The DEEP

Justice Part 3

Universes.

Romans 9:19 (NKJV)

You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?”

We can get one more clue about this from the way we’re created in the image of God. By thinking about our relationship with a play we wrote, we can learn something of God’s relationship with us. So, let’s write a play.

We need a bad guy, a hero, and a victim. Let’s use Snidely Whiplash, Dudley Do Right, and Nell respectively. Our play follows the standard plot line from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Snidely ties Nell to the railroad tracks and says, “Marry me or you die.” Nell, as usual, says, “Never!”

But this time Dudley doesn’t arrive in time to save Nell. So, Snidely goes on trial for murder. He seems obviously guilty, but he makes a curious defense. “My actions were foreordained by the author of this play. How can you find fault? For who has resisted His will?” Is he right? What should the jury do?

There’s also the opposite question. What if the audience complains to me about the goriness of Nell getting run over by a train? And what if I reply, “Don’t blame me, it was Snidely who tied her to the tracks.”? Does that make sense?

Of course not. Both my defense and Snidely’s are silly because they speak to the wrong level of reality. The jurors will convict Snidely because they’re inside the play. He’s guilty in that universe. Conversely, I’m responsible in this universe for everything in the play.

Yes, God is ultimately responsible for everything, but outside of our created universe. Inside our universe, we’re responsible. Reconsider Exodus 3:14:

And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” — Exodus 3:14 (NKJV)

If God IS, in a way that we’re not, then His responsibility and our responsibility are in different universes. Remember, this is only an analogy designed for human comprehension. God’s existence is different from ours. That difference isn’t the same as the difference between our existence and that of a fictional character.

Even the idea that God exists “in a universe” is simplistic.


So, don’t latch on too tightly to these analogies. Just use them to get comfortable with Roman’s 9 and to build a sense of awe at the incomprehensible nature of God.

No one likes to think of themselves as analogous to a clay pot or a fictional character.

Good, this is supposed to be humbling.


All the weekly study guides, which include all five devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.