Like if you make one false move, God goes, "Aha! You messed up, so now I'm going to punish you!" I gotta tell you I'm kind of scared to write this blog post. (If you don't see any posts after this one, you'll know what happened.)
Let's face it, God is a mystery. Anybody who tells you they've got God figured out, well, you can be sure of one thing: they don't. But we all make our approximations as to whether God exists and then if we feel he does, we make further approximations as to how he might impact our lives.
But is he a dispenser of justice? In this world anyway?
I've certainly felt that God has helped me many times in my life, and there have been many times where I've felt that he has knocked the crap out of me when I've done bad things. (I much prefer the former.) And then there are times it seems to me, it doesn't matter much one way or another what I do. Like God doesn't care one way or another what I do. Or this could be another way of saying that at those times I don't really believe in a Biblical notion of God (a justice dispenser).
But I do think God would be a particularly small God if he was just waiting to pounce on our mistakes.
Like, picture that you're God. You put people on earth. And remember that people have it tougher than other creatures because we are the only species that have the ability (the curse?) to contemplate our own deaths. Now that seems quite cruel right off the bat. On two counts. #1) That we have to die. #2) That we have to be aware of having to die. And so the people I, as God, have put on earth are already going to suffer as a given of their very existence. On top of that, they are not guided by instinct like other creatures. They have to make decisions as to how to live (including whether to believe in a God). Their lives are tremendously vulnerable. And so there I am up in my heaven watching all this, and no, I could not see adding to people's already weighty burden by punishing them further for their missteps. (In fact, I might more likely expect them to be angry at me for the fact that they have to die and be aware of their death.)
If anything, I would have compassion on people. I'd think, 'Gosh, they are all so vulnerable down there, and they all know for certain that they will die one day. That is a tremendous burden to bear, and I am going to do all I can to help them. Certainly they will do things harmful to each other and to themselves at times, but they are going to be punished by those harmful things, and I am not going to add to their immense burden by punishing them for them.'
No, I don't think God is just waiting to zap us. He wouldn't be much of a God if he was.