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The Demands of Justice


What demands the price of Justice?  

17 members have voted

  1. 1. When justice needs to be satisfied what is payment of the price satisfying?

    • Cosmological balance (natural law)
    • God's own laws/rules
    • Offense against God personally
    • Requirements for entry to the next level (Celestial)
    • Laws of our current situation
    • Something else entirely (comment below)


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The atonement thread got me thinking and here is a related topic I'd like some thoughts on.

When you read of mercy not robbing justice, or God being a follower of law, or Christ paying the price for our sins and Adam's transgression, what does that mean to you?

When a law is broken and "justice" needs satisfaction what do you think justice represents?

Is it an offended Heavenly Father?  Or the eternal laws he maintains in his dominions?  Or the rules of those to whom he reports?  Or community laws for the Celestial Kingdom we hope to enter?  Or is it even natural law, a required balance between right and wrong in all existence?

To whom is the penalty paid that we label with the imprecise term "justice"?

Edited by JLHPROF
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All actions need to have consequences.  If nothing good ever came out of a good action, who would do good.  Likewise, is nothing bad ever happened as a result of a bad action there would be not intensive not to do bad things.  Accountability and agency seem to go hand in hand with justice.  It is just that a person be held accountable for his actions when acting as an agent for God.  It is merciful for God to provide a means, a Savior, to redeem his fallen servants.

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I selected all of the options listed and the "something else entirely" I had in mind was the opposition or anyone who is opposed to just letting an offender escape the consequences of his actions, although when viewed from a particular perspective I suppose someone might conclude that really isn't something else entirely.  I just think some people may not think of justice as something that satisfies Satan, or what is evil, even though those things are some of the things that are part of the balance and weighed on the scales of justice...and the two-edged sword kind of thing and all that.

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As an agnostic atheist, I see it in terms of proper boundaries. Some violations are too extreme to permit free movement in public life. Some violations can be easily remedied with an apology. In interpersonal relationships, repentance is essential to trust and health.

I still agree with the general repentance process, just adapted somewhat: confession, abandonment of harmful behaviour, restitution, and righteous living.

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I think something else entirely: the very person creating the need for satisfaction, and/or the Very Person creating the satisfaction for the need, as mutually agreed upon between them.

Edited by CV75
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59 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I think something else entirely: the very person creating the need for satisfaction, and/or the Very Person creating the satisfaction for the need, as mutually agreed upon between them.

we are talking about justice, not about giving someone whatever they want

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1 hour ago, CV75 said:

I think something else entirely: the very person creating the need for satisfaction, and/or the Very Person creating the satisfaction for the need, as mutually agreed upon between them.

So is this like a spiritual transaction between the repenting person and the mediating Christ? Can you elaborate?

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A few of the responses are focusing on the person that broke the law, ie repentance, accountability, restitution, etc.
That's not really what I'm getting at.

If I were to mug somebody and get arrested "justice" would demand a criminal penalty.  It might include restitution, reform of my character, and paying the price through incarceration.
But in a criminal act the price is paid by the criminal "to society" and sometimes "to the court" or "to the victim".

But if I commit a sin that needs to be paid for does the same kind of guideline apply?  Let's say I break the sabbath and refuse to repent so justice requires a price (and for whatever reason I refuse to allow Christ to cover it).
Who or what is requiring the payment?
When Christ paid the price for our sins he covered the demands of justice.  What forms the ledger?  What determines the price has been paid?

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5 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

A few of the responses are focusing on the person that broke the law, ie repentance, accountability, restitution, etc.
That's not really what I'm getting at.

If I were to mug somebody and get arrested "justice" would demand a criminal penalty.  It might include restitution, reform of my character, and paying the price through incarceration.
But in a criminal act the price is paid by the criminal "to society" and sometimes "to the court" or "to the victim".

But if I commit a sin that needs to be paid for does the same kind of guideline apply?  Let's say I break the sabbath and refuse to repent so justice requires a price (and for whatever reason I refuse to allow Christ to cover it).
Who or what is requiring the payment?
When Christ paid the price for our sins he covered the demands of justice.  What forms the ledger?  What determines the price has been paid?

