Is God a Moral Monster? (An Interview with Paul Copan) By lofradio Mar 1, 2011 / 43 Comments Tweet https://thelineoffire.org/shows/line_of_fire_03_01_11_hr1.mp3 [Download MP3] Paul’s Book: Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God Paul Copan’s Website
I totally disagree with today’s guest. When one water downs the Word of God, you destroy the truthfulness of it. Along with losing the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom, this watering down of the Bible makes it easier for one to turn from obeying God’s commandments. That’s exactly the problem we have in today’s society. To me, Mr. Paul Copan looks like a wolf in sheep clothing!
Pamela, perhaps you can disagree with someone’s interpretation of scripture without branding that person a wolf in sheep’s clothing? That, indeed, is a very serious charge, especially against someone who deeply wants to draw people to the Word of God and the God of the Word.
Good show today Dr. Brown! Very interesting. I know there are many who struggle with some of the passages of the OT and they need legitimate truthful answers.
I guess I’m like you Dr. Brown that I don’t really ever struggle with any of these things (thank God). God EVERYDAY reveals His goodness, righteousness,holiness, love, grace, mercy, etc, etc. I refuse to even accept for a second that God is capable of any type of evil. The thought doesn’t even seriously cross my mind. I understand
that many Christians need answers for these questions and I’m looking forward to future shows addressing these passages in scripture that give some Christians trouble.
One thing that I’d mention to the struggling Christian is that Jesus speaks of this supposedly “different, more harsh” God of the OT many times and speaks of his holiness and goodness. He even equates himself with Him! This is something that definitely needs to be kept in mind. I honestly believe a clear and faithful reading of all the biblical text will reveal that the God of the OT and NT are the very same God, and that nothing has changed.
Could you explain what you disagree with specifically? What was it that Mr. Copan said that is making him a possible candidate for being a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” that we should warn other Christians about?
To me the title of Paul Capon’s new book called “Is God a Moral Monster” is a wrong title.
How can anyone who truly know God call Him a monster? That is cruel. To call God a monster or to ask if He is one is not good.
You should not mess with the Lord. It shows no respect to the Lord. Just because the Lord was strict in the OT, doesn’t mean you should question if He is a monster. Show the Creator of this world respect.
God is not Satan. Satan is the monster not the Lord.
Don’t throw a egg at the Lord’s face just to get laughs from folks. Then when you are alone w/o the crowd wipe off the egg off the Lord’s face.
The Lord will not be Mocked or should not be mocked.
Be Holy for I am Holy saith the Lord.
Wow. That was a great show, and my Kindle will have a new book soon. My only complaint is that it was too short. I could have listened to that for a couple of more hours.
I really appreciated the genuine responses to the new atheists perspectives. This book sounds like a study and not a read.
Dr. Brown, your advice on really listening to the other perspective was priceless. Please accept this e-high five for encouraging us to pursue intellectual answers. It is so necessary. Shallow responses and bumper sticker theology must go.
One additional thing that I am in the process of learning is that God can handle my questions, anger, and disappointment. I believe that He would rather have His child bring these to their Father than to hide them. (It is not like He is unaware.) I think He appreciates the honesty, and it deepens our relationship.
Debbie, the title of the book is not a statement. It is a question. He is responding to the attacks of the new atheists. It is an engaging title, and one that will capture the attention of both Christians and non-Christians. He does not call God a moral monster.
EDH, do you think Ananias and Sapphira are examples of the continuity of the OT and NT?
Hi,i am only an outsider who studies Holy Scripture – that said,here’s a comment.
Michael Brown is familiar with David Pawson – indeed,Michael has refered to a book by David on OSAS in his own book ‘ Go and sin no more’ and has a link on this website to David’s book on the end times -‘ When Jesus returns’.
One of David’s major burdens is the sentimental view of God among western belivers (let alone outsiders/unbelievers),a view which fails to look at both sides of the coin,a view perhaps,that is developed via a mix of unfamiliarity with First Covenant Scripture in tandem with mistaken notions of OSAS.
David has written a book on this problem of sentimentality among belivers entitled ‘Is John 3:16 the gospel’ (Meaning,does John 3:16 present outsiders,and insiders,with both sides of the Way,and does it give people a balanced view of the Lord God of Israel.)
