RANDOM THOUGHTS ABOUT GOD: CONSEQUENCES

Back in the old days when I was a kid and when my parents themselves were kids, we believed in punishment. Corporeal punishment. We got spanked on the butt. And it wasn’t always with a belt or a switch (which we were made to fetch for ourselves). Sometimes the higher powers would use what we called the Board of Education. It was a 1×4 piece of lumber that stung your behind to high heaven and brought the toughest punks to tears.

You can call it punishment, discipline, or training. They were all the same to us back then. We got a licking when we messed up. It was part of parental duty and loving concern. They were making sure we learned the right things, cut out the wrong stuff, and grow up the right way.

Nowadays, that  kind of discipline is considered child abuse. Unfortunately, in the world in which we live today, a lot of parents and adults are abusive. And I, for one, agree that the laws against child abuse are a good thing. The children need to be protected if the parents aren’t going to do that. (Wish to God the government would protect the unborn children too!)

The thing of it is, back then, no kid ever died or ended up in a hospital after a licking. We didn’t grow up scarred or hating our parents. We loved and respected them (after the pain went away). We turned out the way we did—that is, pretty good folks, if I may say so myself—because of the discipline, training, and punishment that our parents lovingly gave us.

Today, we still believe in training and discipline. We’ve taken the corporeal aspect out of things, but we still levy a bevy of negative-type reinforcements to help teach the kids what’s considered proper and improper behavior. We ground them; withhold their benefits, rewards, or privileges; put them on a points or strikes system; and the like. This is what we do in the family or in an educational/institutional setting.

Let’s talk about law enforcement. Society has laws. It lives by laws. The laws tell us what’s good or what’s expected of us. And when we mess up, the laws have consequences. It may be a traffic ticket, arrest, trial, and imprisonment; a death sentence, a fine, community service, and the like.

As in child-training, the law’s punishments or consequences are designed to punish and discourage or deter bad behavior.

A civilized society has laws and consequences that are deemed for the overall good of society.

But even uncivilized societies—for example, the bush and forest tribes that have largely been untouched by modern civilization—have their own laws, morés, or codes of conduct that the tribes’ people are expected to live by. And when they violate the morés they suffer the consequences that are imposed upon them by the tribe.

Everywhere in human society, past and present, primitive and modern, we humans have accorded ourselves the luxury of making laws and enforcing them. We require people, including ourselves, to obey the laws. And when we don’t, we’ve set up for ourselves a bevy of punishments to punish and deter bad or criminal behavior. This we deem to be for the good of human society.

Imagine what life would be like if we didn’t have laws. I’m thinking of my younger days when I was in the Philippines. There were no road lines or traffic lanes. Manila was packed wall-to-wall with jeepneys, motorized tricycles, and buses, each forging their way. If I stuck so much as the palm of my hand out of the jeepney I would be sure to touch another jeepney—that’s how insanely close traffic was! I learned right then and there that it’s a good thing to have road lines and traffic lanes. And on a larger note, I realized the value of laws.

Laws are, for the most part, a good thing. I know there are bad laws too. But by and large, laws are designed with the public good and benefit in mind.

Now think if we didn’t have punishments. The laws wouldn’t do a bit of good if there were no consequences for violating them. The consequences play a part in deterring most people from breaking the law. Without punishments, think of the chaos we would live in if people could break in and steal or kill without being arrested, tried, and imprisoned. Crooks and criminals would roam freely throughout the community, terrorizing the neighborhood. We wouldn’t be safe or secure. We couldn’t live in peace or at ease.

So what am I saying? Laws are, for the most part, a good thing. They’re for society’s benefit. And as much as we may dislike suffering the consequences of disobedience, the punishments that society lays on the disobedient—be it in the home, school, the workplace, or society—are also for the general good of society.

Now here’s what I’m really trying to say. If we as humans accord ourselves the privilege of enacting laws and consequences—for the general good of society and all mankind; then why would we not give God this same privilege? I’m talking about God’s laws as written in the Bible and the human heart. I’m talking about Hell and God’s prerogative to be the sole and supreme Judge with the power to punish and damn the disobedient?

I think it’s laughable, no, it’s insane, how a lot of people won’t let God lay down the law and punish those who break the law; yet we do the very same thing! If we can do it—if we can make laws and punish the disobedient—then why can’t God? Why do we find it so abhorrent, so primitive and unenlightened, to believe in a God who punishes disobedience? What is naturally found in civilized and uncivilized societies—the establishment of law and consequences—is, to me, a logical and self-evident argument for a belief in God’s law and Divine punishment.

2 Comments

  1. Pam Cramer said,

    November 29, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    God says he forgives us especially Christians for our sins. And why would God keep punishing people over & over again if they have already repented & ask forgiveness of their sins? Maybe God really does punish & doesn’t forgive. I am confused about this & you are probably right. No matter how much you ask forgiveness, God will not forgive certain sins. He does not really forgive everyone, probably only certain people who are more holy than others.

  2. thequietpages said,

    November 29, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    A very good point. Also, I remember that kind of punishment as a child. I think I turned out okay. 🙂


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