Revelation 18: 5-6: Answering Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati

Is it just on the part of God to punish double for the wicked acts?

Those sentences which are colored in orange are from Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati book Satyarth Prakash (The Light of Truth) and those which are colored in black are Jerry Thomas’s response.

"…God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works." (18:5, 6.)

C. Now, clearly the Christian God is unjust, for justice consists in awarding reward or punishment in accordance with the nature or extent on one's deeds, virtues or sins; it is unjust to inflict punishment or bestow happiness out of proportion to one's deeds. Why should not they who worship an unjust God, be themselves unjust?

Answer: As usual Maharishi quotes only the partial verse. Let us quote the complete verse to understand the sense in which this is written.

Revelation 18: 5- 8 “For her sins have reached to heaven and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her JUST AS she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, IN THE SAME MEASURE give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, 'I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.'  Therefore her plagues will come in one day–death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her. 

The words that have been used are:

(a) Render her just as she rendered
(b) Repay her double
(c) Mix double for her
(d) In the same measure give her

If one were a peripheral reader, these two sets of words might sound like contradictory. However, when one carefully examines the retributive justice system of the Holy Bible or constitutions of other enlightened democratic nations’ one would see that the punishment or payment is double or even more for a criminal. This is to discourage others from following the criminal activities seeing that the punishment far exceeds the benefits of doing criminal activities. That in fact is the idea behind retributive justice.

Exodus 22:1- "If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall restore five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep”. 

Exodus 22:4 – “If the theft is certainly found alive in his hand, whether it is an ox or donkey or sheep, he shall restore double”. 

If the loss does not exceed the benefits of being a criminal, then retributive justice system will not have deterrence effect. So, the above passage in the Revelation is of retributive justice. However, the Babylon is not punished for the sins that it did not commit which would have been contrary to the justice of God.

It was Maharishi’s ignorance of retributive justice that made him to blindly criticize the Holy Bible.

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