David feels this sentimentality is remeniscent of ‘Marcionism’.Do get the book,it is tremendous -David is an insider with a lovely counterbalancing ministry to,and in,the Body Of Christ.
I guess that is why we are all different. Different taste for different folks.
Still think the title is a bit distasteful. But hey that is just my opinion. 🙂
Be blessed all!!!
I see nothing wrong in the title “Is God a Moral Monster?(QUESTION MARK)”
Of course, those who have a personal relationship with Jesus through The Holy Spirit would know this isn’t true.
But, that is what Atheist like Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher will argue, and in much more offensive, brash and literal kind of way.
Debbie, just remember that it’s not a statement by Mr. Paul Copan, it’s a question, and question is answered within the book. I would urge you to at least read the book, then make an informed decision.
Remember this old saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”
I would also urge you to read Dr. Brown’s Facebook, or please read below:
All of mankind is sinful and is deserving of death and destruction, period. God was under no obligation to share the Law with anyone, but did so with a chosen race, (Israel) out of his mercy and goodness. Likewise, He was under n…o obligation to make a way for us to be forgiven through repentance and faith in His Son, but did so out of his love and grace.
Look at the fallen angels. He created them, and they sinned against Him when they followed Satan in the heavenly rebellion. Scripture makes no mention that God ever made a way for them to be reconciled to him. They sinned once, and were cast from His presence forever, reserved unto judgment. And God was completely Just in doing so. He could have done the same to us, but chose not to.
He is the potter, we are the clay. We are his creation to do with as he pleases. Who are we to ask him to justify His actions?
Michael L Brown
Rob — but doesn’t God Himself establish standards of justice in His Word, along with calls for mercy, and doesn’t He expect us to act by those standards? In other words, based on what He Himself established, it could be claimed that He acted unjustly.
Dr Brown – I’m sorry, but I don’t quite see it that way. Yes He certainly does establish standards of justice in His Word, along with calls for mercy, and expects us (the wicked, sinfu,l and depraved) to obey, but that does not oblige Him (as the Holy and perfect and just rule maker) to as though He were one of us. It is every parents prerogative to set rules and regulations for wayward children for their benefit that the parent himself need not adhere to. The is no hypocrisy or injustice in that.
I agree with Rob about The Potter and the clay (Isa 29, Isa 45, Rom 9). Our Magnificent and Terrible Creator claims He has a right to exercise His Power and His Wrath and His Choice. “Who are we to criticize and contradict and answer bac…k to God?” We, as mere men, have very limited concepts of Agape, Wrath, Jealousy, Sovereignty, Holiness, Justice and other attributes.
I have not read Dr. Copan’s book, but whether or not God is a Moral Monster does not really concern me. He’s still the Potter, and we are either defiant and unworthy clay, or redeemed and unworthy clay. Glory to God — though He might be viewed through a glass darkly as a Moral Monster… He rules and reigns and is worthy of all praise.
So, here’s my question (whether or not Dr. Copan’s book lifts up / supports the Name of God): “How does it profit a man to confuse a pagan’s view of God by placing a provocative question on a book cover?
Michael L Brown
Rob, of course, I appreciate your points, and I don’t intend to get into a major discussion of them here. (In fact, this was just the place to post questions for Dr. Copan today.) But it surprises me that you see no potential moral issue with God ordering the slaughter of infants and little children in the past. Would you feel free to act on such a command today? Until we feel the weight of the moral objection, we cannot sufficiently answer it.
Michael L Brown
Gregory, as I said to Rob, I say to you: Until you feel the weight of the moral objection, you cannot sufficiently answer it. I also challenge the view presented of the Potter here by you and Rob, since the Potter tells us that He delights …in us knowing and understanding Him, specifically as the One “who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.” (Jer 9:23-24) And throughout the Scriptures, He calls us to be as He is in morality and conduct. He is our pattern and example, and when we see Jesus, we see Him
Dr Brown – If I ever catch myself having a “moral objection” to anything God ever did, or commanded, I hope I quickly come to realization that the problem lies with me, my perceptions, and my lack of wisdom and understanding, and not Him. I believe that to question Him in that way, is to assume a position of moral superiority over Him, which out of my fear of Him, is a place I dare not tread.
