Last time we observed that atheists lack the comprehensive knowledge to know that God is unjust in any death, infant or otherwise. God’s perspective is eternal. He knows everything about everything, including every heart and the positive or negative recompense of every soul in eternity. Apart from God’s revelation, and from our grossly limited and self-justifying perspective, God’s judgments in this temporary and cursed life may appear harsh and unjust. But as noted in the previous article, “as atheists have assumed the irrational notion that their limited perspective and understanding define the ultimate standard of what is possible in and beyond the universe, so they assume the equally irrational notion that their limited perspective and understanding form the ultimate standard by which to judge the righteousness of God’s actions.” Atheists consistently overestimate their abilities by claiming to know what they cannot possibly know, assuming the omniscience of the God they deny.
We now ask if a holy God can do what unholy people cannot by using sinners as instruments of His judgments against sin. Whether Israel as God’s instrument to carry out His sentence on evil peoples in the promised land, or wicked Babylon coming over the hill to chasten apostate Israel, God often uses fallen people as the instruments of His chastening and justice. Is God unjust in the double standard of doing what He tells us not to do? And by wiping out the Canaanites does God legitimize the atrocities of a Hitler or Stalin, as our atheist author suggests? 
Having established what he calls “our moral principles,” by which God and mankind are bound, the author claims that no “double-standard” can rightly exist for God and people, stating, “if it is good enough for God, it must be good enough for us.” Throughout the article the author blurs or eliminates the distinction between the Creator and the creature and rejects that different standards of behavior could apply to each.
As we noted last time, however, no standard of right or wrong exists apart from God, and He is not subject to any authority above and beyond Himself. Moreover, God is perfect in knowledge, holiness, justice, and wisdom, who does whatever He pleases in perfect righteousness with that which He created and owns. To Him we owe everything, including all love, honor and obedience, apart from whom we would have nothing, from whose gracious hand we enjoy any and every good thing. We depend on God for everything and are infinitesimally limited in knowledge, perspective, and wisdom by comparison.
Yet, in response to His infinite goodness, we disregard and insult His authority, seek our own way, deny His obvious power and genius in and about us, and treat with contempt the infinite suffering of Christ on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin and purchase for us eternal life and happiness. To say the least, we cannot be trusted to act right apart from God’s direction. Contrary to the author’s claim, never could a double-standard be more appropriate than here—we are not God. “For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’” (Isa. 46:9-10 NAS).
Indeed, the great troubles of this world are traced to people pursuing their “good pleasure,” creating the need for God’s judgments in the first place.
Can God choose a people to be special to Him, who He can honor above others? Certainly, He can do as He pleases with that which is His. Speaking of Israel, “The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers” (Deut. 7:7-8 NAS). And can God use a sinful people (“all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Rom. 3:23), to execute His judgments on wicked nations? Yes, and without our permission.
It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Know, then, it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people (Deut. 9:5-6 NAS).
God is the creator, we are not. God is the judge of the universe, we are not. God always judges in righteousness, we lack perfect knowledge and pervert justice. And when the prophet Habakkuk pleaded with God to remedy the gross wickedness of Israel, God answered and the Babylonians came over the hill and Israel was decimated. Harsh? Yes. Undeserving? No. And we lack the comprehensive understanding to know otherwise. Not until the next life will we fully understand the evil of treating our infinitely holy and good creator and benefactor with utter contempt. And as for the fate of precious little ones suffering under the consequences of their parents’ wickedness, we can entrust their souls to a God of perfect goodness and holiness, whose perfect justice we will see clearly in eternity. Until then, we have the witness of Christ that God cannot compromise His holy and perfect justice to save a single soul, demonstrated at the cost of infinite suffering to preserve His perfect righteousness. How much less will God be unrighteousness in His judgments? (See my previous article for a discussion of infants and children in the worldwide flood and other judgments of God.) We can fully trust His perfect goodness and holiness to do what is right with every soul.
Does God’s judgment of evil justify people committing evil, as our atheist author argues? Does “might make right” for sinful leaders to murder millions of people, including people in the womb, to advance their personal power, pleasure, or fallen ideology? No. They will be eternally condemned for it. Indeed, God has given government and law courts to judge righteously and Western jurisprudence stands from principles found in Scripture. But, a human judge passing the death sentence on a murderer does not give license for others to murder. How, then, does it follow that the judgments of a holy God give license for evil? The author has failed to distinguish the infinite perfection of God as the righteous judge of the universe from the limited perspective of His fallen and finite creation. Again, the Creator is not the creature. Here, as everywhere, a right view of the infinite excellence of God, our self-justifying, and our utter smallness before God renders a multitude of theological difficulties moot and makes worthless the many denials of God’s existence, including those addressed here. “You thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you,” says God (Ps. 50:21 NAS). The holy Creator of all life is qualified to judge and answers to no one, while finite and fallen creatures possess no such authority.
Though I have barely scratched the surface of the inadequacy of moral arguments against God, we can see that people lacking God’s omniscience are unqualified to make them. God’s rebuke of Job applies here as elsewhere: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” (Job 38:4 NAS). “Will you really annul My judgment? Will you condemn Me that you may be justified?” (Job 40:8 NAS). Our atheist author would do well to learn from Job and admit his limitations.
More to come—stay tuned.
 Raymond D. Bradley, “A Moral Argument for Atheism” in The Impossibility of God, Michael Martin and Ricki Monnier, eds. (Amherst: Prometheus Books, 2003), 129-146.
Scriptures marked NAS are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, copyright© 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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