To what extent can we use the character of God (or what we assume the character of God to be) as an answer for difficult questions?
If the phraseology of this question seems unclear, let me set it in its context and then provide some other examples of arguments where this answer is undeniably misused.
The Context of the Question
In OTI, we have been discussing the preservation of Scriptures. The argument has been postulated that we appeal to the character of God by saying that the Word must be preserved, because God would not withold anything from us that we need to live and walk with Him. I would agree with this, but only on the basis of what the text actually says about application of God's character. Namely, II Peter 1:3 "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,"
The way I would interpret this is that God has actually said in His Word that He has supplied us with everything we need to be godly, from which you can infer that He has not witheld anything that we need to be godly. Thus, if we need Scripture to be godly (which Scripture says) then everything we need to be godly must be preserved.
Let me point out that I am not arguing this way, "since God is loving, He must preserve Scripture." Rather, I am saying, "Since God said He gave us what we need, He must preserve what we need."
Some Wrong Uses of the Argument from the Character of God
- God is loving, so He would not allow people to go to hell.
- God is loving, so He would not allow 9/11.
- God is loving, so He would not allow the holocaust.
- God would not assign a sinful nature to human beings without them having the opportunity to choose sin for themselves.
- God would not choose some to eternal life and leave others to eternal punishment.
Please respond with your comments and insights. What regulates when we can and cannot say "God's character is ____ so he wouldn't _____ " (you fill in the blanks)?