Tuesday, October 17, 2006
When God lays out a punishment, is it a sin to try to avoid the punishment?

Surely, we cannot hide from God: "There is no dark place, no deep shadow, where evildoers can hide." says Job. (34:22) And God declares that He will hunt Israel down for the wrongs she has done:

If they dig into Sheol,
from there shall my hand take them;
if they climb up to heaven,
from there I will bring them down.
If they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,
from there I will search them out and take them;
and if they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea,
there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them.
And if they go into captivity before their enemies,
there I will command the sword, and it shall kill them;
and I will fix my eyes upon them
for evil and not for good. Amos 9:2-4

But these passages do not quite answer the question. Of course we can't hide from God, but is it a sin to even attempt it? Bear in mind, I have no misconception regarding sin: we mortals would neverhteless be sinners even if we committed no actual sinful act. As the Solid Declaration states:

we all by disposition and nature inherit from Adam such a heart, feeling, and thought as are, according to their highest powers and the light of reason, naturally inclined and disposed directly contrary to God and His chief commandments, yea, that they are enmity against God, especially as regards divine and spiritual things.

I'm not trying to parse out sin, here. I'm just trying to figure out how far this goes. One is certainly led to think, "Yes, it is a sin."
posted by Kepler at 16:57 |


At 10/18/2006 07:33:00 PM, Blogger solarblogger

I tend to read those passages eschatologically. At that point, the sinner is total sinner and nothing but sinner. And yes, he sins by trying to avoid punishment.

On this side of glory, though, I think it's dicier. We've been in all sorts of crazy authority situations where submitting to punishment doesn't make anything better. So we're not quick to walk into them. That may just be a good self-protection.

And remember the mystery here: "God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all" (Romans 11:32). He isn't out to punish believers. But he is out to chastise them, though not all affliction is a chastisement. You won't escape chastisement if that's what he's about. But he may not be about that at all.

I say, go ahead and take the codeine!


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