The Walking Dead, Common Grace & Hell: Why Aren’t Things Worse?

As bad as life is for our heroes on The Walking Dead, could things be worse?

**Spoiler Alert: This article speaks about The Walking Dead TV series in general, mentioning briefly some events in Seasons 4 & 5.**

Other GFTM articles on The Walking Dead:

The Walking Dead & Unrestrained Evil

The Walking Dead & God’s Innate Moral Law

The Walking Dead, Lost Hope & God’s Providence



Often, when I’m watching The Walking Dead, the following thought comes to mind:

Well, things could be worse.

And I don’t mean for the characters. I mean for the real world. As bad as things are – or can be – or have been – the characters on The Walking Dead certainly have it worse than the majority of us.

Americans, even those considered disadvantaged in the U.S., are much better off than most of the world. Let’s be honest, many of the issues we struggle with in the U.S. are what have been popularly (and accurately) called “First-World Problems.” Please understand I’m not trying to downplay anyone’s real struggles, but – if you’ll allow me to state the starkly obvious – things would certainly be much worse for those in the U.S. and other privileged countries if a zombie outbreak erupted.

But, it can be argued, even those in poor countries have it better than The Walking Dead characters. For instance, the poor often have to struggle just to acquire food; the characters on The Walking Dead have to struggle to acquire food and avoid becoming food by equally hungry zombies. So, it could be said to those in the Third World – the Global South – Hey, things could be worse.

The only situation where the world of The Walking Dead might be preferred over real life is in the most extreme situations, where human evil and oppression is at its worse or a land continually ravaged by war or — as often is the case — both. (It’s interesting to watch our Walking Dead heroes’ difficulty at adjusting to domestic life in Alexandria, showing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder like so many soldiers returning home from war.)

As we talked about in earlier articles, the threat from the living in The Walking Dead is worse than the threat from the mindless dead. Often the evil of the other living humans that our heroes encounter is on the same plane as the evil of Pol Pot, Stalin, and Hitler. After all, the treatment of people in places like Terminus – including being imprisoned in miserable conditions and having their throats systematical cut in a literal human slaughterhouse – is not unlike what one would experience at the hands of Nazis or ISIS.

But still, why aren’t things worse?

I’m not trying to be flippant about suffering at the hands of evil. Where it’s difficult to think of any situation of individual suffering being worse than, say, being starved and tortured in a concentration camp or scourged, pierced with nails, hung on a cross, and left to die, the question I’m asking is,

Why aren’t things worse overall, throughout the whole world?

Yes, pockets of incredible evil and suffering no doubt exist (and have existed) throughout the world, but it would be inaccurate to say such suffering exists everywhere at all times.

In other GFTM articles about The Walking Dead, we’ve spoken about how God restrains evil through the establishment of government and innate moral law. Further, in the last GTFM Walking Dead article, we spoke about God’s providence over his creation, that God didn’t just create the universe and now has nothing to do with it, but that he’s actively involved in sustaining and preserving it. Through Jesus Christ, God the Son, “all things hold together” (Col.1:17), and “he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Heb.1:3).

Simply, this means if God withdrew from his active involvement, things would without-a-doubt be worse. In fact, as funny as it sounds, after fighting tooth-and-nail through a swarm of zombies and barely escaping alive, Rick Grimes could release a deep breath and say, “Well, things could be worse”— and he’d be right.



Accuse me of simplifying things, but let’s think of it this way: the more God withdraws, the worse things get. Now, let me really over-simplify things: Let’s break the idea of God’s withdraw into 3 possible levels of withdraw to illustrate — the higher the number, the more God withdraws:

LEVEL 1: God withdraws and allows evil and suffering.

LEVEL 2: God withdraws and all life dies.

LEVEL 3: God withdraws and everything ceases to exist.

Level 1 requires the most explanation, so let’s start with Level 2. If God sustains all things, he could simply cease to do so and life would end. Perhaps all vegetation dies, leading to mass starvation; perhaps the sun burns out; perhaps oxygen ceases to be oxygen; or perhaps our hearts simply stop pumping.

