Cause and Effect


Insisting that God's laws and punishments are arbitrary necessarily involves a denial of the principle of cause and effect that operates throughout all of creation. To believe that God demands obedience simply because He is powerful, intimidating and threatening rather than because He knows how reality is designed is to blind ourselves to the fact that sin produces its own consequences rather than God imposing punishments on us.

It is a very dangerous path to follow to claim that God must impose punishments for every sin, for it is the very same path that led Lucifer to become the greatest demon in the universe. It was fallen Lucifer that originated this idea to start with, and he is the one Jesus identified as being the father of all lies.

Every sin must meet its punishment, urged Satan; and if God should remit the punishment of sin, He would not be a God of truth and justice. {DA 761}

Viewing God as arbitrary rather than logical and sensible always leads us into a state of fear which in turn precludes our ability to truly love. Only love can induce saving faith in our hearts and as long as we cling to pernicious lies about God's character we cannot experience the transforming power in love that can only come about through a true knowledge of God.

The world's systems of law depend wholly upon the counterfeit logic of arbitrary rules and imposed punishments. This reinforces the lie of Satan that God depends on the same pattern of relating in the way He governs His universe and especially how He treats His rebellious children. We are so affected by the influence of the legal models used by the world that God's ways of relating through natural principles we call laws are almost completely foreign to our thinking. Yet until we come to believe in His ways of doing things and relating to sinners we will not be able to come into sympathy with the work of grace that must take place in our hearts to prepare us to live safely in His presence.

Many conceive of the Christian's God as a being whose attribute is stern justice,--one who is a severe judge, a harsh, exacting creditor. The Creator has been pictured as a being who is watching with jealous eye to discern the errors and mistakes of men, that He may visit judgment upon them. In the minds of thousands, love and sympathy and tenderness are associated with the character of Christ, while God is regarded as the law-giver, inflexible, arbitrary, devoid of sympathy for the beings He has made. Never was there a greater error.{BTS, November 1, 1908}

God does not stand toward the sinner as an executioner of the sentence against transgression; but he leaves the rejectors of his mercy to themselves, to reap that which they have sown. Every ray of light rejected, every warning despised or unheeded, every passion indulged, every transgression of the law of God, is a seed sown, which yields its unfailing harvest. The Spirit of God, persistently resisted, is at last withdrawn from the sinner, and then there is left no power to control the evil passions of the soul, and no protection from the malice and enmity of Satan. {GC88 36}

Our minds were created to think and reason in harmony with the great principles of God's universe. When we remain stuck in the illogic of Satan's false assertions about reality and God we damage our own minds and terribly distort our image of God both to ourselves and for those around us. God's universe operates on cause and effect while the life current of the great circuit that keeps the universe thriving is the life-blood of love itself. When we deny these fundamental principles of reality we live in an artificial reality perpetuated by Satan and confuse ourselves about the true nature of salvation.

All around us we can perceive the truth about the principle of sowing and reaping, cause and effect. Yet when we choose to believe that God does not operate within these principles when it comes to His moral laws, then we bring confusion and darkness into our hearts and are filled with the main element of the false kingdom, the element of fear.

Fear is antagonistic to love and preempts love. Yet love is the very essence of God, so if our hearts are full of fear it will be impossible for us to become a sanctuary where God can dwell. When we refuse to recognize and give up the lies of Satan about God that still infect our thinking, we resist the Holy Spirit who has been sent to dispel and discredit these lies. No matter how many years we may have believed falsehoods or how true they may feel or how many others we know believe them, none of these add a single bit of credibility to any of these false notions. It is time we allow God to introduce Himself to us personally from His Word and to introduce the light of real truth into our minds and hearts that can act as a cleansing agent to heal our fears, dispel our darkness and change our opinions about God.

We must come to realize that it is the filters of our preconceptions about God that cause us to misinterpret His Word. But we can begin to challenge those filters in the light of truth as it is in Jesus. Jesus is the only safe standard by which to evaluate what is true about God – nothing else. Jesus came to reveal the real truth about God and we must be honest enough to allow Him to define what God is like rather than clinging to our traditions of religion. We may be sure we have all the truth and there is nothing more to learn, but this is one of the most dangerous attitudes one can have. The Jews felt that way and it led them to resent the most explicit revelation of God ever offered to humanity. We too will find ourselves resenting, resisting and finally rejecting those who seek to teach us the truth about God if we are more loyal to our preconceptions than we are willing to open our minds to new truths.