Michael L Brown
Rob — it appears you’re missing the point. If we are to help people who have what in their minds appear to be moral objections to the God of the Bible, we will not be able to help unless we understand their objection. I agree 100% that the…re can be no possible moral objection against God because He is the perfect One, without fault or blemish, and any fault lies on our end. I am totally with you on that, and I have never wavered from that reality over the last 40 years. But that is not the point here, and I repeat once more: Unless you can see the problem through the eyes of those who are struggling, often in sincerity, you will not be able to help them, and thus far, it appears you are not grasping the actual problem that we are trying to address.
Thank you for that clarification………I believe I better understand the issue being raised. Look forward to listening in.
I’m not trying to discourage others from buying the book. Who am I to hold any weight on anyone? I’m just a mere dot in this world.
Maybe I should not of gave my opinion.
I know the Lord doesn’t need me to protect Him. Heck, I need His protection.
Debbie, I think you missed the point made be me and Jesse. We are pointing out your misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the title. I am interested in your opinion and that of others; I just want there to be accuracy in the process.
Sorry. That should be “by me” and not “be me.”
If I was to walk into a book store and saw a book titled “Is God a Moral Monster”. Now obviously I am a Christian, I’m seeing this book, now I’m thinking …what a dumb thing to say? So I’ll just walk away. (I’m sorry :))
If a book was titled…”I am a Gay Christian”. Again I’d walk away from that book too.
Mind you both Jesse and Yvette. This is just me. Another person or Christian might find both titles of the books interesting titles and be excited to read it.
If Paul Copon is trying to reach the Atheist and his book title is speaking their language then fine. His bait or goal worked for them.
Now Dr Brown’s book coming out soon. “A Queer Thing Happened To America” To me that book title is an awesome title. Its a riot. Very humorous and a correct subject title.
I pray both Paul and Dr Brown’s book does what the Lord wants it to accomplish.
Just call me the Christian Simon Cowell. 🙂
It is written! Thus saith the Lord! These are Christ’s examples for us, and it is the only safe way to approach the Word of God. It seem to me that if the Devil cannot get you to neglect the Word of God entirely altogether, then he tries to manufacture ways to cause you to have a stony heart so that the Seed of God doesn’t taken root within you. (Luke 8:11 …The seed is the word of God.)
We have been directed to eat the body and drink the blood of Christ. (John 6:53 …Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.) How can one accomplish that if they are declaring that the plain reading of the Bible is not actually what the Bible is trying to say? I called that method of approaching the Word of God ~ Bible-twisting, and that’s what I was objecting to.
Bible-twisting where one believes partial truths along with partial errors, and it is an old demonic trick. Even Christ made a complaint about this method of approaching handling the truth. (Matthew 16:12 …he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.)
There’s either an intellectual or prophetic claim to justify the twisting of the plain reading of the Bible into another meaning. The religious denomination, I left, had a prophetic claim to justify their Bible-twisting. I was in that religious denomination for many years, and have experienced some of the end-results of their Bible-twisting. Change a little here and a little there doesn’t go without notice, and that approach acts just like leaven within bread. It will permeate one’s entire religious training, thereby, causing one NOT to be transformed by the Word of God. Then we wonder how did these people be church-going individuals all those years, and yet, act no better than someone who has had no moral guidance at all? How and why did this church transform into a one-stop shop for all the evil and immoral behaviors in the world?
Have you heard the phrase, “You are what you eat?” The process of eating and drinking the Word of God should have the effect of transforming us more into the likeness of God, but that demonic method of Bible-twisting will prevent that from happening because you are being taught to disbelieve the plain reading of the Bible instead you are led into believing a lie.
Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Thanks for the response Pamela! I definitely understand where you’re coming from. I completely understand why you have your defense up when someone is promoting something that even sounds like it may be trying to twist the words of the Bible to fit their own agenda/false teaching. Trust me, I’m the same way and I believe all Christians should have the guard up when it comes to issues like this. Having said all of that, I don’t think that’s what we have here with Mr. Copan. From the short time he and Dr. Brown had to discuss those few OT passages, I didn’t hear anything that would lead me to believe that Mr. Copan was promoting a dangerous handling of the biblical texts. It sounded to me like he made a few decent points. I thought the example he gave from Joshua was good. That’s a good example of when the plain reading of one text is shown to not be entirely literal by other evidence shown later in the Bible. There’s several different cases of this elsewhere in scripture. There’s nothing wrong with pointing this out. Do you disagree with what he said about the passages from Joshua and their meaning? If so, how do you explain the possible “inconsistency”? Was that the only thing Mr. Copan said that worried you?
