Charges Against God From The Old Testament

* In this study, I will respond to some charges made by some (and held by others) against God as portrayed in the Old Testament. Before I deal specifically with the charges, I think it will be helpful to point out some important concepts.

1. The Old Testament does not make sense without Jesus in mind.

* In Matthew 5:17, Jesus said the following:

Matthew 5:17 (New American Standard Bible)
17″Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.

* In Luke 24:25-27, we read the following:

Luke 24:25-27 (New American Standard Bible)
25And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26″Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” 27Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

* So these and many other passages make it clear that Jesus and the Old Testament are intricately and inseparably intertwined. Without this understanding, the Old Testament will not make sense. In fact, I suspect more and more that this concept is truer than most of us even come close to realizing. I believe it is so severe that trying to understand the Old Testament without Jesus in view is like trying to read a book without eyes. This idea that the Old Testament cannot make sense without Jesus in view is nicely summarized by what Jesus told some of the Pharisees of His day as recorded in John 5:39-40:

John 5:39-40 (New American Standard Bible)
39″You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

2. In the Old Testament (and any other historical book), we never have all the relevant information in any given situation.

* It is simply impossible for any historical book to contain every single detail of every situation it may describe. I believe that, largely because of space and time, life is just too complicated to perfectly capture with words. This is also the case with the Old Testament. What I mean by this is that there are going to be times (and we should expect this in a book written by God) when God does not give us every single detail and/or reason behind certain actions He performs. One reason that we would expect this to be the case is that if all detailed reasons God did what He did were recorded in the Scriptures, the Bible would simply get too long, like John expressed in John 21:25 when referring to the many things that Jesus did:

John 21:25 (New American Standard Bible)
25And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.

* So even though it appears that John uses hyperbole to make his point, he uses it to express the idea that it was just not feasible to write down everything that Jesus did. And this is also the case with historical writings in general, along with the Old Testament.

* Another possible reason that God does not tell us all of His reasons for doing everything He did in greater detail is because God is God and we are not. That being the case and given the infinitely different perspective God has compared to the perspective we have, perhaps we would just not be able to understand certain things (until we are upgraded to our heavenly bodies or until we can see the big picture without time clouding our views). Is it really that surprising that we can’t understand all the things God understands? I think not. What God told Job nicely expresses this idea:

Job 38:1-21 (New American Standard Bible)
1Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, 2″Who is this that darkens counsel By words without knowledge? 3″Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me! 4″Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, 5Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? 6″On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, 7When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy? 8″Or who enclosed the sea with doors When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb; 9When I made a cloud its garment And thick darkness its swaddling band, 10And I placed boundaries on it And set a bolt and doors, 11And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther; And here shall your proud waves stop’? 12″Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, And caused the dawn to know its place, 13That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, And the wicked be shaken out of it? 14″It is changed like clay under the seal; And they stand forth like a garment. 15″From the wicked their light is withheld, And the uplifted arm is broken. 16″Have you entered into the springs of the sea Or walked in the recesses of the deep? 17″Have the gates of death been revealed to you, Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? 18″Have you understood the expanse of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this. 19″Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is its place, 20That you may take it to its territory And that you may discern the paths to its home? 21″You know, for you were born then, And the number of your days is great!

* Think about the differences in understanding between an adult human, lets say in his or her late thirties, compared to the understanding of one year old baby. Now think about God’s age compared to any living human’s age! As ridiculous as it would be for a one year old to think he or she understands things better than a thirty something year old, that level of ridiculousness doesn’t even start down the path of the level of ridiculousness of a man or woman thinking he or she understands things better than a God who has lived forever! Like God sarcastically points out in the above passage, “You know, for you were born then, And the number of your days is great!”

3. The New Testament points to a spiritual interpretation of at least some of the Old Testament which introduces the possibility that there is a “spiritual way” to interpret others part of the Old Testament.

* For example, Paul seems to be using some sort of “odd” spiritual lens when interpreting a passage in the Old Testament in 1 Corinthians 9:8-10:

1 Corinthians 9:8-10 (New American Standard Bible)
8I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? 9For it is written in the Law of Moses, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING” God is not concerned about oxen, is He? 10Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops.

* Paul “spiritually interprets” this same Old Testament passage in 1 Timothy 5:17-19:

1 Timothy 5:17-18 (New American Standard Bible)
17The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

* Further hints to this spiritual interpretation of the Old Testament is in Romans 7:14:

Romans 7:14 (New American Standard Bible)
14For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.