So you mean in cases of a sin which is perhaps only that of disobeying God, specifically one that might offend no one else?

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29 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

So you mean in cases of a sin which is perhaps only that of disobeying God, specifically one that might offend no one else?

In principle, yes.  I know the line between the two is vague (adultery for instance).

But yes, I am specifically looking at sin.  Christ had to pay for our sins.  Justice cannot be robbed. 
Who or what is this justice that has to be paid?  What would happen if it wasn't paid (we'd remain in the grave, but why and how)?

There are those who treat sin like the only reason it's bad is because it offends God, as if should God choose to forgive a sin the penalty wouldn't matter.  Which we know to be false because the atonement exists.  The penalty is not there just because God doesn't like the act.

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3 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

.................  Or is it even natural law, a required balance between right and wrong in all existence?

To whom is the penalty paid that we label with the imprecise term "justice"?

I opted for cosmological balance under natural law -- which God Himself must obey.  However, there is a guy online who claims that the LDS Church charges a membership fee for access to the Celestial Kingdom (in monetary terms, the full tithing which must be paid for access to temple and temple rites).

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In the previous thread about the Atonement theory @rongo mentioned, and again here, about God's honor and the eternal intelligences. I've done some reading in the past and came across this then, but not until recently did I encounter it again. I would put forth the first option as my best guess and belief: that God's authority is, in my opinion, the honor and willing obedience given Him by all creation on account of his perfection, justice, and grace.

When the individual repents and joins the covenant relationship with their Savior, they in oneness take upon themselves His name, His perfection, and ultimately His innocence, which satisfies the demands of justice because He stood in their place, paying for their sins. All demands of justice are therefore answered by the suffering and death of Him who did no sin, and not on the former sinner. As they become a new creature and joint-heir with Christ they are rendered sinless and innocent, as He is, because their sins are answered upon His head and not their own. This allows them all the time they need after this life to actually become perfect. 

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1 hour ago, JLHPROF said:

A few of the responses are focusing on the person that broke the law, ie repentance, accountability, restitution, etc.
That's not really what I'm getting at.

If I were to mug somebody and get arrested "justice" would demand a criminal penalty.  It might include restitution, reform of my character, and paying the price through incarceration.
But in a criminal act the price is paid by the criminal "to society" and sometimes "to the court" or "to the victim".

But if I commit a sin that needs to be paid for does the same kind of guideline apply?  Let's say I break the sabbath and refuse to repent so justice requires a price (and for whatever reason I refuse to allow Christ to cover it).
Who or what is requiring the payment?
When Christ paid the price for our sins he covered the demands of justice.  What forms the ledger?  What determines the price has been paid?

The ledger is formed by what we are after we sin, on one side, and what we would have been if we had not sinned, on the other side of the ledger.

Try thinking of sin as something that makes you dirty.  A particular degree of dirtiness with infinite degrees of dirtiness. 

Dirty things go where dirty things go.  In a dirty laundry bin, for example.

Think about that, and let's not even talk about whatever it might takes to make something that is dirty clean, or clean again, yet.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I opted for cosmological balance under natural law -- which God Himself must obey.  However, there is a guy online who claims that the LDS Church charges a membership fee for access to the Celestial Kingdom (in monetary terms, the full tithing which must be paid for access to temple and temple rites).

Yeah, I heard that tithing is the new indulgences.  😄

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8 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

In principle, yes.  I know the line between the two is vague (adultery for instance).

But yes, I am specifically looking at sin.  Christ had to pay for our sins.  Justice cannot be robbed. 
Who or what is this justice that has to be paid?  What would happen if it wasn't paid (we'd remain in the grave, but why and how)?

There are those who treat sin like the only reason it's bad is because it offends God, as if should God choose to forgive a sin the penalty wouldn't matter.  Which we know to be false because the atonement exists.  The penalty is not there just because God doesn't like the act.