“EDH, do you think Ananias and Sapphira are examples of the continuity of the OT and NT?” Yvette
Yes. I think pretty much the whole NT is. The transition from the OT to the NT is quite smooth.
Since you obviously agreed with this show’s guest, where exactly did you see that the Bible shouldn’t be taken literally since the Old Testament is a history book of things that actually happened?
And Joshua 6:21 is inconsistent with what?
I don’t entirely understand your question. I think you may be misunderstanding what I’m saying. I do believe that the OT is meant to show the history of God’s relationship to his chosen people, I don’t think that is, or should be, under dispute by any Christian.
I think we should start from the beginning. What did the guest say Specifically that you took issue with? It would help if you were a little more exact than just expressing that you think he twisted some words here and there. What verses did he twist exactly? I think if we start from here, we will get a lot further with eachother.
I don’t think bringing in archaeology, historical references, or the Jewish mindset during a period of tribulation to be the twisting of the Word of God. It helps to have a better foundation and understanding of God’s Word. I also see it as better equipping yourself in case you, yourself, have to deal with tough questions that an Atheist might bring up to you, especially if they start quoting the Bible themselves out of context.
God does what He does because He’s God, well, just isn’t a good of enough explanation.
Michael L Brown:
“Until you feel the weight of the moral objection, you cannot sufficiently answer it.”
“Unless you can see the problem through the eyes of those who are struggling, often in sincerity, you will not be able to help them, and thus far, it appears you are not grasping the actual problem that we are trying to address.”
To: Mark Phillips
I googled… “Is John 3:16 the gospel” by David Pawson.
I checked out David Pawson’s other books too. Now this author is more my style. Thank you for your advice.
Blessings to you Mark.
EDH – this is what you wrote…
“…he made a few decent points. I thought the example he gave from Joshua was good. That’s a good example of when the plain reading of one text is shown to not be entirely literal by other evidence shown later in the Bible.”
You used the words – “to not be entirely literal” in your statement. It would be very kind of you to either own up to these words and explain what you mean by them or let’s move onto other topics on other forms.
I don’t know if you are noticing how you are talking out of both sides of your month. You seem to begin your comments with statements that agree with whatever I write which is fine if those statements of yours truly reflect your sincere beliefs, but then your remaining statements will contradict your first statements.
I don’t have much patience for nonsense! Where are you –EDH? Are you here or are you there? I consider the middle of the road stance that you like to take ~ lukewarm! And this is how God views lukewarm Christians…
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Revelation 3:16
Spue ~ To spit!
God Bless! Have A Nice Day!
Didn’t hear this show until two days after it was broadcast. Like others, was a bit surprised to hear Dr Copan argue that the Biblical record of historical facts doesn’t always mean exactly what it says. Getting to the main point, the slaughter of a few thousand Canaanites pales into insignificance when compared with the destrucion of the entire world population at time of the Flood, estimated at maybe seven billion or more. God didn’t use any human agents then. He did it himself, as a reluctant and painful last resort.
yeah the new age thinking needs answering:
e.g. how can god send a good person to hell simply because they do not believe in Jesus? i don’t want no part with such a god if that’s the case, or such a god wouldn’t exist.
why are there not extra-biblical sources documenting the miracles of jesus from eye-witnesses, written at his time? there aren’t therefore it never happened.
like this show: why is the god of the OT so different from the new?
and so on etc
i’m glad that these type of shows are being aired.
“Judge not, that you be not judged; for with the same yardstick you use to judge others, it will be used to judge you.”
This show is especially poignant for me. I came at life from a philosophical take myself (until I surrendered). I studied the great philosphers of old and the logic of argumentation. I appreciate your guest’s taking this subject on because it needs to be tackled in order to persuade the new atheists and, yes, we should be able to answer the same things I noticed when I first started studying the Bible. There did seem to be a great dichotomy of the two Testaments and the God of them both.
So, praise to Paul Copan for being wise enough to illuminate this subject. Great insight and a wonderful scholarly approach to a very difficult apologetics “thorn in our side”. And thank you, for pointing out the genre and language use in the various books. It’s true of the prophets as well concerning their use of prophetic imagery; the ecstatic taking precedence over the literal.
Really good show, Dr. Brown.
correction: “the ecstatic [sometimes] taking precedence over the literal.