Next, let’s not jump right to Level 3 in this thought experiment. Let’s go to Level 2.5. Perhaps gravity stops working and we all float out into lifeless space. Perhaps the planets reel out of their orbits and collide.

Now, at “Level 3,” if God completely ended his active involvement, all that he has created would simply cease to exist. Much like God created everything out of nothing, everything would return to nothing.

Level 1 is what we experience today. For a deeper discussion of why there is evil and suffering in the world, read an earlier GFTM article called “Disasters, Disease, & Death — Why is there Natural Suffering?” But to keep it quick and simple here, we should note that the Bible confirms both God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. Suffering and evil is due to human sin, which God allows. Why does he allow it? One possible answer is love cannot exist without freewill. Logically, with the freewill to love comes the freewill to do evil. Further, due to sin, a curse weighs on all of creation, which leads to natural disasters, diseases, and death.



But we can’t talk about all this without mentioning God’s mercy and what theologians call God’s common grace. Since I wrote about common grace before in the article mentioned above, I hope you don’t mind if I lazily quote myself:

Common grace is the doctrine that due to sin, the world should be much worse than it is, yet God shows mercy and allows us to still enjoy the good things of this earth he created.

Common grace means even nonbelievers benefit from God’s good creation and mercy, which can include everything from their innate sense of morals, to meaningful relationships, to the beauty of nature, to food, music, and sex. The difference though between the believer and nonbeliever is that the believer recognizes these good things are from God and they worship the Creator instead of the creation.

Concerning God’s mercy, we see it in the Bible even when the world was first plunged into the curse due to sin: Adam and Eve were warned that the outcome of sin is death (both physically and spiritually), and though death is now a normal part of life, God didn’t kill them immediately. Moreover, even when God kicked them out of the garden, he showed the lovingness of a Father by making them clothes from animal skins (Genesis 3:21).

The Bible goes on to tell the story of the continuing corruption of God’s good creation by man’s sinfulness, yet throughout we see God showing mercy. Even when he destroys most of mankind with the flood, he spares Noah and his family; even when he allows sinful Israel to be taken into captivity by Babylon, he preserves a remnant. And this brings us right back to common grace. If God withdrew all of his blessings from us, the world would be a much more horrible place (whether because of human evil or natural catastrophe) or just a desolate, lifeless rock floating in space — or, most likely, nothing would exist at all.


God is not obligated to do anything for us. He gave us our very lives, which he didn’t have to do. All good things we experience are blessings from him (James 1:17). When he withdraws blessings, we experience suffering.

We see this continually in the Old Testament with God and Israel. God blessed Israel in many ways, making them his own people to represent him on earth, yet when Israel turns away from him, breaking the covenant they made with God, God withdraws his blessings, allowing pagan nations to harm, even conquer, Israel. It should be noted that God didn’t cause the evil actions of the pagan nations, but he willingly removed his protection from Israel and allowed the pagan nations to follow their own sinful desires.

The situations of God’s withdraw from ancient Israel may have been to different degrees or for different lengths of time, but God often preserved Israel, and this was due wholly to God’s mercy and grace. He was within his rights to fully and completely withdraw his blessings.



This withdraw of God’s blessing is foreshadowing hell. The Bible gives little details about hell, and most peoples’ ideas about hell aren’t based on the Bible but the medieval epic poem Inferno from Dante’s Divine Comedy, whether they realize that or not. There are no descriptions in the Bible of demons torturing people in hell, but Jesus is clear that hell is a place where no one wants to be. He calls it a place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt.13:42; Luke 13:28).

Since God is omnipresent, we know that God is not absent from hell in a sense, but hell is clearly a place where God’s blessings are absent. In hell, God has totally withdrawn his blessings. Whatever other characteristics hell has, this we can be sure of.