My point of view, insofar as I agree with the meaning of the demand of justice, is that it matters because we matter. If I act against my conscience, I betray myself. You might say I'd be betraying my identity as one with divine nature, but to me as an atheist the betrayal of my own conscience is gravely serious. 

I would say that this is fairly consistent with the Joseph Smith view of coeternal intelligences and the Book of Mormon understanding of God: we have intrinsic value and God is God because God is good. 

In sin, goodness and personal identity has been violated and that is what must be satisfied.

Edited by Meadowchik
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9 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

A few of the responses are focusing on the person that broke the law, ie repentance, accountability, restitution, etc.
That's not really what I'm getting at.

If I were to mug somebody and get arrested "justice" would demand a criminal penalty.  It might include restitution, reform of my character, and paying the price through incarceration.
But in a criminal act the price is paid by the criminal "to society" and sometimes "to the court" or "to the victim".

But if I commit a sin that needs to be paid for does the same kind of guideline apply?  Let's say I break the sabbath and refuse to repent so justice requires a price (and for whatever reason I refuse to allow Christ to cover it).
Who or what is requiring the payment?
When Christ paid the price for our sins he covered the demands of justice.  What forms the ledger?  What determines the price has been paid?

All around us we see grades of complexity and order. Our Father in Heaven and the celestial realm conform to the highest laws and therefore are the most ordered. Sin/Disobedience increase a persons disorderliness and sins of omission prevent us from increasing the orderliness of our state. Disorder must be eliminated in order to increase the order of a closed system (thermodynamics).

Sabbath keeping as with all forms of "sacrifice" allow us to increase the order of our lives. Not keeping the sabbath results in lack of growth, stagnation and even ultimately regression.

We build ourselves biologically by partaking of food. In the process of digestion we extract vitamins, minerals and nutrients(the order in a piece of food) but must eliminate the disorder as waste. A person that will not repent or sacrifice is the equivalent of a person that will not exhale, urinate or defecate. That close system that does not eliminate waste regularly quickly becomes polluted.

The scriptures often refer to this polluted state as filthiness:

33 Wherefore, if they should die in their wickedness they must be cast off also, as to the things which are spiritual, which are pertaining to righteousness; wherefore, they must be brought to stand before God, to be judged of their works; and if their works have been filthiness they must needs be filthy; and if they be filthy it must needs be that they cannot dwell in the kingdom of God; if so, the kingdom of God must be filthy also.
34 But behold, I say unto you, the kingdom of God is not filthy, and there cannot any unclean thing enter into the kingdom of God; wherefore there must needs be a place of filthiness prepared for that which is filthy.
(1 Nephi 15:33-34)

 

We can eliminate our own filth or get help from the Saviour but in order to enter where God is we need to be free of certain levels of disorderliness to dwell in that highly ordered realm.

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10 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

Who or what is requiring the payment?
When Christ paid the price for our sins he covered the demands of justice.  What forms the ledger?  What determines the price has been paid?

Order requires work to eliminate disorder. To live with God we must comply to a certain level of Order. The work required to achieve that level of order is the price required. It is a universal/eternal law.

There is no ledger, simply a "standard of order" or "law" that must be complied too. Christ descended below all things that he may know how to succour his people. By plumbing the depths of despair and all its horrors He is now skilled and able to assist us with anything "death and hell" can throw our way as we strive to live up to the required standard or law. By working through all the horrors of an offended conscience and the worst of a fallen planet He knows the path and can guide us to healing.

David A. Bednar

"The Savior has suffered not just for our iniquities but also for the inequality, the unfairness, the pain, the anguish, and the emotional distresses that so frequently beset us. There is no physical pain, no anguish of soul, no suffering of spirit, no infirmity or weakness that you or I ever experience during our mortal journey that the Savior did not experience first. You and I in a moment of weakness may cry out, 'No one understands. No one knows.' No human being, perhaps, knows. But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He felt and bore our burdens before we ever did. And because He paid the ultimate price and bore that burden, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy in so many phases of our life. He can reach out, touch, succor—literally run to us—and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do through relying upon only our own power."
Edited by gav
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16 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

So is this like a spiritual transaction between the repenting person and the mediating Christ? Can you elaborate?

I see it more of a relationship than a transaction (which is why I used "agreed' instead of "negotiated").

Adam and Eve created the need for death as satisfaction/justice for transgressing, which Christ forgave with the promise of post-mortal resurrection given their relationship and the circumstances. Thus, they could in good faith multiply and replenish the earth, imposing this unmerited death on their posterity with impunity, because of the promise of universal resurrection.

In the same way, we create a need for spiritual death for sin, whcih Christ atoned for from the foundation of the world. Given our relationship with Him --beloved children of Heavenly Father at varying-yet-qualifying stages of progress and intelligence -- we agreed to this prior to mortality. Thus, we can in good faith repent despite any mortally irreparable offenses against others, whcih will be removed in Christ.

Our relationship with God is eternal, defined by love, and so the higher power alleviating negative consequences for lesser powers is natural, as are abiding in the mutual exercise of agency which establishes any agreement within greater or lesser limits.

 

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19 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I see it more of a relationship than a transaction (which is why I used "agreed' instead of "negotiated").

Adam and Eve created the need for death as satisfaction/justice for transgressing, which Christ forgave with the promise of post-mortal resurrection given their relationship and the circumstances. Thus, they could in good faith multiply and replenish the earth, imposing this unmerited death on their posterity with impunity, because of the promise of universal resurrection.

In the same way, we create a need for spiritual death for sin, whcih Christ atoned for from the foundation of the world. Given our relationship with Him --beloved children of Heavenly Father at varying-yet-qualifying stages of progress and intelligence -- we agreed to this prior to mortality. Thus, we can in good faith repent despite any mortally irreparable offenses against others, whcih will be removed in Christ.

Our relationship with God is eternal, defined by love, and so the higher power alleviating negative consequences for lesser powers is natural, as are abiding in the mutual exercise of agency which establishes any agreement within greater or lesser limits.

 

I like all this.  But again, my question from the OP is to whom is the bolded part owed?  Who or what is that penalty owed to?  Owing it to "justice" is a vague term.  Owing it to God makes it subject to his will only.  But something has to exist that demands that penalty.

Is it a law of nature - a natural consequence if you will?  Cause and effect?

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1 hour ago, JLHPROF said:

I like all this.  But again, my question from the OP is to whom is the bolded part owed?  Who or what is that penalty owed to?  Owing it to "justice" is a vague term.  Owing it to God makes it subject to his will only.  But something has to exist that demands that penalty.

Is it a law of nature - a natural consequence if you will?  Cause and effect?

I think law, justice, mercy, grace and God (whether He is acting a council or acting on His own) are so perfectly integrated that they are one and the same. I think everything we do affects everyone in the long run / big picture, "we" referring to those with and without God.

At some level we owe it to ourselves and everyone else to pay the penalties (or die spiritually), and/or as Christ did, to know what it is like to die spiritually even without sinning. The settlements are resolved relationally with Christ when all is said and done (final judgement).

Going to edit / restate some of the above (especially bold part) because I don't think i was clear:

As an eternal family ("council") and co-eternal with God, we do nothing in a vacuum.

"paying the penalty" is "dying spiritually"

We can feel the horrible feelings of spiritual death that others experience, without having broken any spiritual law. this helps us empathize and minister to them as Christ would. We may draw upon our own suffering for sin as a reference point, but the sinless Christ, in ways we cannot comprehend, drew upon something more advanced or divine.

Edited by CV75
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7 hours ago, gav said:

All around us we see grades of complexity and order. Our Father in Heaven and the celestial realm conform to the highest laws and therefore are the most ordered. Sin/Disobedience increase a persons disorderliness and sins of omission prevent us from increasing the orderliness of our state. Disorder must be eliminated in order to increase the order of a closed system (thermodynamics).

The first chapter of Nibley's "Temple and Cosmos" is a transcript of a talk he gave in Aspen Grove, Utah. He quotes from scientists regarding the apparent suspension of the laws of thermodynamics (e.g., giant tanks built underground to detect proton decay. The proton should have decayed by now, yet here we are and here the universe is. Scientists are puzzled as to why it is so hard to find evidence of protons decaying). He makes the point that something is keeping the relentless forces of disorder at bay, and that is the atonement ("there is a [time and] space granted unto man" so that we can have a probationary period, Alma 12:24). 

Sidenote: I read a fascinating book last year by award-winning physicist Richard Muller (father of the dark energy theory) at Cal-Berkley called "Now: The Physics of Time." Fascinating for its description of theories on time and particle physics, and a lot of other things. Muller writes very much along these lines about the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. My paraphrase of this section in a letter to my son on a mission: "Entropy is a real problem in physics, if scientists will admit it. According to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, everything should tend towards chaos and disorganization, but the universe itself, and galaxies, on down to the subatomic level, are all highly organized. Something is holding it together and working against this."

I was also blown away by his religiosity at the end of the book. In talking about the difference between ultimate reality and the limits of what we know about ultimate reality through science, he writes (again, a paraphrase for brevity's sake

It’s a proven fact that each of our two eyes sees slightly different colors when looking at the same thing (ask any optometrist), so it’s no stretch to wonder if others see something else entirely. What if there were a girl, Mary, who was purposely brought up only seeing black and white (theoretically possible. The San Francisco Exploratorium museum has a room lit with a monochromatic light – single frequency, yellow only, low pressure sodium lamps. It’s full of colorful items that only look black and white once the eyes adjust to the slight yellowish tint. And then shining a flashlight on the colorful items (a jar of jelly beans, for example), dazzles the eye with a burst of color.

Mary grows up normally in her black and white world – only the absence of color is different. She reads about color in her science books, and wonders what living in a world of color would be like. She finds physics and optics explanations of rainbows to be interesting, but wonders what a rainbow would actually look like. She eventually becomes a brilliant neuroscientist, and knows everything about how the eye works. She knows all of this, but has never experienced it herself. Then one day, Mary walks out the door into a full color world. What will her reaction be when she finally sees a rainbow? Will she say, “Oh, this is exactly what I expected from the science I studied?” Or, will her reaction be, “I had no idea!?”

This is a direct quote. It's an explanation of a testimony as we understand it!:

"There is knowing, and there is knowing. When I tell you what I know, you may conclude that I really don’t, but what I know is what I know. It’s not my opinion, it’s not my belief. I know what I mean, and it’s true. Mary learns for herself what colors look like. Many scientists say, nonsense, she has learned nothing she didn’t already know."

“What is it that does the seeing? If free will exists, what exercises it? What experiences now and differentiates it from then? (He defines this as the soul, and says that if the technology existed, he would never allow himself to be beamed up like in Star Trek, because of the quantum equations that only allow this if the old copy of yourself is destroyed, and then a new exact copy with quantum particles reconstituted. Even if it could be guaranteed that all memories and feelings could be transferred in this way, Muller is suspicious that his soul would not be. Muller's discussion of the soul sounds a lot to me of how I view intelligence and intelligences).

"Feeling empathy (putting ourselves in other people’s shoes, and trying to see things from their perspective) is remarkable, and completely unexplainable with physics. This is strong evidence for me that I have a soul. The soul is much, much more than consciousness (the physicalist view, that consciousness is just brain chemistry and electrical signals in nerve cells)."

“I recall in fifth grade my teacher said she was going to teach us how we see. I was excited. This was something I had always wondered about and wanted to understand. That afternoon, she pulled down the diagram of the eye on the blackboard. I had seen this in science books. Nothing new yet. She traced the rays. Yes, I knew that, too. Light went through the lenses, was focused on the retina, and turned into electricity. I had read about that. Pulses went to the brain. The brain knew where each signal came from so it could reconstruct the image. The retina image was upside down, but my brain inverted it. OK, here we go! This was the moment when my questions would be answered! My concentration doubled (true story. I really was on the edge of my seat). But instead of giving the explanation, she said, “Now, let’s talk about the ear and how we hear.” I sat back terribly disappointed. I had read the science books, but they always stopped at the brain. I wanted to know how I saw, how the signal went beyond my brain, to that place where I could see what the color blue looked like. What does all of this have to do with the mystery of now? As long as we think we are nothing but machines run by a fancy multitasking computer, these issues are irrelevant. They have no meaning, unless perceived by that same thing (the soul?) that looks at the signal in the brain and sees what blue looks like. The body processes signals, but the thing that looks is what I refer to as the soul. I know I have a soul. You can’t talk me out of that. It’s the thing that goes beyond physics, that is beyond the body and past the brain and sees what things and colors look like. I don’t understand the soul . . . but having children and grandchildren . . . Do they have souls, too? Yes, that is obvious to me, yet I can’t explain how I know . . . If you tell me I don’t have a soul, that it is an illusion, that you can teach a computer program to act as if it, too, has a soul, I conclude that you don’t know what I am talking about, just like my fifth-grade teacher.”

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2 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

I like all this.  But again, my question from the OP is to whom is the bolded part owed?  Who or what is that penalty owed to?  Owing it to "justice" is a vague term.  Owing it to God makes it subject to his will only.  But something has to exist that demands that penalty.

Is it a law of nature - a natural consequence if you will?  Cause and effect?

I think CV75 gave a good answer and I will just try to rephrase the answer in my own manner of speech now.  And I think to understand better you will also need to rethink how you phrased your own questions.  The penalty we face is our own and nobody else's.

You mentioned a ledger earlier.  Do you understand accounting?  Are you familiar with debits and credits?  Let's imagine that you have your own accounting system for all of your actions with a total net worth that is affected by all of your actions.  You start off with a clean slate, with no debits or credits on any of your accounts, and when you do something bad that affects your net worth in a negative way that acts as a debit against you, personally.  Likewise, when you do something good that acts as a credit on your account to help make you a better person. 

So now let's suppose that you do something bad for the very first time and then you have your very first debit on one of your accounts in your accounting system.  The account that keep track of whether or not you honor your Mother and Father, for example.  What are you going to do to make up for that debit so that you then have a zero balance on that account again?  Or maybe put a credit balance on it over and above your debit(s) on that account?  How are you going to come up with that much of a credit?  Or even any credit for honoring your Mother and Father?  And if you do come up with a credit to balance that account don't you think you will still be able to see all of your debits and credits on your accounts?  Or does your accounting system work in such a way that when you balance your accounts you don't see any debits or credits anymore, only a zero balance on your accounts?

It's your accounting system, so you should be able to tell me how it works, and show me some reports of some kind.  Are you aware you will be audited someday? Our Father considers all of us to be accountable for all of our actions.

 

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2 hours ago, rongo said:

... if the technology existed, he would never allow himself to be beamed up like in Star Trek, because of the quantum equations that only allow this if the old copy of yourself is destroyed, and then a new exact copy with quantum particles reconstituted. Even if it could be guaranteed that all memories and feelings could be transferred in this way, Muller is suspicious that his soul would not be.

Good for him.  I wouldn't ever want my soul to be destroyed either, even if could be duplicated.

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26 minutes ago, Ahab said:

I think CV75 gave a good answer and I will just try to rephrase the answer in my own manner of speech now.  And I think to understand better you will also need to rethink how you phrased your own questions.  The penalty we face is our own and nobody else's.

So that would lean to natural law, cause and effect.  Our actions create the need for a necessary penalty as a natural consequence.  Like burning ourselves when we touch a hot surface.
The penalty is owed automatically, not applied.  Nothing other than the built in effect of the sin causing a penalty to be administered.

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