Why is it that we are so ready to be suspicious about new truths and yet so unwilling to be suspicious about our deeply entrenched prejudices? Of course we don't view our prejudices as such because we have confidence that we inherited our version of truth from pioneers who hammered out our doctrines directly from the Word of God. And while it may be true that our forefathers did indeed wrestle with the Word to discover new truths unfamiliar to them, how willing are we to wrestle with it like they did? How willing are we to challenge our preconceptions, our presumptions about God and religion and to change our filters when it starts to become clear that we are not in line with what is revealed in Jesus?

When we insist that our problem is a legal issue with God and that what we need is forgiveness in His mind before He will accept us, love us and allow us into His heaven, then our focus will always end up being on changing God's mind more than changing our own condition. Sin has always led us to believe just as it did with Eve, that the problem that needs to be adjusted is in God's mind rather than in ours. The deception of sin causes us to become blind to its inherent dangers and shifts our perceptions to assume that it is God who is dangerous. Fear immediately takes over our thinking, blinds our perceptions of reality and distorts our feelings. Yet these feelings of fear, condemnation and guilt do not emanate from God but are internally created by the dissonance we feel inside caused by sin.

Part of the deception of sin is that while it creates these feelings that torment us, it then leads us to think that the consequences are being imposed on us by God. We struggle to reconcile passages in the Bible that seem to explicitly reinforce old beliefs about God with these new ideas such as in Exodus 34:7 where God says that He will by no means clear the guilty. We assume when we read this that it means God is waiting to punish those who violate His law. But is that what it really says or is He telling us something else that we are failing to grasp because of our preconceived beliefs that filter out light?

God's universe operates on the principle of cause and effect, sowing and reaping. God is declaring here that He will not always intervene to prevent us from experiencing the full effects of our choices if we keep refusing to come into alignment with these natural principles. But He is not implying He will arbitrarily impose punishments on those who break His rules. That notion is inferred by our own minds by the fear generated from our dissonance with God, the same fear Adam and Eve experienced after they believed lies about God and indulged in rebellion against Him.

Did God come to the garden after they sinned to punish them? Or did He come to the garden just as He always had to spend time with them, enjoy their presence, commune with them and share love together only to find Himself this time alone? How we perceive God's attitude in that story directly reflects our opinions about how God feels about us and in turn determines how we will respond to Him when we feel sinful. It was the fear produced by false assumptions about God in Adam's heart that caused him to run and hide from the One who unconditionally loved him. And those same false assumptions about God keep us in confusion and fear still today.

Sin leads us to believe that God ignores the great principles of cause and effect, sowing and reaping, when it comes to the effects of sin in our lives. Maybe we assume that the consequences of sin are not going to be bad enough on their own so God has to artificially add to their impact by adding imposed punishments and threats to deter us from sinning. Thus we reinforce in our minds false beliefs about God originated His accuser. We believe notions that make God appear in contradiction to His own principles. We try to separate laws of science from laws of religion thinking that religious laws somehow have to be imposed while natural laws are strong enough to operate on their own.

Yet if we are willing to revisit the Bible with new eyes and allow the Spirit of God to open to us the greater truths about God, we will begin to see a perfect harmony in all of God's laws and will perceive that everything operates on the basis of cause and effect naturally without artificial impositions on God's part. In fact, the only unnatural interference is when God suspends the law of cause and effect temporarily in His grace that prevents us from experiencing the deadly effects of sin immediately. God artificially infuses life when we have chosen paths resulting in death in order to give us more time to realign ourselves with the principles that keep perfect harmony and peace throughout the rest of the universe. Rather than seeking to punish us, God is constantly seeking to save us from the natural consequences of our continued choices to live out of sync with reality and disconnected from Life.

Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:17 NRSV)

Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, "For your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered." But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:34-39)

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