QT: Packer on the Fairness of God
I posted a portion of this as a comment on Jonathan Morehead's blog on Friday. It seemed proper to set this in fuller context today. This is from an article J.I. Packer wrote for the current edition of Modern Reformation magazine. Packer's article is titled "Is God Unfair?" The article is seven pages long, so I'm only giving you a flavor of the entire argument that Packer makes [all emphases mine].
Is God Unfair?
"What do people mean when they say God is unfair? They mean, first, that he does not seem to take account of the worth of particular human beings and, second, that he does not appear to distribute or withhold benefits according to what people deserve. Behind this two-fold complaint lies the assumption that under ordinary circumstances God owes us the life that we think of as good - comfortable, pleasant, pain-free - and that no one should receive from him less than this (save those whom we recognize as socially obnoxious). That assumption, in turn, rests on the idea that as our Creator may tell us our duty to him, so we his creatures may determine his duty to us, and that as God may judge us in an executive way if we fail to obey his laws, so we may judge him intellectually by forming an opinion as to whether he has given us what he owes us or not. Luther chided Erasmus for thoughts of God that were "too human"; assessing God by creaturely standards of fairness surely merits the same criticism.
"Our positive argument against the claim that God is unfair is to be drawn from Scripture - the inspired, infallible, true, trustworthy, and authoritative Word of God, and in particular from Paul's letter to the Romans. . . .
"When all deserve to be rejected by the God who in love moves to reconcile them to himself and renew them in his own moral image, thus preparing them for a destiny of delight with himself, we are out of the realm of both fairness and unfairness. Grace trumps each of them. When the great good given is not only undeserved but contrary to our deservings, we should humbly receive it and give thanks for it, not stand back and complain that in this or that respect it ought to be greater than it is. There is no warrant whatever for the "ought to be" in such complaints. . . .
"So the complaint that God is unfair, which supposes itself smart, is actually shallow; Romans alone outflanks it at all points. Romans shows us the grace of God's wisdom, and the wisdom of his grace, and sets us praising: "From him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen" (11:36). May our praise never end."