God is a non-interventionist

As technology has advanced and the world has “grown smaller,” it has become increasingly evident that little miracles don’t really happen. By “little miracles,” I mean people levitating, disappearing, parting seas, or making the sun stop in the sky. If they did occur, we’d be watching them on You Tube. But they don’t. That’s a good thing, because it leaves us less distracted from the real miracles: that we are here, that we live in a universe governed by natural laws that explain the world around us and that we have been blessed with reason to discover those laws.

In addition to the natural, physical laws that cause the planets to rotate around their stars and the plants to photosynthesize sunlight, there are also natural, moral laws. Like the physical laws, we are able to discover these by reason. First, we gather facts that we can observe directly with our senses. We then use reason to draw conclusions from those facts.

One observation we have made is that all human beings are created equal. No, they aren’t all the same color, height, shape, or sex. They don’t all run as fast or play the piano as well. There is a wonderful diversity to human life in that no two human beings are exactly alike. Yet, there is nothing so different about any one human being that gives him any innate right to exercise authority over another. In that respect, we are all truly equal.

From that observation, we can draw the conclusion that comprises the most basic, fundamental moral law of nature. As John Locke put it,

““The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions…”

Reason also leads us to the conclusions that life is good, that whatever promotes life is good, and that whomever or whatever created life, the world around us and the natural laws that govern it must also be good. Some people explain the miracle from a purely scientific point of view. We are here simply because certain materials interacted with others and started a chain reaction. Where those materials came from they do not know. Others insist that it is the work of not only a sentient being, but a loving God.

However, the latter group has always faced a philosophical dilemma. How could a loving God allow terrible things to happen to innocent people? How could he allow atrocities committed by humans, such as those by Stalin, Hitler, or Pol Pot? How could he allow natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis to kill thousands of innocent people, when he has the power to prevent them?

The only answer most of us are ever given is “It’s a mystery.” Indeed it is, but that isn’t very satisfying. We’ve been endowed by this creator with a natural curiosity about the nature of our existence. This compels us to ask “Why?” While no one can give a definitive answer, I’d like to suggest one that fits the facts. God is a non-interventionist.

What does that mean? It means that God does not override his own natural laws in order to prevent some of their consequences. Imagine if he did? At any given time, a good percentage of the nearly 7 billion people who inhabit this planet are asking him to violate the most fundamental natural law of cause and effect. Were he to grant even a small percentage of those requests, we would live in a chaotic world that would be impossible to understand or predict. One could not even know for sure that the next step would take one forward instead of backward. No human progress would be possible.

Similarly, God does not override the decisions of men, even if it would save lives or prevent suffering. That was the whole point of the Genesis story, wasn’t it? While Adam and Eve were in the garden, they did not know the difference between good and evil. There was no suffering, but no real joy either. God did not want robots that did his will merely because he programmed them to do it. He wanted sentient beings that would choose to do his will. In order to choose to do his will, they had to have the ability to choose not to. That has never changed.

So, God has the power to prevent suffering, but chooses not to because to override man’s free will or the immutable laws of nature would be worse. He has already provided everything necessary for human beings to live in peace, happiness and prosperity.  We need only use our reason to discover the natural laws, to continue to understand them better, and to follow them.

The United States is right now the most powerful nation on earth. Whether that will be true in fifty years, we do not know. However, today its government has the power to intervene in the affairs of almost any other nation. Often, there is the temptation to use this awesome power to intervene between a dictator and his people or between an aggressor nation and an ally. When have the consequences of intervention ever been better than those of non-intervention would have been? Never.

Yet, we continue to intervene in a most ungodly way, with those who claim to be most devoted to God exhorting us most vociferously. When will we ever learn?

