. Many believe that God is required, by virtue of being our "Father" (without actually thinking through the metaphor), to treat us as children, not subjects or creatures. Because if you believe that God owes you salvation, then why would you be grateful? Because if God is intending to save everyone, He's failing miserably. Because the Bible says that God's will is to demonstrate His power and wrath on vessels of wrath prepared for destruction. (In other words, the surprise is not that more aren't saved; it's that ANY are saved.)

David said...

Stan wasn't advocating the analogy as a good picture of God. He wasn't even the one that came up with it. That is a worldly analogy and he's pointing out the flaw.

Bob said...

Acts:2 37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own,2 and his own people 3 did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

could you please show me THE DIFFERENT PICTURE?
perhaps you could paste some scripture, as opposed to just your world view.
i agree that Jesus desired to save, but for whom did he die?

Stan said...

David, my question regarding the ethics that govern God revolve around the question of what a Creator owes His creation. The question I offered was a theoretical one. Could God destroy all His creation and not be unjust in doing so? Certainly I'm not claiming He would. IF God could not ethically destroy His own derailed creation, then God is faulty in not saving more. IF God could ethically destroy His own derailed creation, then we would be amazed that He is saving as many as He does.

Bob said...

, “There was a man who had two sons.
the son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’3 22 But the father said to his servants,4 ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
ok i just read Mark 15:11-22.
is this a story about saving unbelievers? or is it a story about repentance of a son of God?
there is the father and a Son. they are family, before the story even begins. is this the different picture ? this story if anything, is very exclusive, because it highlights the everlasting love the father has for His son. to the exclusion of all others. i don't see the evangelistic message for the unbeliever in this message, simply because the unbeliever is NOT a child of God.
i don't want to be right, i just want to know the truth.

Josh said...

Stan is this your point:

"God would have been right to kill us all off, so be thankful he was merciful enough to save even a few."

Also, in what sense is creation derailed if it is exactly as God knew and created it to be?

Stan said...

Last question first. When God finished creation "It was good." It isn't anymore. Sad that we get derailed by word particulars when we can't agree on basic definitions. I simply meant that this was not the world God created.

I suppose that wording will do. I would have said, "God is not obligated to save any, so we should be grateful He saves some."