As we discussed in earlier GFTM Walking Dead articles, once government is removed from practicing law, order, and justice, chaos and evil are free to reign. Further, in hell, there will no longer be a sense of coming divine judgment to curb evil. The innate sense of morals we have will finally be completely deadened. In hell, those there will be unrestrained to follow their evil desires. It will be every person for himself; a land of absolute autonomy, which means a land of absolute selfishness.

(Often people protest against the doctrine of hell, saying it’s unjust for God to infinitely punish finite sins. Why do people assume sinning will stop in hell?)

Admittedly, some of my portrayal of hell may be mistaken, but I’m sure of this: In hell, all of God’s blessings will be entirely removed, and even without horned demons, pitchforks, and medieval torture racks, this idea is utterly terrifying.

NEXT: Who are the walking dead? We are.

Other GFTM articles on The Walking Dead:

The Walking Dead & Unrestrained Evil

The Walking Dead & God’s Innate Moral Law

The Walking Dead, Lost Hope & God’s Providence

Dante Illuminating Florence with his Poemk, by Domenico di Michelino


The Joy & Angst of Four Gospels – Part 6 – Narrative Creativity: Telescoping & Compressing

Can literary creativity explain differences in the Gospels? Did ancient authors present the passage of time differently than writers today?

SERIES INTRO: Often skeptics point to differences in the four Gospels of Jesus Christ and claim they are contradictions. This series will cover some general principles that you can use when you do come across a Gospel difference. By using these principles, many of these perceived differences can be easily explained. On the other hand, this series is not simply to defend the Gospels, but to positively show that having four Gospels brings our understanding of the life and work of Jesus Christ deeper than any one piece of writing can do.

** Read Part 1 HERE: Differences or Contradictions? **

** Read Part 2 HERE: Basic Principles: Understanding the Gospels as Literature, History & Theology **

**Read Part 3 HEREDealing with Differences in Jesus’ Words**

**Read Part 4 HERE: The Gospels as Ancient Biography & History & “Narrative Creativity”**

**Read Part 5 HERENarrative Creativity: Selective Representation & Chronology**


In previous articles, we looked at the “Narrative Creativity” of the Gospels, which means the Gospel writers used narrative freedom within a factual framework. This is seen in other ancient histories and biographies and include some shared characteristics:

  1. Selective Details
  2. Selective Representation
  3. Selective Chronology
  4. Selective Telescoping & Compressing
  5. (And Knowing some History & Culture Helps)

In this article, we will look at #4 & #5:

(4) Selective Telescoping & Compressing

Do this: Think about telling a story to a friend about something that happened to you that would take at least 5 minutes to tell. Now, imagine telling the same story if you only had 10 seconds. What details would you take out? How would you tell the story differently?

This idea helps us to understand what’s called telescoping (or compression) and why we see some variations in the same events written about by different Gospel writers. Simply, telescoping/compressing means telling a shortened version of an event with selective information.

Sometimes the Gospel writers (and other ancient writers) varied story length, shortening or lengthening the same episode like a telescope. Some of the writers give a fully extended version of the story, while other writers shortened their version, compressing it like a telescope. When compressing, the author may take “shortcuts” in telling the story by omitting information.[1]



The Centurion’s Dying Servant[2]

Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10

Matthew — Matthew gives us the shorter version of the event. Here, the centurion appears to have come in person to Jesus.

Luke — In Luke, we have the longer account. Here, with all the details included, we see the centurion actually sent elders and friends to Jesus.

Matthew is the compressed version and cuts out the elders and friends.

This also brings us back to the last article and selective representation: In ancient writing, sometimes only the most prominent person involved is mentioned, and since a messenger or servant represents the one who sent him, the messenger or servant is often not mentioned. Frankly, including the elders and friends is not essential to the main point or action of the narrative.

In the situation with the centurion, Matthew shortened the account by cutting out the elders and friends. Admittedly, this does seem odd to us today with a nonfictional narrative, but this is similar to shortening the statement, “Jack wanted to ask his teacher for an extension on his assignment, so he asked his brother to give a message to his teacher, and later he asked his friend to pass a letter from him on to the same teacher about the same assignment” to “Jack asked his teacher for an extension on his assignment.”