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

6 thoughts on “God is a non-interventionist

  1. Pingback: Saturday, End of March Articles » Scott Lazarowitz's Blog

  2. William Schooler

    Thats a new description of God, LOL. But let me be little more real than this. God is life, you are life, I am life and all other wondering this planet are life and LIFE is capable because WE can create ideas (it a part of life) we also decide which is the force of all our activities or actions and what you describe is the human species which is life with limits but I am without limits because I can generate as many ideas as I decide I shall. So can all other life and with actions comes reactions and because of this Responsibility exists (its not a choice issue) it is because of the choice issue.

    I once had a serious motorcycle accident when I came me out of my body and was looking down at it while people were running over and touching my body. Only I didn’t feel it, I could watch it. For the longest time I kept my mouth shut about that but since then realized I am as able as all other life and because I like living (doing something) by ideas and choices no less, that I was the same as all other life around me. Now in my physical self I am limited and not the same as any other but as life I am. I have determined that difference in my reality and all the sudden God’s image has a whole new meaning to me. Not to be God but to be a part of life which we are all a part of thus the connection of life.

    Yes, I know that goes against all these teachings but then I view the Declaration of Independence as a Document for decision making as well and most will not even look at it.

    But I have realized all achievements by man were decided, each and every one and none can be shown to be without such a fact. So this means everything that takes place is decided including life By God our creator.

    The law of nature is me in my nature state and not my physical state and in this state I am able to make choices to promote me and all others in this state. My activities the proof of my choices, the signature of my actions and the display of all things I achieve in this life. The natural effect of life is growth and this is something visual that can be entirely observed from the youngest to the oldest level.

    The philosophy of my life is the way I decide I shall live it. Should I choose to support life my activities with show my intent or my choices period. Should I decide to destroy it I could be called a world banker is the loudest example. Choice the instrument of direction and responsibility the state of all choices by their effects directly to me. When I do activities against life I destroy my own life, when I support life do I build my love for all life and life will expand naturally.

    We have been given a lot of ideas out there and we have each chosen some to follow but we must always remember they are ideas, something we create, something life does in its natural state and the question we need to answer to ourselves is; Do our ideas, decisions and activities support us in this state? What does the Declaration of Independence tell you should we review in such a choice?

    Here is a little something I was asked to share to all to make you aware of up and coming changes and to make sure you are ready.

    Life is what we make it, because we are we do.


  3. Steven

    A man in training for the priesthood was called before the bishop to take his final vows. At his ordination the Bishop asked;
    “Do you accept the omnipotent power of God?”
    “Yes and no”, was the reply.
    The Bishop was aghast. “Explain to me why God is not all powerful”, he demanded.
    Without hesitation the applicant responded. “If I were to play God at poker, his pair of deuces could not beat my pair of kings”.

    If God were to ignore laws which govern the universe he would make a nonsense of his own creation.

  4. henry becker

    It appears that he is non interventionist for he reasons you state however he does occasionally intervene for his own reasons and knows how to do that without interrupting the ongoing order of things. He may even intervene without us knowing it for his own reasons. How can we tell if he isn’t moving and shaking things behind the scene? God seems to me to be spirit that can create the physical. So the question remains why doesn’t he do something when it seems he should? Those that have died would tell us if they could come back.

    1. Mike in VT

      This is a fascinating article for sure. I’ve recently been surrounded by death. The death of loved ones and loved animals. I’m trying to make sense of all of it. The only way I could reason that the existence of God is true and yet these terrible things can still happen, is that God is a non-interventionalist. But like the author said, that has to be true for everything. Yes, he could intervene and we’d never know it, but I can turn that the other way and ask, “how would you know if he intervened, or if it’s God’s natural laws at play?”. We will never know, but one thing is for sure…if there is a God, I cannot believe he’d pick and choose who he’d help and who he’d allow cruelty to occur to. Would God really allow for cruelty to an animal or allow one to suffer pain and panic just to teach me a lesson? No. If there is a God, he’d never do that to an animal. Therefore, he must not intervene and allow things to play out. I will endure anything and everything if I knew there was a “finish line” ahead of me.


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