God Working Through Government

A Rational Faith Section 7.10 God Working Through Government

Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. (Genesis 9:6)

With these words, God established an important principle. Before this time, God has not established an “eye for an eye” principle in order to restrain human evil. Since he was forced to destroy human beings in the flood, however, God is now making a few changes. He already decreased human lifespans that human evil would not increase without bound (Genesis 6:3). In this verse, he empowers man to use evil in order to restrain evil.

God’s purpose in giving human beings this authority against those who practice violence is clear. Among the fornicators, liars, rapists, thieves and other assorted sinners that populate the earth, there are some whose evil is truly outstanding in the statistical sense of that term. Because of their evil hearts, these men would be quite capable of killing every man, woman and child on the earth without remorse. In order to preserve the human race from wanton and unrestrained violence, God empowers human beings through government to use evil in order to restrain rampant evil. Taking human life, therefore, is never “good” or “righteous” before God. Taking human life is an evil act that God authorizes in order to avoid the widespread murder and violence that would occur otherwise.

During his earthly ministry, Jesus taught tremendous principles of personal pacifism in the face of persecution. Many people believe that the teachings of Jesus on this subject supplant God’s earlier authorization to use evil to restrain evil. Believing this, these people argue that Christians cannot support war or the use of violence. While Jesus’ teachings clearly demonstrate God’s view of violence, the case for pacifism on the national scale is not as clear cut.

When Paul was persecuted unlawfully in various cities within the Roman empire, he appeals to the civil authority instead of submitting to death (Acts 25:11). He also warns Christian believers to be afraid of those who bear the sword because they are agents “of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer”. (NIV Romans 13:4) These verses and many others suggest that God wants Christian believers to practice personal pacifism while relying on and supporting the agents of the state that are authorized to use violence in order to restrain human evil.

About Robert V

Former atheist currently living in Toronto.
This entry was posted in Rational Faith Extracts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to God Working Through Government

  1. Mr. Atheist says:

    Quick question. Why is life expectancy increasing?

    • Life expectancy is increasing as scientific advancement enables medicine to improve the techniques that prolong human life.

      • Mr. Atheist says:

        But if scientific advancement enables medicine to improve the techniques that prolong human life does this mean we need to rely on god less and less?

        You state:
        “He already decreased human lifespans that human evil would not increase without bound (Genesis 6:3).”

        Did I miss something?

      • I don’t understand the problem? Let us do a quick review.

        People die of a variety of causes. If you die in your twenties, chances are you died of suicide or an automobile accident. Later on 40-70, the predominant causes of death become heart disease and cancer. Some people are healthy and don’t get cancer and don’t have problems with heart disease. These people can reach the maximum theoretical human lifespan which is 120 years as per Genesis 6:3. This theoretical lifespan is determined by the Hayflick limit and cellular senescence and might be a response to the cosmic radiation which continuously bombards the earth from extra-solar sources such as the Vela supernova fragment. (As your body is continuously bombarded by cosmic rays, mutations occur in your cells which would cause cancer in the absence of programmed cell death.)

        Now as human technology improves, we are able to increase lifespans because people who used to die in car accidents can be saved, people who used to die of heart attacks can be saved and people who used to die of cancer can be saved. (By various techniques.) These people can now live to the maximum theoretical human lifespan of 120 years and our average lifespan increases.

        So what is your question? Something about relying on God less?

  2. Mr. Atheist says:

    Yes. How is good necessary?

  3. Michael Snow says:

    As a pacifist Christian, I basically agree with your view of Romans 13. http://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/romans-13-in-context/
    It is interesting that the Quaker founder, George Fox, exhorted Christians of his day to cooperate with the police powers of their government. See links here on Geo. Fox quote: http://christianpacifismblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/pacifist-quotes-2/
    And see the link there to Spurgeon’s quotes on Chriistians and warfare.

    The thing I would disagree with is if the qjuote from Genesis is used to support the judicial death penalty as is often done by Christians. Numbers 35 gives us the reason that God commanded the death penalty [atonement for the sins]. Christ’s Atonement is the final and full satisfaction for all sins.

    • Michael,

      We have a disagreement here. When Jesus was sentenced to die, he said

      Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” (John 19:11)

      Pilate had the authority to put him to death “from above”.

      But I always appreciate a thoughtful person so thank you for commenting!

      God Bless,

      rob

  4. Pingback: Is Turning the Other Cheek Evil? | A Thoughtful Christian

  5. Michael Snow says:

    rob, I agree that Pilate had authority ‘from above’ to put him to death [or there would have been no final atonement].
    My point is that Christians who demand the death penalty based on the Old Testament are ignoring or unaware of the reason for the judicial death penalty given in the OT and they are not looking at it in the light of the NT.
    Numbers 35 “the murderer shall be put to death… You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.”
    Blessings

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