Might Makes Right… Or Is It Righteousness?

I’m always amazed at the timing of certain things. Based on some comments from one of my recent posts, I thought it curious that I was going to be writing about this today anyway. But now, it’s probably going to really stick in someone’s craw.

While listening to some of the common types of feedback from skeptics, I often hear them deride the idea of a good and just God based on readings from the Old Testament. As our insipid, er, intrepid commenter recently alluded to, God seems to have seen fit to wipe out entire nations during Old Testament times.

At first blush, this seems to completely contradict the idea of a good, loving, compassionate God. But, when you look deeper, that is not necessarily the case. Actually, when you read the entire Bible and read it to discern what it actually is teaching rather than spending time trying to distort what it teaches, you come across things like:

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9

The fact is, when one understands the concept of holiness and understands that God is Holy and cannot even be in the presence of sin, things begin to clear up here a bit. You see, while sin cannot exist in the presence of God, He realizes that we have all sinned (Rom 3:23). Because He desires a relationship with us, this becomes a bit of an issue.

Fortunately for us, God has a solution to this problem. The cross!

But, what about those peoples and nations that were completely against God? You see, God is omniscient. There is more to omniscience than just knowing what is, what was and what will be. There is also something that some philosophers refer to as “middle knowledge.” Personally, I like the other term some of them use, “hypothetical knowledge.” I think the latter is a bit more descriptive.

In other words, God knows all the “what if’s?” that there are. He knows who will accept Him and who will not. He also knows who would have accepted Him under certain circumstances and who simply would never accept Him no matter what.

Knowing this, God arranges things so that certain people are born at times and in places as to work things out for His ultimate plan. This includes those nations that He had destroyed in the Old Testament.

I find it humorous, almost, that so many skeptics point to this as though it were some major moral failure on God’s part, but they never bother to actually look into the history of the nations being destroyed. They skip right over the human sacrifices, burning children and babies alive in honor of Baal or Asherah or Molech or any of the other gods they worshipped.

These are the same people who would agree that Adolph Hitler and his lackies needed and deserved to be utterly destroyed. Now, before you start with the comparisons of “Well, that was only the leaders, not every man, woman and child…” let me finish the thought.

Yes, there was that difference. No analogy is perfect, after all. But when you read the scripture without reading it just to prove it wrong and think you’re clever, you’ll notice that God waited patiently until “their iniquity was full.” In other words, He waited until everyone who would accept Him from that nation had done so. He waited and gave them many, many chances to repent (read about Ninevah in the book of Jonah) before He destroyed them.

After enough time and after enough chances, He finally declared that they were beyond redemption and needed to be destroyed. But, that is the only part the skeptics look at. The end result. The final destruction. They conveniently ignore everything that those nations did to bring themselves to that fate.

They often describe God as “capricious” or “unjust” and even “evil.” Little do they know that it is actually due to the fact that God is just that this was ever necessary. What they don’t seem to connect with is the fact that, because our sin separates us from a perfect, sinless, Holy God…we all deserve the same fate! And it is out of love and compassion that He sent His son to redeem us (John 3:16).

I’d love to get into the whole concept of what death is according to biblical teaching, but that will be a topic for another post.

Until then, enjoy the grace of God and His salvation through Christ and be very glad that He is not the capricious, evil, vindictive, violent (a topic for yet another post), unjust, arbitrary, inconsistent God that the skeptics would like to paint Him as.

Grace, love and peace.

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7 Comments

  1. “If you were to re-read the post, this was NOT in response to one of your comments. I had already had this topic on my list of topics to write about and was pointing out the irony of the fact that you posted a comment that was directly related.”

    If you say so, but nevertheless it was an obvious referral to me, that’s hard to deny. The question remains.

    “when your point of view seems to involve a whole lot more guess-work than mine.”

    To what are you referring?

    “You claim that any argument is beneficial for some sort of learning. I disagree. Arguing like you’ve done here seems little more than grade-school level name-calling. I had given the benefit of that doubt that you were more intellectual than that and more mature than that. You may be on your way to proving me wrong on that point.”

    Let’s not forget: you are the person who shy away from actual conversation, dodge answers and fail to defend your points.

    I don’t deny that I’m abrasive, but I make points instead of just complain about your manners. You are yet again trying to derail a conversation about the actual blog post by acting upset.

    This is a standard Christian tactic to avoid discussion. Prove me wrong instead of whining about how offended you are.

    “But the basis of your argument rests on nothing more than the fact that we simply come to different conclusions about the same evidence.”

    I have already explained to you that this is not the case. Looking at a rock and saying “god did it” is not even close to examining an issue critically.

    “So, really, YOU are the one arguing based on the fact that I don’t agree with you. You’re committing precisely the same wrong that you’re accusing me of.”

    At least I respond to what you write, each and every point. But you ignore large chunks of my posts. If you are going to be part of a conversation, at least have the decency to respond. Or if you are not able, be honest and admit to it.

    You again plead to emotions instead of being a part of the discussion.

  2. “Perhaps this is a silly question, but: is this place only to preach to the choir? If so, why would you create this blog post in response to one of *my* comments?”

    If you were to re-read the post, this was NOT in response to one of your comments. I had already had this topic on my list of topics to write about and was pointing out the irony of the fact that you posted a comment that was directly related.

    As for the rest of your “arguments,” again, I see no point in arguing with you just for the sake of arguing. I do find it ironic that you posit that “guessing” is MY form of science, when your point of view seems to involve a whole lot more guess-work than mine.