* Now Gordon Fee and others have argued that although Paul was able to spiritually interpret the Old Testament because he was an apostle, we can’t make these type of interpretations because we don’t have that special insight. Further, he argues that when interpreting the Old Testament, we should stick to the rule that says, “We can never make an Old Testament passage mean what it didn’t mean”. While I think this “restriction” prevents people from just going crazy and interpreting everything in the Old Testament any way he or she wants, I personally wonder if we are missing something. It seems to me that Paul did make the passage about not muzzling the ox while threshing into something I am pretty sure it didn’t originally mean. Just because we may not have the insight to do this ourselves does not lessen the idea that there may be a spirtitual interpretation of other passages in the Old Testament as well.

4. In the Old Testament, God seems to meet us where we are at.

* What I mean by this is that God is aware of what we (humans) are capable of obeying at all points in our human history based on our collective heart conditions of the time and further, tailored His commandments accordingly! In other words, God is not going to command us to do something our heart conditions won’t allow us to obey. What’s the point in that? It’s like us commanding our 3 year old children to drive to the store and pick up some milk. This point is powerfully supported in Matthew 19:6-8:

Matthew 19:6-8 (New American Standard Bible)
6″So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” 7They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY?” 8He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.

* God literally commanded the men “to give [a woman] a certificate of divorce and send her away” for any reason whatsoever. God did this because of the hardness of these people’s heart but He also made it clear that it was not not that way from the beginning which implies that He didn’t approve or condone divorce. Now, why wouldn’t this example, at the very least, open up the possibility that other commandments in the Old Testament were given not because they were what God approved or disapproved of but because of the hardness of hearts of those God was commanding?

* Further isn’t the whole sermon on the mount all about making the commandments the way they were supposed to be from the beginning?

5. Many things in the Bible are assumed by people but are not actually in the Bible.

* See my blog for some examples:

6. God commanded the “purging of evil” from Israel out of love.

* And so with these ideas in mind, lets look at the specific charges against God as portrayed in the Old Testament.

* Splash90 stated the following:

Start of Quote

“Besides this whole issue of “inerrancy,” (which also encompasses things that I could no longer describe any other way than ‘nonsensical’) — another big factor in drawing me away was thinking more and more about the unsavory accounts in the bible. My previous explanations for them (i.e. God can do what he wants with his creation, God made us so he makes the rules, etc) just didn’t cut it anymore for me, because I began to wonder 1) why would I want to be close to that God, and 2) where is the evidence for that God in the world today? (unless you subscribe to Pat Robertson’s view of natural disasters.)

Besides the obvious acts of mass slaughter (the flood, Passover, invasions, sudden wiping out of masses of people, etc), there are some other doozies that, if true, would cause me not to really be too fond of this God even if it means going to hell for eternity. Just a few are…”

1 Timothy 2:15 (New American Standard Bible)
15But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.
* Chad’s Response: The simple truth of this matter is that I don’t understand what, “But women will be preserved through the bearing of children” really even means so its hard for me to judge the “savoriness” or “unsavoriness” of the matter. Anyone else know for certain what that means? Feel free to explain it to me. But let me be clear that just because I don’t understand what a particular passage of Scripture means doesn’t make me think it is any less the Word of God. It just means I am not sure what God meant. Should that be surprising? (see point 2 above).

2 Kings 2:23-25 (New American Standard Bible)
23Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!” 24When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number.

* Chad’s Response: In this text, we are only given a limited amount of information about the situation (see point 2 above). We don’t have all the facts. This being the case, there could be many other factors that played in to Elisha’s cursing these lads and God’s possible answering of his request than we are privy to. For instance, were these lads violent and possibly a danger to Elisha? For all we know, these lads could have been planning on doing more than just mocking Elisha. The fact that Elisha “looked behind him and saw them” supports the possibility that these lads may have been following him so that they could attack him. In other words, maybe the implied meaning of verse 24 could be, “When he looked behind and saw them following him, he prayed for God to deliver him from them.” That is just one possibility that illustrates how “the rest of the story” could make the incident make more sense. Also, strictly speaking, we really don’t even know for sure that God had anything to do with the bears wiping out the lads. What I mean is that the text doesn’t explicitly say “God made the bears wipe out the lads”. All the text says is: “he cursed them in the name of the LORD” and “Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number.” Notice it doesn’t say, “And God answered his prayer or curse or whatever”. Now I admit that the text seems to imply that this is the case but I am just pointing out what we don’t know for sure. I am also and again pointing out that we only have limited information. The plain and undeniable truth is: Based on the text, we don’t know for sure if God did make the bears wipe out the lads but ever more importantly, even if we grant that He did it, He doesn’t say why He did it or “what the justification was for Him doing it” so how can we judge the reasons?