The Cursing of the Fig Tree[3]

Matthew 21:17-22; Mark 11:11-15, 19-25.

Matthew — Jesus curses the fig tree. The withering of the tree appears to happen immediately after the curing.

Mark — Jesus curses the fig tree, but the withering happens much later after Jesus and the disciples have moved on; they don’t notice it until after the cleansing of the Temple.

As we have seen throughout the examples provided in this series, Matthew regularly shortens his telling of the events. Matthew decided to tell the two parts of the story side-by-side, instead of separating the curing and withering of the fig tree with the cleansing of the Temple between them. As we have seen throughout this series, Matthew tends to group things according to thematic reasons.

Problem: Matthew says the fig tree “withered at once”! But the original Greek has variation in meaning.[4] It likely means the fig tree started to wither immediately but gradually without the disciples’ perception until they saw it again later.


(5) Knowing some History & Culture Helps.

Finally, sometimes simply knowing a little historical and cultural background solves the problem easily — as we saw how knowing the nuances of the original Greek helped with the problem immediately above.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Places and people may have been known by more than one name, especially when translated in a multi-linguistic area.[5]
  • Archeological discoveries have brought many former challenges in the Bible to light.[6]
  • The nuances of the original Greek may be lost in the English translation.
  • Numbers may be rounded up or down.[7]
  • A good study Bible will help with many of these issues.


EXAMPLE: Where did Jesus heal the blind man at Jericho?

Luke 18:35 – Jesus healed a blind man as he was going into Jericho.

Mark 10:46 – In telling of the same event, Mark says Jesus healed a blind man as he was leaving Jericho.

Dr. John McRay, a professor of New Testament and archeology, explains in an interview with Lee Strobel in The Case for Christ, “Jericho was in at least four different locations as much as a quarter of a mile apart in ancient times. The city was destroyed and resettled near another water supply or a new road or nearer a mountain or whatever. The point is, you can be coming out of one site where Jericho existed and be going into another one, like moving from one part of suburban Chicago to another part of suburban Chicago… Jesus could have been going out of one area of Jericho and into another at the same time.”[8]

To conclude this section on narrative creativity, it’s important to point out again that in oral cultures, even with historical material, the teller of the historical story has “flexibility in terms of the placement, order, and length” of episodes within the historical framework based upon “purpose, context, and time constraints.”[9]

As we would expect, the four Gospels have a “general uniformity” but also a “flexibility,” and “while we find the same general portrait of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels, we also find remarkable variations in what each specific portrait includes and excludes, as well as in the order and specific form of the material that constitutes each portrait.”[10]

NEXTPositive evidence: Differences? What about the similarities?!



** Read Part 1 HERE: Differences or Contradictions? **

** Read Part 2 HERE: Basic Principles: Understanding the Gospels as Literature, History & Theology **

**Read Part 3 HEREDealing with Differences in Jesus’ Words**

**Read Part 4 HERE: The Gospels as Ancient Biography & History & “Narrative Creativity”**

**Read Part 5 HERE: Narrative Creativity: Selective Representation & Chronology**

*All books cited below are highly recommended!*

[1] Vern Sheridan Poythress, Inerrancy and the Gospels, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 71.

[2] Ibid., 17-24.

[3] Ibid., 144-148.

[4] Ibid.,147.

[5] Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 48.

[6] Ibid., 97-99.

[7] Poythress, 58.

[8] Strobel, 98.

[9] Paul Rhodes Eddy and Gregory A. Boyd, The Jesus Legend, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), 254.

[10] Ibid.


The Walking Dead, Lost Hope & God’s Providence

Can a fictional TV show cause lose of hope in real viewers? Who are the real walking dead? Why does the sun rise everyday?


Other GFTM articles on The Walking Dead:

The Walking Dead & Unrestrained Evil

The Walking Dead & God’s Innate Moral Law

***SPOILER ALERT: This article speaks about The Walking Dead series in general, but focuses mostly on Season 5, Episode 10.***


Can a Fictional TV Show Cause Real Lose of Real Hope in Real Viewers?

