Why Doesn’t God Follow His Own Laws?!

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Why Doesn’t God Follow His Own Laws?!

James R. Aist

“But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” (Psalm 115:3)

Many people want to believe that what the Bible says about God is true, but they will do so only insofar as it conforms to their pre-conceived notions and/or they are willing to accept it as being true. Consequently, they believe in a god that is, at least to some extent, created in their own image. One major stumbling block for many such folks is the fact that God doesn’t always follow the laws that He commands us to follow. For example, in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), God has commanded us to not murder or steal, but He killed all the firstborn children in the land of Egypt (Exodus 13:15) and struck dead a Christian married couple (Acts 5:1-10), and, in effect, He stole the land from the inhabitants of the promised land and gave it to His chosen people, the Israelites (Leviticus 20:24)! So, they reckon, God is breaking His own laws and is, therefore, not the perfect moral being He claims to be. This leads them to the conclusion that such a god is a scofflaw, and therefore not worthy of reverence and obedience, much less worship.

But, there is a fatal flaw in that way of thinking about the God of the Bible. God’s laws were given to mankind for mankind to follow, not necessarily for God to follow. The God of the Bible is the supreme judge of what is right and what is wrong. There is no authority above God to whom one can appeal in order to lodge a valid accusation against God. Moreover, there is no need of someone to judge God, because all of His ways and thoughts are perfect. The psalmist stated it succinctly for us: “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115:3). God is not subject to the laws He has given for mankind to follow. Rather, He does whatever He pleases. God’s perfect ways flow from His perfect, moral nature, whereas our imperfect ways flow from our imperfect, sin nature. Moreover, God forbids us to do some things that He does, even in those instances in which we are capable of doing so. For example, Paul states emphatically,”Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to God’s wrath, for it is written: “Vengeance is Mine. I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19). Judgement, in the sense of condemnation of a person, is another thing that God reserves for Himself. And, we can add the definition of right and wrong to this list. So, you see, God does not follow all of the laws that He laid out for mankind to follow, because He has reserved some functions and actions for Himself alone. He can do that, because He is God and we are not. We would do well to remember that.

The God of the Bible created, and therefore owns, all of creation, including us. He created us for His glory (Isaiah 43:7), in order for us to reflect back to him His glory (click HERE). Therefore, He has every right, even a moral obligation, to reward good and punish evil, as well as to be the sole judge of what good and evil are. And, He does with each human life whatever he pleases, without reproach. We can see this clearly in Romans 9:18, where Paul writes, “Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and He hardens whom He wills.”

So, whenever we accuse the God of the Bible of wrongdoing, we are deluding ourselves into thinking that we are morally superior to God and are, therefore, qualified to be His judge. But in reality, its the other way around: we will all be judged by God.  So let’s not judge Him because He doesn’t follow all of the laws He has given for us to follow. Rather, let’s make peace with the fact that as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways higher than our ways, and His thoughts than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). This is the God of the Bible: morally perfect, beyond reproach and judge of all.

(To read more of my articles with biblical themes, click HERE)

2 thoughts on “Why Doesn’t God Follow His Own Laws?!

  1. grateful2him says:

    I always appreciate your comments, Hugh. You have brought up a very pertinent and timely set of issues, and one to which I can have little to add. Personally, I am not convinced that God has given a people group other than His chosen people, Israel, a direct command to steal land from another people group. That was a necessary part of His grand plan to establish Israel as the nation out of whom He would bring forth the Messiah, the savior of the world. In the history of the world, this was a unique and never-to-be-repeated scenario. Therefore, I question any claim that rests its validity on this particular bit of history. Only God can steal someone’s land with impunity, because only God owns all the earth and can do whatever He pleases with it. However, it is God who raises up and brings down kings and nations, as He pleases, so I cannot say whether or not it was God’s permissive will or His determined will at work in these other instances of cultures supplanting weaker cultures. But I do know that, because He is sovereign, He has permitted all of it to happen. And, because I know God well enough, I know that He has a good reason for whatever He has permitted. Finally, God has reserved certain actions for Himself alone (e.g., vengeance, judgment, salvation), so we are not to take it upon ourselves to do all of the things that God does, even in situations where it is within our capabilities to do so.

  2. Hugh Wetmore says:

    Thanks for this stimulating article. I have a query which is very relevant for us in South Africa, where our new democratic government accuses the white colonialists and the apartheid government of having stolen the land from the blacks, which now gives the majority black population the authority to “expropriate land without compensation”. As you can imagine this is very controversial J L.

    I am a white Caucasian who would not be comfortable if black radicals expropriated my property without compensation. But I can see the logic of their argument. Especially when the Afrikaners who implemented drastic apartheid, claim they were doing what God told Israel to do back in Joshua’s day. As you wrote “He (God) stole the land from the inhabitants of the promised land and gave it to His chosen people, the Israelites (Leviticus 20:24)”

    I can also argue that the majority Black Bantu settlers who migrated from the north stole the land violently from the Khoi-San First Peoples who were hunter-gatherers throughout southern Africa. But that’s another matter – it deepens the current controversy!!! The point is that later inhabitants have always stolen land from former inhabitants … that is factual history in every continent.

    My question now is not “RE: [New post] Why Doesn’t God Follow His Own Laws?!” ……. My question is this: If God sets the standard of behaviour when He commands us to be “godly” and “holy” like He is, does this legitimise conquest and annexation of other nation’s land? Jeremiah 9:23,24 requires us to behave like God does.

    This is no theoretical question for us in South Africa! It has implications for every nation in the world, for there is no nation that has not conquered and occupies someone else’s territory.

    I look forward to your response,

    Hugh G Wetmore

    Hugh & Thearl Wetmore

    218 Glenhaven Retirement Village,

    282 Annette van Zyl Street,

    Garsfontein, Pretoria 0081



    Hugh & Thearl Wetmore

    218 Glenhaven Retirement Village

    Private Bag x932

    Garsfontein 0042

    South Africa

    Tel & Fax 012 3482913

    (International: +27 12 3482913)


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