Author Greg Koukl
Published on 08/14/2017

Is God Unfair?

Greg offers his perspective on the fairness of God.


You know Americans have a very refined sense of fair treatment. In their view, everybody’s gotta get exactly the same or it just ain’t fair. And then, when they become Christians, or when they think about Christianity, they want to transfer that notion to God. And they think well God has got to treat everyone equally in order for Him to be fair. I don’t think fairness is a value that is part of the divine character. Okay? Nor, need it be. In fact, I don’t think it’s even required of us.

Look it, if you do a buddy a favor, or even somebody you don’t know a favor, do you have some kind of moral obligation to do everybody who comes along the exact same favor? No. I think you have a sense that your favor can be given freely as you will which is why it’s called “your favor” and not “your obligation.” You’re not obliged to treat everyone exactly the same. And God is in the same circumstance and I actually know this for a fact because Jesus told a parable that made precisely this point. You might recall about the workers that came in at different times during the day and one person came in early in the day, another person came in right at the end of the day and did very little work but got paid the same as the person who worked all day long. And of course, the person who worked all day long complained that that’s not fair. And Jesus said this, essentially, “Can’t I do what I want with what is mine? Didn’t I pay you what we agreed to pay you? Are you bothered now because I am generous to someone else?”

The lesson here is that God can do what He wants with His generosity. His grace, His kindness, His love, His forgiveness, His mercy is all an element of His generosity and there is no obligation on God’s part at all. Rather, He gives as He wills according to the kind intention of His will as Paul put it in Ephesians chapter 1. That’s what grace is. Undeserved, unrequired, unmerited favor of God.