Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I'd Like To Be A Witness For The Defense At This Trial...

In case the link to the article is broken, I'll republish the text of it here:

Prisoner sues God

A Romanian prisoner is suing God for failing to save him from the Devil.

The inmate, named as Pavel M in media reports, accused God of "cheating, abuse and traffic of influence".

His complaint reads: "I, the undersigned Pavel M, currently jailed at Timisoara Penitentiary serving a 20 years sentence for murder, request legal action against God, resident in Heaven, and represented here by the Romanian Orthodox Church, for committing the following crimes: cheating, concealment, abuse against people's interest, taking bribe and traffic of influence."

The inmate argued that his baptism was a contract between him and God who was supposed to keep the Devil away and keep him out of trouble.

He added: "God even claimed and received from me various goods and prayers in exchange for forgiveness and the promise that I would be rid of problems and have a better life.

"But on the contrary I was left in Devil's hands."

The complaint was sent to the Timisoara Court of Justice and forwarded to the prosecutor's office.

But prosecutors said it would probably be dropped and they were unable to subpoena God to court.

You don't know: God just might show up.

What can I say? Is God not on trial all the time? Do we, his creations, presume to judge God for the content of our lives? The answer to this question results in two conclusions that appear contradictory:

On the one hand it is clear that we must bear the responsibility for our faults. Nevertheless, we do blame God. Otherwise we would not have sentenced Him in His Son, Jesus Christ, to death by crucifixion through our representative forbears in Jerusalem 2000 years ago. If we were honest, we would recognize that we have at one time or another blamed God for our sin even as this man has done, whether or not we admit that our sin is indeed sin. We like to justify ourselves while secretly realizing that we need justification. But there is only one way to be justified before God, and this through the atonement of Christ. We cannot justify ourselves.

On the other hand, if God is above reproach then who are we to deny His preeminence above all things. If we need justification before God, then is He not worthy of the recognition that He is indeed in control of all things? For example, we say that a natural disaster is a bad thing. What's so bad about it? Is a shot in the arm a bad thing? It hurts, but it is for the best good. Do we not trust that God knows what He is doing and is simply functioning for a time as it were in a fallen universe for the benefit of His creation?

We can't ascribe to one and not the other. For this reason many are conflicted about God.

As for the Romanian convict, he should understand that baptism is no guarantee of a "contract" between he and God. While the Orthodox may have some form of means-of-grace doctrine, there is still some methodology for confirming salvation. Therefore, there is a recognition in his tradition that baptism itself is not the guarantee. I would argue that his attempt to hold the Orhtodox church accountable for the actions of God is evidence according to the doctrines of the Orthodox church (which is the context of the man's argument) that the man demonstrates no contract with God in his behavior despite baptism and some attempt at confirmation. Otherwise, If God, as creator, can influence our behavior, then God transcends the ability of His creation to sue Him. I'd like to see the court try to enforce a sentence on God.

Case closed.


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