Luther on the justice of God

I will give an example to confirm this belief, and to console that evil eye 763 which suspects God of injustice. 462-463 [long note]

Behold, God so governs this material world in outward things, that if you observe and follow the judgment of human reason, you are compelled to say either there is no God, or there is an unjust God. As that poet says, “I am often solicited to think that there are no Gods.”

For see how true it is that the wicked are most prosperous, and the good, on the other hand, are most unfortunate. Even proverbs, and experience, which is the mother of proverbs, testify that the more wicked men are, the more fortunate.’ “The tabernacles of the wicked abound,” says Job 12.6. And the 73d Psalm complains that sinners abound with riches in this world. 764 Is it not most unjust in the judgment of all men, I ask, that the wicked should be prospered, and the good afflicted? 765 464 Yet, such is the course of the world. It is here that even the greatest wits have fallen to the depth of denying that there is a God, and of feigning that Fortune turns and twists everything as the whim takes her: such were the Epicureans and Pliny.

Following close upon these, Aristotle, to deliver that first Being of his from misery, is of the opinion that he does not see any of the things that exist, except himself; because he considers that it would be most painful for him to see so much of evil, and so much of injustice. 766 The Prophets, on the other hand, who believed that there is a God, are more tempted with the suggestion of God’s injustice: such as Jeremiah, Job, David, Asaph and others.

What do you imagine Demosthenes and Cicero thought, when after having done all they could, they received the wages they did, in a wretched death? 767 Yet this injustice of God — which is exceedingly probable, and inferred by such arguments, that no power of reason or light of nature can resist — is most easily removed by the light of the Gospel and the knowledge of grace. These teach us that the wicked flourish in their body, it is true, but they perish in their souls. 465 Thus, we have the brief solution to this insolvable question in a single short sentence. ‘There is a life after this life, in which whatever has not been punished and rewarded here, will hereafter be punished and rewarded; seeing that this life is nothing but the precursor, or rather the beginning, of the life to come.’ The light of the Gospel, then, which owes all its power to the word and faith, is so efficacious, that this question — handled as it had been in all ages, but never answered — has thoroughly made an end of it and laid it to rest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *