Friday, May 16, 2014

God's Ownership of Souls

The right of a man to any property is ever subject to the modifications or changes to which all human legislation is liable, and which at times, have overturned all human government. There is, then, no absolute and unqualified right of man to any property which may not be interfered with, or destroyed; for there is nothing stable this side of Heaven. Such is the weakness and insecurity of human rights to human possessions.

You may say a man has a right to do what he will with his property; for example, he may give it away, or keep it, as he will. Not so! With his rights are interlaced the rights of others, and the rights of God. Human laws and divine laws have thrown their meshes around each man, and he cannot act irrespective of the will of the law, or of the will of God, without violating his obligations to both. He must adjust his rights to the rights of others, and to the claims of God and hence his will is fettered, and can never act in an absolute and independent manner.

So also of man's control over himself, or others. He can never act as he will. His control is always a control under law, limited by statutes, human or divine. He cannot do what he will with his person, if it interferes with the rights of other persons; his line of duty is prescribed by many legal limitations, ever keeping in check his will and ever guiding his every step.

But when we turn from the rights of man to the rights of God, what a contrast! God's right of property in these souls is not derived, as man's is but original; His, not by conveyance from another but by right of creation. He made man out of dust; He made the dust out of which man was made; and, having made man in his physical being, He then breathed into him "the breath of life," and "man became a living soul." Here, then, is the absolute and unqualified right of God, by virtue of the act of creation to the souls of men. There is no right behind this right; it is the primordial right of the Creator to the creature which he has made by the word of His power.
[William Bacon Stevens]
Genesis 2:7 ... And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Ezekiel 18:4 ... Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
Isaiah 43:21 ...  This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.