I've been arguing with an atheist on this blog about God's inability to commit murder. He doesn't seem to grasp my argument, so I'm going to try here one more time to display the distinction in what I'm saying.
He think that I'm saying the following:
Murder is wrong for people to do, but since God has authority, He can do whatever He wants. Hence, it's OK for God to murder.
That, of course, is appealing to authority as the justification of something immoral. That's not my argument. My argument is that God cannot commit murder in the first place, precisely because He has the authority over life and death.
I realize, of course, why this atheist is confused, but I've explained it a number of times. However, here's why he cannot say that I'm saying the former argument while making the latter.
A police officer has the authority to wear his badge and present himself as a police officer to the public, but if I wear a badge and impersonate a police officer, I'm committing a crime and can go to jail for it.
Now, if I were to argue as this lad, I would just complain as he does against God, "Why is it OK for the police officer to commit the crime of acting like a police officer, but it's wrong for me to do so. That must be an appeal to authority. You're just saying that it's OK for him to commit this crime because he's a police officer, but not for me because I'm not a police officer.
Notice the fallacy here. The person is assuming that the authority of the officer to commit a crime comes from his authority, but that isn't the case. The fact is that the authority of the officer dictates that he cannot commit the crime in the first place, precisely because he is a police officer. He has the right and authority to do X, so X is not a crime for him. It is only a crime for those who do not have the authority to do X.
The same goes for my ability to trespass on my own land. A stranger can come trespass on my land, get arrested, and then make his argument to the judge as this atheist has toward God by saying, "Why is it OK for the owner to walk on his own land but it's wrong for me to do so. Why can he commit the crime of trespassing because he owns the land and I cannot because I don't own it?
But again, the fact of the matter is, the position of the landowner makes it impossible for him to commit the crime of trespassing on his own land in the first place. It's not a matter of it being that the landowner has more privilege to commit crimes. It has to do with what is a crime in the first place in relation to beings when it comes to their own property.
Hence, when one says that God cannot murder because He owns all life, and murder is the usurping of God's authority, that isn't an appeal to authority that says that God can commit the crime of murder because He's God. It's saying that God cannot commit the crime of murder in the first place, precisely, because God cannot usurp His own authority over life and death. So my whole point is that God is perfect and doesn't commit crimes, not because everything a being with power might do makes it acceptable even if it's a crime, but because certain rights and authority belong to God so that it is impossible for Him to commit the crime in the first place, since the crime is defined by somehow trespassing on His property and usurping His authority.
Hopefully that distinction is clear now to anyone who may have misunderstood before.