To say on the authority of the Bible that God does a thing no honourable man would do, is to lie against God; to say that it is therefore right, is to lie against the very spirit of God. To uphold a lie for God’s sake is to be against God, not for him. God cannot be lied for. He is the truth. The truth alone is on his side. While his child could not see the rectitude of a thing, he would infinitely rather, even if the thing were right, have him say, God could not do that thing, than have him believe that he did it. If the man were sure God did it, the thing he ought to say would be, ‘Then there must be something about it I do not know, which if I did know, I should see the thing quite differently.’
But where an evil thing is invented to explain and account for a good thing, and a lover of God is called upon to believe the invention or be cast out, he needs not mind being cast out, for it is into the company of Jesus. Where there is no ground to believe that God does a thing except that men who would explain God have believed and taught it, he is not a true man who accepts men against his own conscience of God.
I acknowledge no authority calling upon me to believe a thing of God, which I could not be a man and believe right in my fellow man. I will accept no explanation of any way of God which explanation involves what I should scorn as false and unfair in a man. If you say, that may be right of God to do which it would not be right of man to do, I answer, yes, because the relation of the maker to his creatures is very different from the relation of one of those creatures to another, and he has therefore duties toward his creatures requiring of him what no man would have the right to do to his fellow man; but he can have no duty that is not both just and merciful. More is required of the maker, by his own act of creation, than can be required of men. More and higher justice and righteousness is required of him by himself, the Truth; greater nobleness, more penetrating sympathy; and nothing but what, if an honest man understood it, he would say was right. If it be a thing man cannot understand, then man can say nothing as to whether it is right or wrong. He cannot even know that God does it, when it is unintelligible to him. What he calls it may be but the smallest facet of a composite action. His part is silence.
If it be said by any that God does a thing, and the thing seems to me unjust, then either I do not know what the thing is, or God does not do it. The saying cannot mean what it seems to mean, or the saying is not true.
JasonPratt wrote:Welcome to the forum!
Don't worry too much about misidentification: Alex's forum name is spelled out, and more importantly he gets to have one of those nice "administrator" tags under his name.
Jeff - I am intrigued (in a positive way) that, if I have understood you correctly, you seem more convinced of UR than of the existence of God? I would be very interested to hear more, if you would you be happy to expand on that? (If you have already do so in another post, perhaps you could send me a link?)JeffA wrote:I am currently agnostic about so much (including the existence of God) but curiously am convinced of the Bible's universalistic teaching (I hope it's not just wishful thinking).
This touches on one of the main aspects I am grappling with at the moment and finding quite challenging, namely whether to believe that the premise that God always acts with 'holy love' can be reconciled with acts/commands of violence ascribed to God in the Old Testament - and if so, how. As I understand it, the 'holy love' premise - that God's actions for everyone are ultimately both just and loving - underlies evangelical universalism / universal reconciliation, and accepting it therefore seems key to accepting EU/UR. The premise is described by Thomas and Gregory/Robin in their books, and comes up later in your George MacDonald quote:"To say on the authority of the Bible that God does a thing no honourable man would do, is to lie against God; to say that it is therefore right, is to lie against the very spirit of God."
I have started reading other threads here on violence in the OT, so might post further in such threads (which is presumably where any much deeper conversations about this should continue)."... he can have no duty that is not both just and merciful."
I particularly like that thought. For me at the moment, the heart and will are strong to believe in UR, but (part of) the mind is saying "Hold on, there is still much to work through, and what about such-and-such-possible-problem ..."!Sobornost (=Dick) wrote:Oh well it sounds like regarding UR you wouldn't be seeking if you hadn't already found; ...
Another good thought - and what a mustard seed to have!JeffA wrote:It's even possible that my stance is my mustard seed (who knows).
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