Does God Really Punish? by IkeChukwu Unegbe

Opinion

Many of us recently watched a video clip, which, as they say, went viral on social media, wherein the Lagos traffic enforcement team, popularly called LASTMA, were seen struggling to apprehend a driver of a Toyota SUV that was driving against the traffic. Eventually, the driver, while reversing to escape, hit one of the police officers, who then fell into a nearby canal, fracturing his arm. Such reckless driving is always rife on our roads, especially with commercial drivers; but what caught my attention this time around was the statement from one of the enforcement officers: “God will punish you today”, he muttered. That set me on the path of broader reflections about humanity’s understanding about God Almighty.
This thinking that God punishes people, especially evil doers, is so common and rampant. Human beings even invoke the wrath of God upon their enemies at will, as if exercising some command control over The Almighty Creator. You would frequently hear such statements as ‘the wrath of God will visit you and your family’, ‘I command full vengeance of God upon you’. Some religious leaders or pastors even threaten that the wrath of The Almighty would visit those who do not contribute to religious activities, or those who oppose their teachings. All such remarks truly show how far removed many are in understanding the ‘nature’ and ‘workings’ of The Almighty Creator.
There is obviously a general thinking that God is like man, and gets angry and acts arbitrarily, during such fit of anger to ‘punish’. Many would even quickly cite the verses of the scriptures where it was recorded in Romans 12:19 , “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath, for it is written, vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.”  So, this gives the narrow understanding that out there is a ‘vengeful God’, who takes a pound of flesh against all enemies. Those who are familiar with this verse boast about it, and use it as armour of protection. Some, too, then deploy it to justify an indolent yielding to the weakness of accommodating evil and thereby allowing unjust acts to proliferate. But the statement ‘…vengeance is mine, I will repay’, should not be interpreted a too human way. It must be understood in the context of the orderliness in Creation, which is outside the immediate or direct vicinity of Almighty God.
What then is the nature of God Almighty? First, erase it from your stored memory that The Creator is like any other human being, but with a white robe, and long white beards, and sits upon a high throne, from where he dispenses favours and punishment according to deserving portions. God is not man, and bears no characteristics of man. Remember always the statement: “those who worship God must do so in spirit and truth”, then you may have glimpses of the nature of The Almighty. The Almighty Creator is Divinity Unsubstantiate; meaning that He has no form discernible to man.  He is the formless White Radiation of Truth and Life. Not even the archangels in the Divine realms can behold the countenance of The Almighty.
How then does He manifest and work in creation? Creation is upheld and functions according to manifest Natural Laws, also called Spiritual laws or Laws of Creation. These Laws of Creation bear within the eternal command of The Almighty in their automatic out-working effects. We are all familiar with them, but religious teachings have somewhat obscured their activities due to the present thinking that God can act arbitrarily upon the command of man. It is the perfect and automatic workings of these Laws of Creation that exert full ‘vengeance’ against all wrongs.  The laws work under a peculiar motion of the rhythm of love and justice which ensures BALANCE over all events. You may wish to see that as a Law of Cycle; because they ensure also that every action originated by a human being must ultimately close its cycle of operation where it began. ‘As you call it into the woods, so it echoes back at you!’ Some call this mechanism law of karma or retributive justice. But the point to make clearly is that God, The Almighty, has no personal hand in the operations of this just mechanism of the Laws of Creation.
‘Punishment’ is, therefore, a wrong choice of word when we contemplate the harmony and balancing effects in the Laws of Creation. The Laws simply bring back to each person the same harvests of seeds that accord with the earlier seeds sown in thoughts, words and physical deeds. Even when the Lord Jesus Christ came upon the earth, He also proclaimed that He has not come to annul the laws but to uphold them. Therefore, it is wrong to assume and pronounce that the Almighty Creator would punish anyone. It is the Laws of Creation, the effects of which no one can escape from, that do the just recompense. These Laws of Creation know neither religious beliefs nor tribal connections. They know neither sects nor denominations. They operate on the basis of the oneness of all humanity!

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