Friday, February 24

Today's Reading: G-d says the darnedest things

The OT reading for today has a lot going on.  The ongoing conversation is addressing the nation of Israel's cries that the Lord is being unfair because He says salvation (or death) is an individual and not hereditary quality.

"Know that all lives are mine; the life of the parent as well as the life of the child is mine: it is only the person who sins that shall die." (Ez. 18:4)

Going even further, G-d tells Ezekiel that each person can condemn or save themselves by their own actions in life.

"When the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity, they shall die for it; for the iniquity that they have committed they shall die. Again, when the wicked turn away from the wickedness they have committed and do what is lawful and right, they shall save their life. Because they considered and turned away from all the transgressions that they had committed, they shall surely live; they shall not die.Yet the house of Israel says, "The way of the Lord is unfair." O house of Israel, are my ways unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair? " (Ez.18:26-29)

Thus, the final disposition of a person's soul neither predetermined nor is it a matter of heredity.  Rather it is by the informed choice of an individual to turn to or away from G-d.

I guess Augustine and Calvin never read this part.


  1. Suppose you don't believe in any god at all? Why should you make Choice A rather than Choice B?

  2. Based upon atheistic assumptions, a good life should be chosen because by doing good for others, one is creating a better environment for everyone (including yourself). This disposes others to reciprocate, creating a positive feedback loop.

    Further, if one finds such things of importance, the consistent application of good for others generates a positive reputation which further disposes others towards you.

    Finally, many people find that they themselves derive satisfaction from doing good, especially good for other people.

    These reasons are external to what I was discussing in the post, but can provide a reasonable and consistent ethic base for those who do not believe.