Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The straw man that broke the camel's back

"If you were God, and your child here on earth failed to trust in Jesus, would you torture them eternally or just forgive them? Wouldn't you say 'You broke the law but you know what it's impossible to keep. I love you and I understand your lack of faith?' Maybe not. I'd like to hear." Steve

A "straw man" argument is said to be "an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position." The above supposed argument is a classic straw man. It misrepresents Christianity. When a believer in evolution accuses someone of a straw man argument, he has a problem. The theory of evolution is forever redefining itself. So the believer has no authoritative text book to which he may refer. The Christian, however, has the unchanging Scriptures, making it very easy to blow over straw men created by skeptics.

First, let’s look at his misrepresenting of the relationship man and God, by his use of the phrase "your child here on earth." The secular world are not God’s children. The Bible says we are the devil’s children. Satan is the god of this world and it is his will we do (see 2 Corinthians 4:4). We are enemies of God, rebels, who hate Him without cause. We are unthankful for His kindness and ours hearts are deceitfully wicked (see Jeremiah 17:9). The Bible says we drink evil like water, and we are not God’s children until we repent and trust the Savior. The moment we do that, we are born into His family and have the privilege of calling Him "Father."

The second fallacy is the phrase "failed to trust in Jesus." If a man jumps out of a plane and falls 10,000 feet to his death because he neglected to put on a parachute, he died primarily because the force of gravity exerted weight upon the mass of his body. Had he put on a parachute he could have been saved from its unforgiving consequences, but again, he died because by his own choice he caused the force of gravity to exert weight upon his body and spread him on the ground.

The straw man argument is that it is unfair of God to punish someone for not doing something. However, "sin" according to the Bible is not a failure to trust Jesus, but "transgression of God’s Law"--the Ten Commandments (see 1 John 3:4). Those who have the sense to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ," will be saved from violation of God's Law.

The third wording is also based on a lack of understanding. He said, "would you torture them eternally or just forgive them?" When God’s Law is left out of the equation justice makes no sense. However, the moral Law is eternal, absolute, and perfect. Think for a moment how tenacious we are when civil law is violated. A man rapes and kills three women, is tried and given the death sentence. He escapes. What does the law do? It spends millions of dollars to bring him to justice. Why? It doesn’t bring the women back. Why doesn’t the law simply forgive him? Because justice must be done.

Every human being has violated God’s Law a multitude of times. We are unthankful and self-righteous. We lie, steal, and burn with lust. We are naturally selfish, hateful, and blasphemous fornicators. The Bible says that our eyes are "full of adultery," and that we are "filthy dreamers." We are more than worthy of the death sentence and damnation. So why doesn’t God simply forgive us? Because justice must be done. If sinful man goes to great lengths to see that justice is done, how much more will a perfect and holy God make sure every murderer, rapist, thief and liar get what is due to them? Hell is God’s prison and those that go there will go there for life. There is no way out . . . not a hope in Hell.

Yet, God (in His great mercy) has made a way for us to be freely forgiven for our wickedness. He became a Man in the person of Jesus of Nazareth and suffered and died on the cross. God’s wrath came down on Him so that it wouldn’t have to come down on us. He defeated death through the resurrection and opened the door of everlasting life to all who would repent and trust in Him.

Is God’s Law "impossible" to keep? It is for guilty sinners. How can we “keep” a Law we have already violated? However, we "keep" the Law when we trust is Jesus. Its demands were satisfied in Christ. It is appeased because our fine was paid by the Savior. That means that God can legally dismiss our case and commute our death sentence. We are at peace with the Law.

The final straw man that broke the camel’s back also comes from a lack of understanding:. It is "I love you and I understand your lack of faith." A judge may love a criminal but he cannot allow his love to interfere with justice. He must do that which is right despite his feelings for a criminal. Our straw-man-maker wants to cling to his belief that sin is simply a lack of faith, and that shouldn’t be punished for not being able to believe something. However, there are times in Scripture when Jesus rebuked His disciples for a lack of faith in Him and in the Scriptures. He called them "fools" and "slow of heart" to believe all that the prophets have spoken (see Luke 24:25). Such words are appropriate. Any man who doubts the instructions that tell him how to be saved from a 10,000 foot jump, and then fails to put on a parachute because of his doubts, is definitely a fool.