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Volume 27 - Page 46 of 212 Index | Zoom | |
God, the Moral Governor.
Is might right?
pp. 144 - 146
When we begin to think about the great basic fact of God as the Moral Governor of
His creatures, several items of far-reaching importance present themselves. The subject
that we are to consider in this article is so important, involving as it does the believer's
appreciation of the atonement itself as well as the whole realm of morals, that we must
spare no pains to make the matter clear.
Our enquiry may be put in the form of the question: Is righteousness arbitrary? That
is, Is a thing right because righteousness is an eternal truth, or is it right because God has
said so? Is righteousness a matter of enactment merely? If right be right simply because
God so wills it, and wrong be wrong for the same reason, then--since whatever God's
will has made His will can unmake--if it pleased Him, He could by the arbitrary
enactment of His will make all that is now right, wrong, and all that is now wrong, right.
This very statement carries with it its own refutation. Scripture will not permit us to
entertain such an idea. It assures us that the omnipotence of God is under the control of
righteousness and truth. Were it not so, mere unregulated omnipotence could turn the
universe into a nightmare.
Scripture tells us that God "cannot deny Himself" (II Tim. 2: 13). This involves a
self-limitation of His power, for ou dunati means "He is not able". And since no
creature, great or small, has the ability to stay the almighty power of the Lord, the only
cause for such holy ability must be sought in the nature of God Himself. Righteousness
is no arbitrary enactment that Will can alter; it is resident in the heart of God Himself,
and is the abiding character of His throne (Psa. 45: 6). Scripture tells us that God
"cannot lie" (Titus 1: 2). The A.V. here is rather free in its rendering of ho apseudes
Theos, but it is nevertheless true to fact. An honest man, placed before an open safe, if
tempted to steal, would say: "I cannot do this." The impossibility of the action is not due
to any lack of physical power, but exists because the presence of moral integrity within
the man brings about this noble inability. God is the "God of truth and without iniquity,
just and right is He" (Deut. 32: 4).
Let us be glad and rejoice that the Almighty God admits the impossible: "It was
impossible for God to lie" (Heb. 6: 18). Impossible, not because of anything that mortal
or angelic opposition could accomplish, but because of His own inherent integrity. With
the knowledge that we have received from the Scriptures concerning the nature of God,
we should be obliged to reject the testimony of even an angel from heaven, if we were
told that God had somewhere decreed that 2 plus 2 = 6, or that somewhere in the universe
the three angles of a triangle were equal to three right angles, or that two straight lines
could enclose a space. These mathematical axioms are independent of time and place.
They are and ever must be unalterably true. It is because man has been given these
elementary axioms as the foundation of thought that any advance in the recognition of