Saturday, 11 December 2010

Because we know

Newspaper headline: "Jim Morrison wins posthumous pardon - American rock legend Jim Morrison won a posthumous pardon Thursday for charges of indecent exposure brought after a drunken rant at a concert 41 years ago Florida officials said."

Mr. Morrison was before my time. I don't know anything more about him than is in the above article.

But I do know that the concept of a posthumous pardon is only meaningful in a theistic universe. The Bible says that everybody knows about the reality of God, though they try to suppress it. But it just keeps leaking out, because it's who we are - made in God's image, living in God's world which testifies everywhere and always to God, we can't avoid it. Leopards have spots, ants work hard, and men know that God is, because that's how they're made.

In an imaginary atheistic universe, by now Jim Morrison would have been nothing for a long time. There is no Jim Morrison any more to pardon: he's dead, Jim. In a consistent atheistic universe, justice and righteousness do not exist as fundamental concepts, only as constructed ideas that exist solely in people's imaginations. (And which they disagree a lot about). The idea of handing out "justice" to a no-longer-existent ex-lump of long-rotted carbon-and-calcium would be foolish and absurd. Why bother? Who's keeping score, who cares, and if they do care shouldn't we send them for corrective counselling rather than indulge them?

But if human beings do continue after death, and if justice and righteousness are fundamental concepts of the universe, then this kind of thing makes sense. At least, it makes sense in principle...

Once someone has died, the right to pardon belongs to God alone. Mr. Morrison has left this world in which God has delegated authority to men, and entered the next world where God alone gives the verdicts - so it's not for us to pardon those who have entered His courts. That makes this line in the article a logical nonsense, even though Governor Crist identifies the underlying assumption:
"In this case, guilt or innocence is in God's hands, not ours. That is why I ask my colleagues today to pardon Jim Morrison," Crist said.
A world in which God is, God's law matters, and human beings know it, but are confused. That's the world we live in... and we know that too.

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