In my "Freedom" essay below, Byker Bob makes a thoughtful comment:
"...all we really know is that God is looking out for the long term spiritual good of all his children".
Ex-Android, responds, and with sound logic(I'm not "picking" on either person, just trying to make a point):
"Hah! And you don't even 'really know' that. You believe--you don;t know. This is a common error among many theists".
When I read Byker Bob's statement, I think of Romans 8:28: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God..."
Do we actually "know" that? If we do, it will not be according to any humanly devised system of thought or decisions, because that very statement leads into the very idea that in fact we CANNOT make such decisions for ourselves!
Even if we look at this statement from the viewpoint of Godel's theorem, it is certainly possible to know something yourself, to actually understand that it is so, BUT once you attempt to define it within any process of organization or decisions leading to absolute truth or to God, it simple falls apart. It is certainly possible to know something for a fact, but not be able to prove it.
And because it is not subject to such proofs, it cannot be subject to the power and control of men. Do I know that there is a God? No, I don't, but even if i did, if God was directly revealed to me, it would still give me no power over the lives and decisions of other human beings, and that is exactly what Paul tells us, following into the rest of chapter 8 and 9.
That was the basic logical flaw of John Calvin, who took Romans 8:29-30 and then decided that he himself, with no proof whatever, was God's chosen, to establish rules over others. he had no such proof, and no man can claim such proof, as we know from our experience with HWA.
So, if "all things work together for the good", then that "good" will not be the result of my attempts to rule or control others in God's name, since as Paul points out, God already knows who will work in "His" name.
So, Ex-Android makes a valid point. We CANNOT know by any process of human "computation", by any process of human reason, that there is a God, and that all things work together for good. If such things WERE subject to the power of human reason, we could cancel the rest of Romans chapter 8 and 9, and Ex-Android would, in fact, be wrong! But he's not. In fact, he has just agreed with the conclusions of Paul in that regard.
Okay, if we can't know these things, and if we can't organize according to these things, what's the purpose for it all, if there is a purpose?
If no human can claim to represent "absolute truth" either in the form of religion or government(and even Ayn Rand would agree on that point), then the "sacrifice of Christ" can only have one purpose: that because he died innocently, his example is one to us that we should not condemn others under human laws and human concepts!
Under U.S. Constitutional law, Fifth Amendment, no person is to be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. That is a protection from federal government. We see the same clause repeated as a protection from state governments in the Fourteenth Amendment.
Notice that the "due process" package deals with "persons", not 'the people" in regard to passing laws, but with protections of persons, individuals who are accused of breaking the law.
These protections are extended under the Fifth Amendment and include not only the right to re main silent and not to give evidence against himself, but protection from double jeopardy and the right to have just compensation for property taken.
Also, we see protections for persons under the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Amendments.
But notice that these examples of due process protection of persons is included in Old Testament law!
Isaiah 54:17: No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgement thou shalt condemn.
"This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord".
This is the presumption of innocence, long established as part of "due process" protection.
It is part of the right of the individual not to incriminate himself before his accusers.
In other words, because there is no power of man to represent "absolute truth" or an absolute God, it is necessary for ALL collective powers of men to presume the innocence of the accused with God's protection!
Further protection, under OT law, is given in Isaiah 50:8:
"He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? Let us stand together. Who is mine adversary? Let him come near to me.
"Behold, the Lord God will help me; who is he that shall condemn me?"
Sound familiar? How about the Sixth Amendment?
"In ALL criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state...."
First, you can't be forced to incriminate yourself. Why? Because God stands on the side of the accused, not the accuser! Look at every state Constitution of the U.S. Every single one of them recognize the sovereignty of God in some form! That's due process of law!
The Bible is not about any person's right to rule in the name of God, but about EVERY person's right to live freely outside the condemnation of law!
Think about this: every attempt of every human has resulted in more and more confusion and uncertainty regarding the existence of God. But that is merely the logical result of Romans 8:7.
So what does that tell you about law? About all law, church or state? It tells you that no power, either church or state, has the right to convict or condemn you, without recognizing your right to face a legitimate accuser who can claim harm for your actions!
Since there exists no human power that can organize in God's name, or in the power of the state to represent truth, there can be no person who can say truthfully to you, "Here is Christ. Come follow me". And because all fifty US states recognize the sovereignty of God, they must bow to that same individual freedom which you possess!
In other words, the courts are bound by oath or affirmation, since all states recognize the sovereignty of God, to see to it that "all things work together for the good to those that love God", whether they like it or not!
If you choose, as an individual, to live according to principles of truth and goodness, you have the right to expect the state to protect that choice!
Who is the example? Jesus. he died innocently, prosecuted and put to death, even though he remained silent, even though there were no witnesses against him, even though he had harmed no one.
As Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas said: "But it(the state) has no right to compel the sovereign individual to surrender or impair his right of self defense....Mea culpa belongs to a man and his God. It is a plea that cannot be extracted from free men by human authority. To require it is to insist that the state is the superior of the individuals who compose it, instead of their instrument".
THAT is the essence of Old and New testament law, as derived from the Bible itself! Why?
Because "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son...."
Was there a God? Did it happen? I can't prove it did, and the law can't prove it didn't, and as long as the law recognizes the sovereignty of God, I have the right to declare myself free as long as I harm no other.