There are “extra-biblical sources documenting the miracles of jesus” as you put it. The Gospels were “extra-biblical sources” when they were penned. The same goes for the letters of the apostles. These writings were compiled into what we now call the “New Testament.” They are now considered part of the “Bible.” They were just eye witness accounts before they were compiled.
It is kind of like doing a research paper on “Man going to the moon.” You can research the subject and find some sources that say that man never made it there. But the eye witnesses testify to man getting there. So will your report on man going to the moon be filled with the nay-sayers speculations and detractions or the witnesses testimony? Will you believe the “report” that compiles the testimony of the witnesses to the Messiah’s life or will you believe the speculations of those that were not there to witness anything?
I heard testimony to the fact that there was such a thing as the grand canyon and believed that there was such a thing even before I went there myself. After I went, I realized how small my idea of the grand canyon was. It was THE GRAND CANYON to me now. Now I could testify more fully to the truth that existed long before my experiencing it. I believed before I saw, but I really believe now. It was not to the veracity but to the magnitude that I was shocked, when I witnessed it myself.
The same is true of THE MESSIAH. We have enough testimony to His life and miracles to not doubt the veracity. The issue is believing the testimony that we do have and then “going there” to experience the magnitude for ourselves. I have gone there, spiritually speaking, and the magnitude is beyond words. No description of the GRAND CANYON or THE MESSIAH is sufficient. The gospel writers gave us enough of a description to wet our spiritual appetite.
If you truly seek to know THE MESSIAH for yourself, you will find Him to be way more miraculous than mere words can tell. He is alive and He shows Himself to those that look for Him with all their hearts.
Here is how the fourth gospel ends:
24 This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
Like the GRAND CANYON, THE MESSIAH is just to big to explain in words.
Great testimonial, Bo!
When we read the in the Psalms of God’s goodness, loving kindness reliability and the like, we say, you can bank on those promises, the Psalms were inspired by God.
When we the Psalms and they contain sentiments about bashing babies, we say those are just the emotions of the writer coming to the surface and do not reflect God.
Seems you can’t have it both ways. What say you?
S. Johnson… Your question made me investigate the interpretation of this scripture.
Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.
Here is what I found that may help you. It helped me understand the interpretation.
“You need to read it in context of what is being said. It is talking about the Babylonians and Edomites who had came and taken Israel captive and destroyed Jerusalem. The things they did to the Jews were atrocious.
Understand how people were feeling at this time. Angry at the loss of their country. Angry at being taken into captivity by pagans. For Westerners who like a ‘pretty’ non offensive God this is troubling. But for people in Africa (for example), who are being massacred day in and day out, this is a sign of hope for them that God will see them through and judge their enemies.
To put it simply, it’s called war… and it ain’t meant to be pretty. Your referenced verse was talking about destroying the enemy to the point where they will never rise to harm them the same way again. Imagine how America felt after 9/11… but instead of taking out a couple buildings, they took out your country… should help put it in context.”
Debbie — thanks for posting the comments to Ps 137:9
S. Johnson — yes, a very fair question. I plan to return to it on a future show.
I think you are completely misunderstanding what I’m saying. You’re going way off topic here, I think. By no means am I a lukeworm Christian. I’m completely against that. Right now, we are talking way past each other rather than too each other. I’m by no means talking out of both sides of my mouth on this issue!
Let’s start from the top. What did Mr. Copan say (exactly) that you took issue with? What exact verses did he twist? If we start here, I guarantee we will finally start talking with one another forreal.
( You used the words – “to not be entirely literal” in your statement. It would be very kind of you to either own up to these words and explain what you mean by them or let’s move onto other topics on other forms)
About this one. I believe it was when Mr. Copan was talking about how the “total” destruction of the Caananites was ordered by God, and yet there were still Canaanites remaining after this command. How can phrases like, “leaving no survivors” and “leaving alive nothing that breathes” be used to describe these acts when there were still enemies left alive? Is there a contradiction here, or are the words being taken too literally? Is there another option?
There are instances in scripture when the simple “plain reading” of the text (to us) is not exactly what the author is really trying to express to the reader. This is one of the issues Mr. Copan is addressing. He’s trying to take us back to the original meaning and mindset behind of some of these words/phrases that the biblical authors used thousands of years ago. Having a proper understanding of the times can be very important when trying to truly understand scripture.
