Monday, March 01, 2010

ok to kill?

Tough question answered well by John Piper ...


dle said...

I liked the second half of his answer much better than the first. The only problem is that the two halves don't mesh.

Piper explains the "man commanded to kill by God" question in the framework of God exacting moral judgment on a people who have accumulated evil. Okay, that makes sense to most people.

But that explanation works against his prior one that says that God takes life simply because His sovereignty permits it. In truth, Piper would not need to answer the "harder" question with any other answer than the one he first gave. The agent by which God takes life would not matter anyway because the "God is sovereign" question covers it as well.

That two distinct answers are needed makes me wonder if the first answer is adequately addressed.

The issue becomes even more complex when you factor in divine healing. If the man is born blind so that his healing and restoration bring glory to God, then can it be said that his remaining blind also brings glory to God? That's a much harder statement to make, but it is essentially the argument that Piper takes in his first explanation of death being part of God's sovereign right. The counterargument would be that God has more to gain for His glory by preservation, healing, and the extension of life than by taking away life.

rick said...

Ah, he presumes that "God is sovereign" requires no unpacking and if that's true, then it's true for all questions. So you are right, it is interesting that he felt further explanation was needed on the second question.

I agreed with his answers either way but you are right, his (and my) required level of response shouldn't have changed if the first was really sufficient anyway.

dle said...

Piper's answer, especially on the first question, is problematic in other ways.

I mean, what/who ultimately kills people? Sin or God? God's original intent from the Garden, which one would think was His ultimate moral will, is that no one die. The fall changed this, so at what point do we attribute death to sin?

The other problem with Piper's answer is the suicide issue. If followed to Piper's logical conclusion, the person who commits suicide did not take his /her own life, but God took it, as He is sovereign. Yet the historical position of the Church on suicide would never seek to place the blame for it on God. Yet one can't ignore that if one holds to Piper's view, assigning God the sole responsibility is the only conclusion.

rick said...

Dan - as always you are a deeper thinker than I am. In doing so you've added some dimensions that while it may be fair/right to mix, my brain cannot process.

I have trouble with terms such as "ultimate" when it comes to God. For simplicity, I make statements that ultimately proclaim that God it ultimate. At the same time, I by no means think about the agent of the action/emotion/etc. nor do I think it abdicates responsibility.

So for what it's worth, I hear you but in my simplicity I say that God has ultimate sovereignty over all things but that does not result in his sole responsibility for all things.

I wish I could make better sense of it ... and that's why I enjoy reading your blog ... helps me think.