Lewis: God Is the Judge, Not Us

Man, in his sinfulness, will go to any length to excuse himself for what he has become. One of the favorite hobbies of modern man is to push the blame for the problems of the world onto God. In his essay, “God in the Dock,” C. S. Lewis describes this attitude:

The ancient man approached God (or even the gods) as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man the roles are reversed. He is the judge; God is in the dock. He is quite a kindly judge; if God should have a reasonable defence for being the god who permits war, poverty and disease, he is ready to listen to it. The trial may even end in God’s acquittal. But the important thing is that Man is on the Bench and God in the Dock.

This all stems, as I said, from the desire to ignore our sinfulness, or at least to downplay it. God is the one who must explain Himself to us, not the other way around. In The Problem of Pain, Lewis puts it this way:

When we merely say that we are bad, the “wrath” of God seems a barbarous doctrine; as soon as we perceive our badness, it appears inevitable, a mere corollary from God’s goodness.

Gavel & ScaleOnce we come to grips with the fact that our sinfulness deserves divine punishment, we can see clearly for the first time that God is just in His judgments on sin. Moreover, once we realize the enormity of the consequences of sin on ourselves and those we affect by our utter selfishness, we come to understand that judgment is an outgrowth of His love. His wrath falls on sin because it is so destructive. We deserve His wrath.

That’s what makes the cross of Christ so essential. Even though we deserve nothing but judgment, we are offered the gift of a restored relationship with the Creator. We should be so humbled by that expression of love that we lay down our arms, cease to become rebels against His kingdom, and join with Him in helping others find that restored relationship. Gratitude should be the hallmark of our lives from that point on.