I myself have run into trouble reading scripture, because I’ve mistakenly brought my sometimes overly literal, technical, everyday modern mindset to the scripture when it shouldn’t have been there. I would always ask myself why didn’t the author just say “this” when he really meant “that”? I realize now that I was approaching the scriptures in the wrong way. Again, I think Mr. Copan did a pretty good job of exposing this tendency of bringing this 2011 mindset into texts written 2011 B.C., in the short time he had. There’s nothing wrong with that. I certainly don’t think it’s accurate to call this “bible twisting” or “watering down” the texts. If that is what you were referring to.
Hopefully this helps you to understand me better. If not, I can give specific examples to further show what I mean.
Thank you for your detailed response. There is a very simple explanation why the Canaanites were not totally annihilated. The Israelites broke their covenant with God!
1 And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.
2 And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?
3 Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.
4 And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.
In addition, God of today is still the same God of yesterday, the same God that He was during the Old Testament time. Complete annihilations of groups of people still happen today in which everyone, the old, the young alike are destroyed, but we label them as natural disasters, epidemics, or very unfortunate human errors.
There is also a very simple explanation why God would not ask any of His children today to accomplish these things for Him as He did in the Old Testament time. These days we are only commissioned to be His ambassadors of love.
It’s that wonderful!
Okay Pamela. Thanks for the response.
I think the guest was referring to how Joshua himself left Canaanites alive although the order was to annihilate them all. Those verses you posted, showing the breaking of the covenant by the Israelites, didn’t happen until after Joshua was dead. I think I know where the confusion lies on this one.
“In addition, God of today is still the same God of yesterday, the same God that He was during the Old Testament time.”
No doubt. There’s no argument here.
Dr Brown…It was my pleasure to help out.
I am only an outsider who studies Holy Scripture, but would like to say the following.
Paul said he feels references to taking the breath from people are not necessarily to be taken literally.
What about those who did not enter the ark – how many were still breathing when Noah remerged ? Genesis 6:17 and Genesis 7: 21
What about Deuternomy chapter 20 – especially vs 13-18 – What did God say was to be done ?
And what about First Samuel chapter 15 – what did God say in v3 ? Was Saul to take this literally – note v18 ?
Why was God displeased with Saul in that chapter – what had he not done ?
Hello. Thanks to you all for your comments.
It appears that a lot of questions would be resolved just by reading my book! Here’s a brief summary at the article link below:
Mark, I guess I would ask you the question: If “Joshua carried out all that Moses commanded” (which Joshua repeatedly affirms), but yet there are lots of Canaanite survivors (as we read throughout Joshua and Judges make clear), then how are we to understand this? If it appears that Saul appears to have killed all the Amalekites except King Agag (1 Sam. 15), then what about the army of Amalekites whom David fights in 1 Sam 30 (and 400 of them escape!)?
What I’m calling us to do is look at the text more closely rather than gloss over it!
It seems Paul is making a lot of excuses for the words of the Bible…simply put war is war…period. A better argument and one that brings it home is that God was protecting the line that would produce the coming Messiah. No different than a man protecting his home…is it fair to say that some must die so many will live? In addition, the Hebrews would go and warn those they were about to attack and ask them to leave or surrender…therefore the blood of the children was then on the hands of the fathers.
Michael, I’m actually stating that we should read the Bible *more* closely. It seems you are ignoring many passages in Joshua and Judges–ones that we should be playing closer attention to. You didn’t really engage my point. Have you read my essay or book?
A primary sign that we are immature in our relationship with the Lord is our inability to honestly say there seem to be contradictions in scripture. While it may APPEAR on the outside that we are being totally devoted and unwavering in our relationship with God it is actually the exact opposite. A maturing believer will use these seeming contradictions and face them head on all the while pressing forward and trusting the in the goodness, truthfulness and faithfulness of the Lord.
Clearly there is nothing wrong with questioning God. There is a good questioning that WANTS to believe but doesn’t quite understand and then there is a negative approach that just wants to dishonor the Lord. He WANTS us to learn, mature, face our fears and overcome!…albeit closer to Him! Surely anyone who opens the scriptures with a sincere heart will see some seeming contradiction. I believe these are here to draw us deeper into His word. And for things which there is no immediate answer, closer to Him relationally by trusting and seeking.
Great comment on “bumper sticker theology”.
Comments are closed.