* So then you might say, “Yea, but these were just kids and so how could a loving God wipe out these little ones who were just being kids and making fun of Elijah?” Again, to address this issue, I will go ahead and assume that God did do it (although, we can’t say this for sure based on the text). says the following about “young lads” in this text: “30 tn The word נַעַר (na’ar), here translated “boy,” can refer to a broad age range, including infants as well as young men. But the qualifying term “young” (or “small”) suggests these youths were relatively young. The phrase in question (“young boy”) occurs elsewhere in 1 Sam 20:35; 1 Kgs 3:7 (used by Solomon in an hyperbolic manner); 11:17; 2 Kgs 5:14; and Isa 11:6.” In other words, we don’t know the age of these “lads”. It could be that they were young men.

Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (New American Standard Bible)
18″If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, 19then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown. 20″They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21″Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear.

* First, notice that the parents were to take the stubborn and rebellious son who did not obey his father or his mother (and who was apparently also a glutton and a drunkard) out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown. The text above doesn’t say that the elders couldn’t also try to help this stubborn and rebellious son change his ways. In fact, why else would the command be to bring him to the elders in the first place? I’d argue that it was probably because the elders had wisdom and if anyone could help this son, it would be them. Not only were the parents to bring the son to the elders but they were also to bring the son to the city at the gateway of his hometown. In other words, they were to get the entire hometown involved to try to help the son. And then even though the text doesn’t explicitly say it, it is possible that it is implied that if all these safeguards didn’t work and the threat of death didn’t work, then the death penalty would be applied. I have a hunch that in most cases, it wouldn’t go this far (but I don’t know that for sure). I mean if you think about it, the son would have to be suicidal to not change his ways in the light of the what the punishment was. So the primary purpose of the command could have been to be a very strong deterrent.

* Also, this passage reminds me of John 8:

John 8 (New American Standard Bible)
1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5″Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” 6They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. 7But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go From now on sin no more.”

* The reason I bring this passage up in response to the charge against God derived from Deuteronomy 21:18-21 is because I believe there are obvious parallels. The penalty for adultery was the same as for a disobedient and rebellious son: death:

Leviticus 20:10 (New American Standard Bible)
If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

* and

Deuteronomy 22:22 (New American Standard Bible)
If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.

* So the scribes and the Pharisees were correct in their assertion that the Law “commanded [them] to stone such a women” (as well as the man the scribes and Pharisees conspicuously did not bring before Jesus). But there are some interesting things to consider about these passages:

1. It appears that even though the law did say to put to death adulterers, the scribes and Pharisees were trying to get Jesus to allow the stoning in order to have grounds to accuse him. So what grounds were they trying to gain by having Jesus stone this women? Was their regular practice to stone people for adultery according to the Law or did they have some other interpretation?
2. Jesus seems to completely disregard Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22. This leads me to think that we are missing some vital information about how to apply the Old Testament laws, even while under the Old Covenant (which Jesus still would have been at that point).

* Also in both Deuteronomy 21:18-21 and in Deuteronomy 22:22, God talks about removing the evil from among Israel:

“…so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear.”

“…thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.”

* Why did God think it important to remove the evil from Israel?

* So really the question is not whether or not the things in these passages are evil (being stubbornly rebellious against and pridefully disobeying one’s parents, being a glutton and a drunkard, and committing adultery). The thing that is being questioned by these charges is the way that God, through the law, commanded His people to deal with these evil actions. And truthfully, this is the common theme of most of (if not all of) the charges we are looking at in this study: Why does God command the death penalty for evil actions? Is God being harsh, cruel, unloving and “unsavory”? Again, the question comes down to this: Why did God think it important to remove the evil from Israel? One answer seems to me to be so that “all Israel will hear of it and fear”. It seems to me that God wanted all Israel (like the google saying goes), “to not be evil”. The death penalty was a strong deterrent to evil. But we must go deeper. Why did God not want evil to be in Israel’s midst?

