DEFENDING GOD’S BENEVOLENCE WHILE COMING OUT AGAINST VIGILANTE JUSTICE AND ANARCHY
The Christian blogging community has had a ground swell of protest against George Zimmerman’s latest claims that it was God’s plan that Trayvon Martin was shot to death: for more, see here ___________, here,____________ here,_________oh, and here!:__________
Uh no, not a word? Oh, okay.
Is the death of innocent life a part of God’s plan? And if so, should that plan never be questioned? These are the religious beliefs of George Zimmerman, who is accused of the 2nd degree murder of Trayvon Martin. When asked for a third time by Fox News commentator Sean Hannity if Zimmerman had any other choice to make with regards to shooting Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman responded, “It was ALL God’s plan” and that to second guess it, judge it, would be wrong. Zimmerman avoids the question by crediting God with the shooting death of Trayvon Martin:
Let me ask you a question, “Did God pull the trigger?” So, how, in any way can a Good God be culpable for the evil, free will choice of George Zimmerman. By avoiding Hannity’s question (and getting away with that I may add), Zimmerman has divinely sanctioned racial bias when it comes to vigilante justice. To Zimmerman’s credit, he has worked to calm the flames from his supporters like Florida pastor Terry Jones, who’s determined to start a race war but by taking God’s name in vain, George Zimmerman has violated one of the Ten Commandments.
Also, one has to question Zimmerman’s telling of the story. Why was it important for George Zimmerman to get out of the car to chase what looked to be like a dangerous, tall black male criminal in the first place. If there’s a dangerous criminal near you, call the police, give them your address/location, and let them handle it. That is what they are authorized to do. Zimmerman it seems was looking for a confrontation. Biblically speaking, as part of God’s plan, we are to sub-order our lives to government official. The police were the proper authorities to deal with this situation. No one man is above the law and no man is an authority unto himself. That is how we should understand Romans 12-13 (See John Howard Yoder’s The Politics of Jesus, or my views on sub-ordination and government authority from my The Gift of Meekness Series Part 1 ) not endorsing fascism, but respecting authorities that know their proper role. In his proper role as a citizen of Florida, Zimmerman should have submitted the information he had to the Sanford police department, and waited for them, if he really believed he was dealing with a criminal.
Secondly, if we are to rightfully understand God’s plan, we need to look to Jesus in the Gospels and the New Testament. Jesus is God’s Will and Word as Christians confess. God’s Will was not for Jesus to stay dead, but to be resurrected in his body so that we may have hope and life. Death, therefore, has suffered a fatal blow in the Victorious rising of the Savior (1st Corinthians 15). In the Gospel of John, Jesus said he came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. The white supremacist god that George Zimmerman, Doug Wilson, and Terry Jones worship is Hades, the Greek pagan god who was annihilated by the God of Moses.
God is good, and as a fundamental belief of Christian theism, God’s goodness ought to be defended. Evil happens not out of any doing or being of the Triune God, but because the free will choices that human beings make. We do not live in the best of all possible worlds. We live in a world filled with all possibilities because the good Triune God has given humanity free will and it is up to us as one human race, the descendents of Adam/the inheritors of Christ, to live in opposition to sin, and to do good.