How can we reconcile a good and righteous God with the terrible acts in the bible?
An ambassador is sometimes required to tell lies for his country. But is an ambassador for Christ required to do likewise for the Lord? Certainly not! However, you might be mistaken if you listen to many of the falsehoods propagated in the churches about the gospel of the kingdom of God.
Jesus is the Truth. The gospel is the gospel of truth. Nevertheless, many people feel an effective way to promote the gospel is by telling lies.
They make promises on God’s behalf that He never made. They say, without Christ there is crisis, implying falsely that the Christian life is crisis-free. They make financial wealth an object of the gospel. They insist God is out to make all Christians billionaires, provided they first give their hard-earned monies as tithes to the churches.
But the worst lies of all are those told about God. These lies are told by Christians who reject the knowledge of God and who create God in their image. God says: “I have kept quiet while you did these things, so you thought I was just like you.” (Psalm 50:21).
However, it is important never to forget that: “God is not a man.” (Numbers 23:19).
A popular refrain in the churches says: “God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good.” But is this true? Does God Himself claim to be good all the time? Clearly, God is not good in the way that men define goodness.
Because we insist foolishly that God is good all the time: “We call the proud blessed, for those who do wickedness are raised up; they even tempt God and go free.” (Malachi 3:15).
The psalmist says: “As for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no pangs in their death, but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, nor are they plagued like other men. (Psalm 73:2-5).
However, the counsel of God says: “I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men who are settled in complacency, who say in their heart, ‘the Lord will not do good, nor will He do evil.’” (Zephaniah 1:12).
In many respects, many of the actions of God in the Old Testament do not conform to human standards of goodness. God Himself warns us, saying: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
If God were to be good all the time according to man, the righteous would not die in an accident. Evil men will not prosper. Jesus would not be despised and hated by men. He would not be: “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel,” and “a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 8:14).
For example, in the Old Testament, no case was made against incest. The daughters of Lot had sex with their father and had children with him. (Genesis 19:33-36). Their action and pregnancy could only have happened by the determinate counsel of God.
The law not only discriminated against women, it considered them less valuable than men: “When a man consecrates by a vow certain persons to the Lord, according to your valuation, if your valuation is of a male from twenty years old up to sixty years old, then your valuation shall be fifty shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary. If it is a female, then your valuation shall be thirty shekels.” (Leviticus 27:2-4).
The rape of virgins was condoned. Moses directed Israel concerning Moab: “Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man intimately. But keep alive for yourselves all the young girls who have not known a man intimately.” (Numbers 31:17-18).
After decimating Benjamin with an oath not to give their daughters in marriage to them, the men of Israel kidnapped 400 virgins of Jabesh Gilead. (Judges 21:10-12).
God also sanctioned discrimination against the handicapped: “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to Aaron, saying: ‘No man of your descendants in succeeding generations, who has any defect, may approach to offer the bread of his God.’” (Leviticus 21:16-17).
The Law of Moses approves slavery: “From the nations that are around you, from them you may buy male and female slaves.” (Leviticus 25:44-46).
It even approves the selling of children: “If a man sells his daughter to be a female slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.” (Exodus 21:7).
God passed a death sentence on most transgressions. The killing of witches was divinely approved: “You shall not permit a sorceress to live.” (Exodus 22:18). He told the Israelites to stone anyone who worshipped the sun, moon, or host of Heaven. (Deuteronomy 17:2-7).
Mass slaughter was sanctioned as punishment for unfaithfulness to God: “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.’” (Exodus 32:27-28).
When a man was arrested for gathering sticks on the Sabbath day, God told Moses: “The man must surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” (Numbers 15:35).
God prescribed genocide for those whose land He forcibly gave to the Israelites: “Of the cities of these peoples which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive, but you shall utterly destroy them.” (Deuteronomy 20:16-17).
Children were slaughtered, while livestock were spared. (Deuteronomy 3:6-7).
The Bible even details an example of cannibalism: “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ So we boiled my son, and ate him. And I said to her on the next day, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him’; but she has hidden her son.” (2 Kings 6:28-29).
The question then is this: “How can we reconcile a good and righteous God with these terrible acts?” Unlike Christian apologists, God does not whitewash them. Instead, He claims full responsibility saying: “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7).
Amos concurs: “If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?” (Amos 3:6).
“But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; and the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; and the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?” (Job 12:7-10). CONTINUED.
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