The Angels Game from Gary North is a great metaphysical post. But it leaves me with an indirect question.
Other people are deeply troubled by the question of evil, insisting that God can’t be all-powerful, all-good, and all-just while evil still exists. I have never worried about it, because
- The Rationalists merely want to replace “The Problem of Evil” with “Evil? No Problem!” (Hat tip to Douglas Wilson for that bit of wisdom – amply backed up with real-world evidence.)
- Humans certainly can behave like utterly self-centred fiends – and the smarter, wealthier, more powerful, and less restricted and restrained they are, the more comprehensively evil, oppressive, deceitful, and disgusting they behave. I simply refuse to recognize their right to judge God while they insist on justifying any and every nasty, cruel, delusional, and utterly depraved and evil act they care to imagine.
- Christ the King came to die for His people. That kind of kingly sacrifice was vanishingly rare in the pre-modern era (Do they even exist?), and simply impossible in the secular era of self-serving masters.
What rests on my mind is a different question: Why is God merciful?
There are an ample number of excellent reasons – some perfectly just and righteous, others simply reasonable and practical – why humanity should have been extinguished with the rebellious act of Adam & Eve, or (alternatively) all humanity should have been condemned to hell.
Yet God refused to take the easy road – a road no one could reasonably deny Him – and instead took the difficult, pain-laden, humiliating, grindingly slow road.
Without the example of Christ, I would have insisted that God, by His very nature, can never be brave, self-sacrificial, courageous, or give Himself for the protection and safety of anything at all. I would have held these to be the incommunicable attributes of Man at his best.
And Moslems, Jews, and other speakers of the humanist half-truths of God may well follow down that road.
But Christ has cut off that hell-bound road of self-glorifying blasphemy, for all who trust in His Name.
The very best that mankind can be is in the person of Christ Jesus.
Christ is by far the bravest, courageous, and self-sacrificial Man that ever was. He gave Himself for the protection and safety of all who are called by His Name, and not just this, but even saved the Creation and the Future as well, rendering the New Creation sinless by calling the Lake of Fire into being for His enemies to be cast into – a place that we didn’t know of, and may well not even existed, before Christ said the word just as He called the universe into being, so many years ago.
Christ is the First-born, and the best of the attributes of Man – including courage, bravery, and self-sacrifice – have their roots and wellspring in Him.
And Christ is God in the Flesh.
So, there are no ‘incommunicable attributes of Man’ – none worth mentioning, anyways. EVERYTHING that is good, true, righteous, and noble, has their root in the Blessed Trinity.
So, why is God Merciful?
To further exalt the Name of Christ Jesus, Maker and rightful Master of all Creation, God in the Flesh.
And also, to bless, sanctify, and strengthen those who take shelter in the Name of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ made the stars and the worlds as signs for the sake of man, yet died naked on a cross to save His Beloved, the Church, from Hell – a punishment He took on His own Person, instead.
His sacrifice pleased God Most High, so death could no longer hold Him, and after His Resurrection from grave, Christ Jesus now sits at the right hand of God.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. — Ephesians 2:4-10
The Church holds the keys to the kingdom, and only prayers in Christ’s name reach the presence of the Father. God’s people sits in the heavenly places, even to rule under His authority – an authority that is already establish in Christ, and increasingly manifested in the lives of His followers, and in the outer world as well.
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” — Matthew 16:18
Where these gates of hell are located – in Rome or Mecca or Jerusalem or Delhi, Washington or Brussels or London or Moscow, or Tokyo or Beijing or Pyongyang or Hanoi – none of that matters. The gates of hell will fail, and in time, all of these cities will willingly bend the knee to Christ… as their peoples will demand it.
Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. — Acts 4:10-12
This isn’t a contest of power, as it is obvious that God is all-powerful, and Satan is not.
This is a contest of ethics (as North would put it), of moral supremacy.
Christ has already come up on top of that contest in history, and the consequences of His Triumph will only multiply in power and force as time, knowledge, and technology increases.
Christ is King, in Righteousness, Mercy, and Justice, as well as in Might, Power, and Knowledge.
And not sinful and rebellious man, who without Christ
rots even as he struggles to stand.
In Christ’s Name,
Amen, and Amen.