JUST AND MERCIFUL GOD—How many times have Christians of all denominations heard that statement. Both the Old and New Testaments are loaded with such exact or similar references. Christian hymns are framed around that term. Why do you suppose that is?
I have written extensively about the ‘false narrative’ regarding the nature of God and the ‘false implications’ emanating from that narrative. It all began with the imagination of the author of Genesis. That person(s) framed God as basically a mirror image of the writer(s), albeit much more powerful. God was pictured as having each and every inclination attributable to man—love/hate, generosity/greed, peaceful/bellicose, sharing/selfish etc., just to name a few.
It is entirely understandable why it would be that way. After all, early homo sapiens had very little knowledge. He had only the basic instincts of survival—scavenging for food and water, avoiding dangers, and breeding for propagation. He did , however, have the ability to learn and choose. We have labeled those abilities as ‘rationality’—an intellect with which to perceive, and a will with which to achieve (choose, accept, love, will).
Literally, billions of ‘mistakes’ in perception were necessary before the ‘lights came on’ and mankind became aware of the ‘the scientific process’. He finally discovered that perceptions could not necessarily be trusted—they had to be tested over and over to make sure they were correct. It was thirteen to fourteen thousand years before some of the most common misperceptions were exposed. The earth was not flat after all, and certainly not supported on five crooked, wobbly legs, in perpetual danger of falling into the netherworld below. Neither was the earth the center of the universe—to the hierarchy’s dismay, the sun was discovered to hold that honor. However, even that was proven to be incorrect—-our little solar system is only one of trillions and trillions of such similar systems in our universe. And I use the word ‘our’ universe because it has been postulated the the likelihood exists that there are ten to the exponential power of fifty universes in existence. Try to imagine such a number. I will write it out for you—1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Now, try to imagine that number multiplied by X number of trillions of stars. No human mind can comprehend such immensity.
And there is a God who created and controls all of this!!!!!—and who knows what else?
So, with that knowledge and insight, we can plainly see that the writers of the Old Testament were guided by a ‘dreadfully lacking’ cache of knowledge in making their assumptions about literally everything pertaining to God and his universe. For centuries, philosophers, theologians and great thinkers galore have pondered the question of God and his essence. Each, in turn, readily recognized the miniscule description of God as painted in the Bible—each attempted to define once and for all the real God’s essence—each failed. The reason for their failure was their lack of scientific facts—they were attempting to philosophize through ignorance. Thomas Aquinas went to great extremes applying Aristotle’s philosophy to a God who resided ‘here’ and presided over his creation which was ‘over there’. He, like others failed to recognize the ‘presence of God’ in everything. He couldn’t possibly know for one simple reason—he didn’t know (ignorance) what ‘anything-everything’ was made of.
Through curiosity and pure ‘dumb luck’, I stumbled onto a course in Quantum Mechanics (particle physics). There I discovered that everything in existence is constructed from quanta—the tiniest particles of energy which cannot be further subdivided. Furthermore, I discovered that those particle are perfect in both form and function. In addition, each is indistinguishable from its counterparts and each is both unchanging and unchangeable. Bingo—we were/are describing eternity.
Time is a measure of change and is used to record the continual alterations in our finite (temporal) existence. Since no quantum can possibly change, it is both infinite and eternal—it exists in eternity. Are we not, then, describing God—perfect, unchanging, unchangeable, and eternal?
With that understanding and insight, I was not only allowed but rather mandated to define the essence of God—God is a Perfect Rational Being. That Perfect Intellect visualized each and every quantum of energy in existence and that Perfect Will chose (loved, accepted) each and every one. Therefore, the ‘building blocks’ of everything carry the brand of God and already exist in eternity.
So, what does all that have to do with ‘Just and Merciful God’?—everything. We all, and every finite thing in existence are dreadfull sinners in the sense that we are all universally selfish—God made it that way so the finite universe could function. Selfishness mandates change—we eat, drink, breath, breed and millions of other functions and activities directed at self , and all of which require change (time).
If there were a ‘hell’ which there isn’t, not a single person could escape it—God’s ‘Justice’ would send us all there.
No, God is Perfect and that perfection mandates Perfect Love. Prefect Love means ‘acceptance without conditions’. Remember, with his Perfect Intellect he visualized all of the quanta in existence and commissioned them with his Prefect Will to function perfectly. That they have done and in so doing, they have created the ever changing universe(s) and everything in it/them.
If God were ‘merciful’, it would mean that we were ‘guilty of some crime(s)’. Obviously, our total evil selfishness constitutes a perpetual state of criminality—but God made us that way. Why?
That ‘why’ could be pondered forever and I did. Finally, it struck me—God wanted/needed to exhibit his ‘Perfect Love—he did—enter Jesus.
Jesus was the only person to recognize that he and everything in existence mirrored their creator. He clearly saw the universal selfishness, but more importantly, he saw the universal beauty in God’s creation. Without question, Jesus had a keen awareness of the extremely selfish ineptitude of the Jewish Religion and the ‘self-serving’ mantra it sported. He knew, without doubt, that the Hebrew God was a hoax. He clearly understood that since he was the only one to have that underestanding, he had to be the ‘messiah’.
So with shrewdness and determination, he set about to educate twelve basic illiterates about the ‘real God’. He knew he was preaching heresy; that he would be considered a traitor and that crucifixion would be his fate. But, he was driven by the idea that he was the ‘Son of God’, and that he must die in atonement for all the evil in the universe which his Father had allowed to be created—The Father’s Perfect Love must be shown.
Consequently, he basically stayed in the shadows for three plus years desperately attempting to educate his disciples and straggling followers—we’ll never know whether or not he was successful, so distorted is the written word we have. When he determined the time was right, he made one final attempt to infuse the stubborn mentality of his apostles. He took bread and wine, the common meal constituents of the day, held them in his hands and told those present that those food elements were his body and blood. Jesus knew no particle physics, but he knew that he, they, that food, and everything in existence were all mirror images of their creator—he asked his apostles to ‘remember that fact’ each time they ate. He also commissioned them to go into the world and teach to others what they had learned from him, the Cristus—the light of the world. teach everyone about God’s Perfect Love. Teach everyone that God resides in everything—everything is God. The rest is history. In light of that, I would strongly urge everyone to read the Coptic ‘Gospel of Thomas’. It parallels the Canonical Gospels but was rejected by the Council of Nicaea because it espouses a God who is present in everything. They needed a God set-aside from his creation so as to justify their ‘power and control’
So, what does all that rambling mean. Clearly, plainly and simply it meams this—God is Perfect Love.
God’s Perfect Love precludes any possibility of holding anyone ‘accountable’ for anything. Therefore God cannot possibly be Just. God cannot possibly be Merciful. As a matter of fact, he held himself accountable in the form of Justice and Mercy through Jesus, his mirror image. There is a big, big distinction to be made between the Justice and Mercy of God shown through Jesus—Jesus’ body died—not his soul. Religions of most kinds teach you that your soul can and will die—not only die but die in perpetual torment. That teaching is aimed at power and control over you in order to abscond with your pocketbook. It has proven to be an extremely successful tool from centuries on to date.
I have repeated this ad nauseum, but if you want a complete, deep seated accounting of this philosophy, please read my two little books, Wilderness Cry and Peace in Spirituality.