In an on-going story about a zombie apocalypse, where the characters are surrounded by the bleak reality that much of the world is dead, much of the remaining living have embraced evil and brutality, and much of the personal bonds our heroes form with others are snuffed out by death faster than you can shout, “Carl!” in a southern accent, hopelessness is inevitable.

In fact, I image one of the hardest parts of writing a series like The Walking Dead is keeping the tension going without the audience, not just the characters, loosing all hope.

I know of at least one friend whose wife refuses to watch the show anymore because she said it was simply too depressing. With a story concept like The Walking Dead, writing conflict into the script isn’t the challenge; the challenge is keeping the audience from being overcome by the bleakness.

Because, let’s face it, if there will ever be a TV show in history that loses viewers because they’ve grown too hopeless to continue watching, it’s The Walking Dead.

The only way to keep the audience (and characters) from plunging into an abyss of depression is to occasionally have an episode where some hope – no matter how small – breaks into an otherwise desolate desert of despair. When thinking about this, I can’t help but think about Episode 10 of Season 5, titled “Them.”


Religious Undertones on Secular TV

The episode begins – like so many episodes – with the characters reeling from more deaths in their group. This time it’s the death of Tyreese and Beth, and understandably the two characters most affected by those deaths are the sisters of the deceased, Sasha and Maggie. What makes this episode unusual are the religious undertones.

Maggie’s father Hershel was open about his Christian faith, but the living – not the undead – needlessly killed him, like his youngest daughter Beth. Whatever amount of faith Maggie had she clearly renounces it in this episode. She tells Father Gabriel, “My daddy used to be religious. I used to be.”

Father Gabriel tries to reach out to Maggie, offering to be a sympathetic ear, but Maggie rips into him for failing miserably in doing one of the main things a shepherd is to do: protect his flock. (Could Maggie be taking her anger at God out on the one character left that represents God in some way?)

Later, Father Gabriel, utterly defeated, throws his priest’s collar into a fire. Does this action mean he is denouncing his work as a man of God or is he denouncing his faith all together, like Maggie?

But if Father Gabriel did, in fact, denounce his faith at that moment, it’s not long before he embraces it again. As the group is struggling desperately with thirst, it begins to rain. Based on the expressions on some of their faces, you can almost hear thoughts asking: Is some higher power looking out for us?

There is no doubt this is what Father Gabriel is thinking, because he says, looking up into the falling rain, “I’m sorry, my Lord.” He recognizes that all good things come from God (James 1:17). But not so fast — what could be life-giving rainfall abruptly changes into a dangerous thunderstorm!

The group seeks shelter in an old barn. As soon as they enter the barn, Maggie spots a much too conveniently-placed Holy Bible. They also find a woman who has become a zombie. Maggie and Carol note that the woman had a gun and could’ve shot herself before dying and becoming a zombie. Carol says, “Some people can’t give up.”

So, the lady in the barn with a Bible didn’t give up hope like so many others they have encountered; is this what the writers of a secular, horror-based TV show were really trying to say? (Or am I over-thinking things as us English teachers are trained to do?)


Are We the Walking Dead or Not?

The overarching question of the episode appears to be: Will the characters lose hope and give up or continue on?

Later, Rick says something interesting; he says, “…we are the walking dead.” But Daryl vehemently refuses this idea. “We ain’t them. We are not them,” he says. Now, Rick explains what he means by this, but it appears they’re both thinking in different ways about the comment. (More thoughts about this in the next article.)

But it’s not long before the internal conflicts within the characters are played out: Daryl discovers walkers – a lot of them! – trying to stroll right into the barn. He slams the doors shut and pushes up against the door to hold them back. But our heroes don’t despair; they don’t huddle into balls and mourn, waiting for death. They, instead, rush to help Daryl brace the doors. United, they all push against the onslaught of the dead as lightning fills the sky. The symbolism is clear: They will continue to rage against the dying of the light. They will not join the dead.

