We hear the words justice and injustice used every day in the media, online and in private and group conversations. I wonder if we know what the words mean? Do we know the difference between human ideas of justice and injustice and God’s idea of justice and injustice? There is a big difference and it’s one we should know and understand. I’ll explain why as we move through this new series.
Many people who espouse human justice don’t believe in the existence of God. They believe that human justice is all that exists. If that’s true, that God does not exist, then what humans believe about justice becomes little more than a compilation of opposing views with limited importance. I say limited importance for a couple of reasons:
- Importance of a particular view is limited to the group that believes it. If human opinion is the highest view on the planet, then any human’s opinion is included in that category of the highest view. That means every group’s view about justice carries the same weight as any other group since every human’s view is the highest view. I realize that human opinions can be weaponized by power groups to appear more powerful than other opinions, but even that display of power is limited. Once another power group takes control, the opinions of the previous power group don’t matter. That fact has a long history in the story of human opinion and power.
- The importance of a particular view is limited to the lifetime of human members of a group with opinions about justice and injustice. If God does not exist, then a person’s opinion dies when they die. There is no importance in what someone believes beyond the grave. Even if people write or record their opinions, once they die it’s just the opinions of dead people. What does it matter if there is no life after death? Powerful people die and someone else assumes power. Often times with the assumption of power come radical changes in human opinion. The story goes on and on and has no particular lasting result. Results are fleeting and often change with the whim of a new power.
However, if God does exist and is the eternal God of the Bible, then His views on justice and injustice carry inestimable weight. The God of the Bible is the Necessary Being, whereas all humans are contingent beings. Their lives are contingent on the One Who is Necessary. If God exists, then what He thinks about anything is the highest view about those things. What humans think about anything is far below the thinking of God. If the God of the Bible exists, then what He thinks about justice and injustice is established in His eternal character and has eternal consequences for all humans. In what do humans base their opinions about justice and injustice? Their wisdom, knowledge, strength, numerical advantage? Does the basis for human opinion compare well with God’s eternal character? His wisdom, His knowledge, His strength, His advantage? That is an important question we will address in this series.
Position and Purpose
It is my position that the God of the Bible does exist. I realize some readers may have a different view. If you are one of them, I invite you to visit our companion blog Faith & Self Defense. We have hundreds of articles and eBooks that will direct you to the reasons why I take the position I do about the existence of God. I was an atheist before investigating the evidences for the existence of God, so what is written there may be of some help to anyone seeking answers to their questions.
The purpose of this series is to become a companion to our series on God’s Judgment: How It Works. We started that series more than two years ago and it is ongoing here on the GraceLife Blog. So far, we’ve published two free eBooks from the series. If you haven’t read the series yet, you can catch up by reading those eBooks here and here. Once you’ve caught up, you will find new studies published every few months. Hopefully, you will have time to read both series together. Here’s why I say that.
Justice and Judgment
God’s Judgment is based on His Justice and the injustice of humanity. Human justice is challenged by the fact that humans have biases and prejudices and are sinners by nature. God has no biases or prejudices. His nature is Perfection and Purity. He’s God.
The word prejudice means ‘pre-judging.’ Oxford Languages defines prejudice as “preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.” Human societies are filled with examples of pre-juding people because of preconceived opinions that are not based on reason or actual experience. God is not like humans. His judgments are based on what’s true and real. He is Truth and Reality.
A simple definition for justice is “just behavior or treatment” (Oxford Languages). Other definitions include:
- fair treatment
- the quality of being fair or just
- moral rightness
- the attainment of what is just, especially that which is fair, moral, right, merited, or in accordance with law
“in accordance with law” .. that’s an interesting phrase. We think of justice as being beliefs that are true and have standing in legal codes. Who determines what laws have standing in legal codes? Humans do. Those same people with personal biases, prejudices and a sin nature.
Don’t get me wrong. People often do the best they can to come up with laws that have the quality of being fair and just and include moral rightness. However, how can people who are opinionated, biased, prejudiced and sinful build a legal system that is fair to everyone? If we’re all honest, we should see that several thousand years of human existence is proof we can’t build a system of justice that is fair to everyone. Why? Because the human race has a fatal flaw — the sin nature. We’ll learn more about that flaw and how God offers to fix it it as our series develops in the coming months.
No matter what name we give to our idea of justice, it is just that — our idea of justice, our opinions based on our prejudices. If there’s no God, then one person’s idea about justice is just as valid as another person’s idea about justice. However, if God exists then we may be on to something that will open the door to real justice.
Justice and the Church
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.Philippians 4:8
When it comes to justice and the Church I am both hopeful and discouraged. I am hopeful because everything we need to know about real justice is available to members of the Church, the Body of Christ. I am discouraged because many church leaders and members are not availing themselves of God’s Truth about justice. Instead, they are looking to the world for guidance about justice. That is a HUGE mistake. It’s never good for God’s people to get their cues about such important subjects from an unbelieving world.
As I mentioned, the human race has a fatal flaw and church leaders and members who look to human answers to questions about reality (instead of God’s answers) will find themselves in a philosophical, sociological and theological hole too deep to climb out. They will find themselves trapped in a position opposed to the God they believe they love and serve.
The Church has the answer to the world’s questions about and problems with justice. However, the answer is only correct if it aligns with what God says is true justice. God is going to judge the world in the end, so we need to make sure we are giving the world the right information about how God views justice and injustice.
I’ve been involved in church communities for more than 70 years, 50 of those years as a Christian. I’ve seen and heard all kinds of ideas from church leaders and members about justice. Much of what I’ve seen and heard concerns outcomes and results. Is that the best way to determine whether something is just, fair and morally right? Is it possible that humans could come up with social justice systems that produce outcomes and results that have an appearance of justice but fail in being true justice as God defines it? If they (the world) can, what does that say about churches that gauge their success in being just on outcomes and results of various social justice programs promoted by the world? Are church justice programs different than the world’s justice programs simply because one’s a church and the other is not? Or might we be missing something here?
I think we Christians are missing something and my prayer is we can find out what that is together. I hope you will join me on this journey to discover the truth about God’s Justice and How It Works.
Teaching Notes: On Genesis 17 – GraceLife Blog
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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