Leviticus 21:17-22 (New American Standard Bible)
17″Speak to Aaron, saying, ‘No man of your offspring throughout their generations who has a defect shall approach to offer the food of his God. 18’For no one who has a defect shall approach: a blind man, or a lame man, or he who has a disfigured face, or any deformed limb, 19or a man who has a broken foot or broken hand, 20or a hunchback or a dwarf, or one who has a defect in his eye or eczema or scabs or crushed testicles. 21’No man among the descendants of Aaron the priest who has a defect is to come near to offer the LORD’S offerings by fire; since he has a defect, he shall not come near to offer the food of his God.

* Chad’s Response: From my understanding, this passage has nothing to do with God being “unsavory” or “unfair” against those with defects but it seems to me to be all about the foreshadowing of the coming of Jesus, the perfect sacrifice who was without defect:

1 Peter 1:17-21 (New American Standard Bible)
17If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; 18knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Leviticus 25:44 (New American Standard Bible)
44’As for your male and female slaves whom you may have–you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you.

* Chad’s Response: First, I believe that slavery could be another example of God meeting humans where we were at. God didn’t outlaw slavery but He did regulate it. If you think this is ridiculous, ask yourself this question, “Why isn’t it at least a possibility that the commands about slavery were given because of the hardness of the people’s heart, just like Jesus explained was the case with divorce?”

* Another thing to consider is this: God has an eternal perspective. Maybe this was God’s way of converting some pagans? If a pagan became a slave to a family of God, wouldn’t he or she would be in a special position to see God and to perhaps develop a relationship with God because of his or her slave owner’s relationship with God? Further, if this pagan did convert, the 7 year maximum slavery rule would then apply to him or her (I think).

* I would also argue that “the system of slavery” in and of itself is not evil (or “un-evil”). It is just a system. Yes, many people used slavery in a very evil way throughout history and many people were beyond hurt in incredibly horrendous ways but this doesn’t change the idea that the system of slavery was a man made system that was just that, a system. In my mind, a system cannot be evil because its not a living thing. Today we have the system of employers and employees and there are people who are great bosses and people who are evil bosses. It really depends on the specifics of how the system is carried out by the people within the system.

* For more about the topic of slavery in the Bible, here is a podcast from Douglas Jacoby: JACOBY’S PODCAST ABOUT SLAVERY

1 Chronicles 21:1-14 (New American Standard Bible)
1Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel. 2So David said to Joab and to the princes of the people, “Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan, and bring me word that I may know their number.” 3Joab said, “May the LORD add to His people a hundred times as many as they are! But, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? Why does my lord seek this thing? Why should he be a cause of guilt to Israel?” 4Nevertheless, the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Therefore, Joab departed and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem. 5Joab gave the number of the census of all the people to David. And all Israel were 1,100,000 men who drew the sword; and Judah was 470,000 men who drew the sword. 6But he did not number Levi and Benjamin among them, for the king’s command was abhorrent to Joab. 7God was displeased with this thing, so He struck Israel. 8David said to God, “I have sinned greatly, in that I have done this thing. But now, please take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.” 9The LORD spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying, 10″Go and speak to David, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, “I offer you three things; choose for yourself one of them, which I will do to you.”‘” 11So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Take for yourself 12either three years of famine, or three months to be swept away before your foes, while the sword of your enemies overtakes you, or else three days of the sword of the LORD, even pestilence in the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now, therefore, consider what answer I shall return to Him who sent me.” 13David said to Gad, “I am in great distress; please let me fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are very great. But do not let me fall into the hand of man.” 14So the LORD sent a pestilence on Israel; 70,000 men of Israel fell.

* Most of these so called examples of “unsavory” accounts about God in the Old Testament center around whether or not God can be a loving God and yet kill the people He made. I assume that this specific charge has to do with the 70,000 people being killed because of David’s sin and not their own but I argue that once again, we are limited in the information we have about this scenario. Perhaps there is more to the story than we know. For example, perhaps God allowed this whole thing to happen because He knew there were 70,000 specific people in Israel who were wicked and this was yet another way He was going to purge the evil from Israel. God sees the hearts of all men and has an eternal perspective. I could be wrong in this specific speculation but it is just an example of how more information could make the story make a lot more sense.

Genesis 19:1-8 (New American Standard Bible)
1Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2And he said, “Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant’s house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” They said however, “No, but we shall spend the night in the square.” 3Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. 4Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; 5and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.” 6But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, 7and said, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. 8″Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.”