The scene cuts to morning. The sun is bright. The rain has stopped. Our heroes are alive; most are sleeping. Maggie and Sasha exit the barn to find many walkers crushed by fallen trees or ripped apart by the storm. Is there a suggestion of divine protection here? After all, the first thing they saw as they entered the barn was a Bible. Was the storm, in fact, a blessing in disguise, which saved them from the coming zombie horde? Did a divine hand protect the barn?

Sasha says, “Look at this. Should’ve torn us apart.” Maggie replies, “It didn’t” – some dialogue with clear double-meaning.


The Sun Always Rises

Maggie and Sasha proceed to watch the sunrise, a universal sign of hope. No matter how bad things are, the sun always rises. But why does it always rise? The sunrise not only reminds us of the beauty of God’s creation, but it also reminds us of God’s unchanging nature and divine care for his creation.

First, the writers of the Bible teach not only that God made all of creation, but that all know of him because of his creation:


The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.

(Psalm 19:1–2)

 (Also see Romans 1:18-20, which we looked at in the previous Walking Dead GFTM article.)

Secondly, God preserves all of his creation:


You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. (Nehemiah 9:6)


God’s promise to sustain his creation and preserve life can be traced as far back to immediately after he destroyed much of life on Earth with the Flood:


…the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:21-22)


Theologian Wayne Grudem calls this God’s preservation, which is part of God’s providence over his creation. He explains it as “God keeps all created things existing and maintaining the properties with which he created them” with “active, purposeful control.” He writes, “God, in preserving all things he had made, also causes them to maintain the properties with which he created them,” and if God didn’t do this, then “all except the triune God would instantly cease to exist.” (Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, Zondervan, 1994 P.316)

What makes Christians unique from other faiths is Christians also believe God has made himself known through his Son. Along with the Holy Spirit, this Son has existed with God eternally. In fact, this Son, who came in the flesh as Jesus of Nazareth, is God. Here, we have the unique Christian belief of the Trinitarian nature of God: three distinct, coequal, coeternal personal beings all sharing the one divine nature.

The New Testament teaches us all things were created through God the Son, and not only that, but all things are sustained through the Son and all life is preserved by him. In John 1, where John refers to the Son as “the Word,” we see the Trinitarian connection between the Father and Son, as well as the Son’s role in creation:


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4)


God, though separate from his creation, is intimately involved in sustaining and preserving it. This attribute of God the Father is shared by God the Son:


He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)


Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. (Hebrews 1:1-3)


Clearly, the Bible does not teach Deism; God didn’t create the universe, wind it up like an old watch, and now he just sits back and lets it tick. Even if we remove all instances recorded in both the Old and New Testaments of God breaking into history, such as during the Exodus or the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Bible still clearly teaches that God is not a “hands off” deity.

Further, because the creation accounts in Genesis shows God is a God of order, and because of the Christian belief of a God who sustains the order of the universe, Christianity gave rise to modern science. The Christian worldview accounts for the immaterial laws of nature and the constants of the universe. The worldview of pagan and pantheistic religions do not lend themselves to the ideas of modern science. In fact, neither does naturalism; a theory based on a premise of materialism and random chance doesn’t give us the idea of consistency in nature needed to do science. The concepts taught in the Bible do.

(I realize everything I just stated in the above paragraph is extremely controversial; this article, “Why Christianity is the Worldview that Best Supports Science,” gives a good overview of the argument or watch this 10-minute video of Dr. Greg Bahnsen that touches on some of it.)

No matter how bad things get – in real life or in a fictional TV show – we can be sure the sun will rise. We can be secure in our knowledge that God will sustain us.

Blessed be the name of the Lord
    from this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting,
    the name of the Lord is to be praised!

(Psalm 113:2-3)

Now, the questions are: Why aren’t things worse? And: Was Rick right – are we the walking dead? We’ll explore these questions NEXT

Other GFTM articles on The Walking Dead:

The Walking Dead & Unrestrained Evil

The Walking Dead & God’s Innate Moral Law