In Kobe Bryant’s farewell season, the LA Lakers are struggling through what might be their worst season in their proud history. Still, since they are the Lakers, they always seem to be in the news: Recently, it was revealed that Lakers rookie and No. 2 overall pick D’Angelo Russell secretly recorded a conversation with his teammate, Nick Young. In that conversation, Young seems to admit to cheating on his fiance, Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, with a much younger woman, and that video somehow found its way on the internet. This circus show has drawn a lot of attention, even from people who do not normally follow sports, and for the most part, the criticism against Russell is pretty harsh. His own teammates have reportedly isolated him so that he has to eat alone (seriously, it sounds like grade school). Former athletes have ripped him for breaking unspoken locker room rules, people in sports media have blasted him for being an immature idiot, guys have shredded him for breaking the “bro code,” and people in general have criticized him for recording a conversation that was clearly meant to be private.
Overall, I don’t have much of a problem with this criticism: Though it may be the case that Russell didn’t intend for the video to go public, he still shouldn’t have been recording his friend without Young’s knowledge. This is of course doesn’t mean that private conversations can never be revealed to others; if someone confesses to a murder to you, for example, you are justified in notifying the police. Still, regarding private matters that are not criminal, we tend to think that it is normally shady to expose that to the general public, and if it needs to be done, it should be done with wisdom and caution.
So no big problem there. My problem is this: Many of the people blasting Russell for this are the same people who were okay with Donald Sterling’s tapes being revealed and Brandon Eich’s personal donations being made public. This is both inconsistent and hypocritical, but I expect no less from ragers on the internet and blockheads in the media.
A while ago, I wrote about how it seems that Calvinists cannot consistently claim that God is all-loving in their system, which at least some Calvinists agree with. I posted an online comment from a Calvinist to illustrate this, and also noted in passing that he utilized the author analogy to remove moral responsibility from God: Just like authors aren’t held accountable for writing characters that get raped and murdered, it makes no sense to pin evil on God, who is the author of creation. I have seen this analogy several times, including recently where the poster stated that blaming God for horrific evils that he causes is like blaming Shakespeare for Claudius’ betrayal in Hamlet. Since nobody thinks Shakespeare is guilty for Claudius’ sin even though Shakespeare wrote Claudius in that manner, it is equally silly to think that God is implicated in sin and evil even though he is the cause of it all.
It is important to review why this argument is even necessary: An all-determining and all-causing view of God’s sovereignty is foundational for classical Reformed theology, which leads to the idea that God causes evil. Many Reformed theologians shrink from this and try to say that God only allows evil but doesn’t directly cause it, but as I have argued before, this option is not legitimately available to them and certainly wasn’t an option that Calvin himself thought highly of in his Institutes. Those who are a bit more consistent bite the bullet and say that God indeed unilaterally causes sin and evil, so then this author analogy becomes relevant to them: Because God is the Author of everything, he can do whatever he pleases with his “novel” and that does not impugn his goodness. The “God as Author” analogy is very common among Christians who merely want to affirm that God is the Creator, but here, it is used very specifically as a way to show that God can be the cause of evil but remain blameless.
This seems straightforward, but a little digging shows that this analogy is very inadequate. All analogies break down at some point, as many people often simplistically intone, but that doesn’t mean analogies cannot be evaluated for their usefulness and accuracy, and in my estimation, this one falls way short.