* Chad’s Response: The charge against God from this passage is unclear to me. Nowhere does it say God approved of Lot’s idea and so this has nothing to do with God’s being “unsavory” or doing something that would make humans not want to be close to him. Clearly what Lot offered was horrifying, but clearly, those who were trying to have sex with the two angels were acting more wickedly than Lot. Did Lot have a feeling that these dudes were angels and is that perhaps why he said what he said? Who knows but who cares? It has nothing to do with God’s level of “savoriness”

* Splash90′ quote continued:

“As well as the whole issue of blame, scapegoating, sacrifices, original sin, I’m-so-bad-someone-had-to-be-brutally-murdered-for-me.

If you think about it, the recurring theme seems to be: Do XYZ and you’ll be spared all the suffering that the rest of humanity will be subjected to. You don’t need to worry about what happens to all of THEM, because YOU’RE okay. YOU won’t die in the flood because you were righteous. YOUR firstborn sons won’t be killed because you put lamb’s blood on your door. YOU won’t go to hell, because you are in Christ Jesus. Now I find that it’s no longer enough for me that I’LL be spared. I don’t think the rest of the world should be subjected to all those punishments for their supposed wrongdoings or ignorance… and I can’t understand a God who treats his creation that way. And is inconsistent about it; the same people who are commended for their godliness — the ‘mighty men of God’ — committed the same or worse sins which God killed other people for (at least in the Old Testament).

“Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be a true system.” — Thomas Paine.

And boy, did Christianity shock my mind as a child… over and over and over again. (I had to go to a child psychologist for intense religious nightmares. It got better for a while but I continued to have them up until just a few years ago. I mentioned earlier here the ‘end times’ movie I saw, but I also remember clearly the first time I saw a crucifixion movie at my church as a child and how upset I was.) And yet, because these things were taught to me at a young age as being TRUE (through such cutesy venues as “Who Did Swallow Jonah” and “The Arky Arky Song”*), I never questioned how I felt about them… until a couple of years ago.

*Should have been called “The Drowny Deathy Song”

End of Quote

* First, I am truly sorry that you experienced what sounds like deep emotional pain.

* Second, your statement that the message of the Bible is “You don’t need to worry about what happens to all of THEM, because YOU’RE okay” is completely and utterly inaccurate as the following few passages will quickly demonstrate:

Matthew 22:34-39 (New American Standard Bible)
34 But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. 35 One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’

Matthew 25:31-46 (New American Standard Bible)
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ 41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Matthew 28:18-21 (New American Standard Bible)
18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19″Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Luke 19:10 (New American Standard Bible)
10″For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

1 John 2:5-6 (New American Standard Bible)
By this we know that we are in Him: 6the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

* So Jesus came to seek and save the lost and we are commanded to walk as Jesus walked, i.e., to seek and save the lost.

1 Timothy 2:3-4 (New American Standard Bible)
3This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Romans 9:1-4 (New American Standard Bible)
1I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, 2that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, 4who are Israelites…

* The are tons of other Scriptures that demonstrate this same point but these should suffice to prove that the Bible doesn’t even hint for anyone to have the attitude of: “Do XYZ and you’ll be spared all the suffering that the rest of humanity will be subjected to. You don’t need to worry about what happens to all of THEM, because YOU’RE okay.” The following passage should nicely summarize what I am saying here:

1 John 3:16-17 (New American Standard Bible)
16We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

* As far as Thomas Paine’s quote, I don’t think the litmus test of a “true system” is the level of shock that a child would experience upon learning that system. The shock value of the Bible doesn’t have anything to do with the truth of what is written in the Bible. Further, if you apply this philosophy to life, the system of life is also not true according to Paine. What I mean is, death, for example, is shocking to a child (and to me and other adults). Parents don’t quite know how to explain to their 3 year old about death just as they struggle to explain to them what happened to Jesus on the cross. This shock value that death carries with it doesn’t make it not true.

* This philosophy also reminds me of what Pilate asked Jesus:

John 18:37-39 (New American Standard Bible)
37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”

* Basically, Paine is saying, if some belief system is shocking to a child, it can’t be true, even if it is. He is basically saying, “What is truth?” implying if we think something is true or not, this makes something true or not when the reality is what we believe to be true has nothing to do with whether it is true or not because the truth cannot be manipulated by our beliefs or how we feel about that truth.

* As far as the flood:

Genesis 6:5-13 (New American Standard Bible)
5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. 9 These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. 10 Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. 13 Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.

* So what is “unsavory” about God destroying all the wicked people because He “saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” and further that “the earth was filled with violence because of them”? What else was He supposed to do?

* So those are my thoughts about your statement, Splash90.

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