    At the end of the day, I’m just not interested in dealing with your mud-slinging, name-calling, accusations and just arguing for not better reason than to argue. If there is a benefit to discussing something with which we disagree, I’m happy to do so. You, however, seem to be more interested in just trying to make unfounded accusations based on a very tiny amount of what you can discern about me from reading a blog and you assume that makes you an expert on who I am and everything I believe and why.

    ******************************************************

    “perhaps you should only talk to people that agree with you.”

    “That’s the default position of any rational person” (blatantly wrong)

    “I mean it’s fine by me for you to have a Christians-only club, but at least be consistent.”

    “You don’t look at evidence, you only look where people like Ken Ham tells you to look.”

    “And you think this is how science is done? Going on vacation to the Grand Canyon and merely looking and guessing? There is more to it.”

    “But this is a simplistic explanation that works for the people in the pews, because they don’t want an in debt explanation, they want something that match what their bible says.”

    “And I understand that you are a fundamentalist that don’t really believe in any evidence that says that the bible is wrong, ”

    “Another Nobel prize for you then? Or are you just going to repeat more of what Ken Ham and Fred Phelps say?”

    “Oh wait, your proof is only good enough for people who only believe in your particular god. Some skill that takes.”

    “How vague. Personally I’m of the opinion that any argument can teach me something. ”

    “But perhaps you are not inclined to learn at all, you certainly seem to give that impression.”

    ******************************************************

    These are just some things from ONE of your comments. They are tedious, argumentative, without benefit and based on a LOT of assumptions (particularly about me, personally…whom you know almost nothing about).

    You claim that any argument is beneficial for some sort of learning. I disagree. Arguing like you’ve done here seems little more than grade-school level name-calling. I had given the benefit of that doubt that you were more intellectual than that and more mature than that. You may be on your way to proving me wrong on that point.

    The double-standards are glaring…you attack me and my character, claiming that I refuse to view the evidence intellectually and objectively and that I’m only trying to support my conclusions. But the basis of your argument rests on nothing more than the fact that we simply come to different conclusions about the same evidence. So, really, YOU are the one arguing based on the fact that I don’t agree with you. You’re committing precisely the same wrong that you’re accusing me of.

    And, honestly, I’m just pretty much tired of arguing about that kind of stuff. It’s fruitless and a waste of time.

  3. “Actually, it’s not that I’m incapable of meeting your points, it’s mainly just that I don’t see a point in doing so.”

    Perhaps you shouldn’t allow people to comment at all then, perhaps you should only talk to people that agree with you. That’s actually an easy way to have complete blind faith without getting challenged at all.

    “That being the case, it seems pointless for me to continue to go point for point on any given aspect of what the Bible teaches because you’re already starting from the presupposition that God doesn’t exist…therefore nothing I say is going to make sense to you because you’re interpreting it via a different world-view.”

    That’s the default position of any rational person. When you discuss with a Muslim, your starting position is that the Qur’an isn’t true, and that it is up to the Muslim to give you a good argument as to why you should believe it.

    Perhaps this is a silly question, but: is this place only to preach to the choir? If so, why would you create this blog post in response to one of *my* comments?

    I mean it’s fine by me for you to have a Christians-only club, but at least be consistent.

    “At the same time, I seriously doubt you’re going to convince me of your conclusions because, while we look at the same evidence, we both see two very different things.”

    You don’t look at evidence, you only look where people like Ken Ham tells you to look.

    “For example, if I may borrow an illustration from Ken Ham, if we were to both stand with each other at the edge of the Grand Canyon, looking out over the beautiful landscape…you might look at that and think, “A lot of time and a little bit of water did this.” I, on the other hand, would look at the exact same scene and think, “A little time and a lot of water did this.””

    And you think this is how science is done? Going on vacation to the Grand Canyon and merely looking and guessing? There is more to it.

    But this is a simplistic explanation that works for the people in the pews, because they don’t want an in debt explanation, they want something that match what their bible says.

    I’m not saying you guys are stupid, because many Christians do understand how these things *actually* work. But I’m repeating myself.

    “And there is little chance that one will convince the other of their point of view.”

    Actually science has methods of testing how old the different layers of the canyon in question are, these methods allows for independent testing (oh the glory of science). But here’s the deal: Ken Ham’s assertions have only one thing supporting them, the bible.

    And I understand that you are a fundamentalist that don’t really believe in any evidence that says that the bible is wrong, but you have to agree that not everyone agrees on the factuality of the bible, so it cannot be used in an argument that strives to be as objective as possible.

    “Perhaps in the future, if I write something about evidence for God Himself, that might be more suitable to debate that issue.”

    Another Nobel prize for you then? Or are you just going to repeat more of what Ken Ham and Fred Phelps say?

    Oh wait, your proof is only good enough for people who only believe in your particular god. Some skill that takes.

    “To me, it just devolves into arguing and if I’m going to engage in an argument, I’d prefer that there be some beneficial end to it.”

    How vague. Personally I’m of the opinion that any argument can teach me something.

    But perhaps you are not inclined to learn at all, you certainly seem to give that impression.

  4. Actually, it’s not that I’m incapable of meeting your points, it’s mainly just that I don’t see a point in doing so. While I respect the fact that you seem to be well-read and quite capable intellectually, the fact is that we both come from completely different starting points.

    That being the case, it seems pointless for me to continue to go point for point on any given aspect of what the Bible teaches because you’re already starting from the presupposition that God doesn’t exist…therefore nothing I say is going to make sense to you because you’re interpreting it via a different world-view.

    At the same time, I seriously doubt you’re going to convince me of your conclusions because, while we look at the same evidence, we both see two very different things.

    For example, if I may borrow an illustration from Ken Ham, if we were to both stand with each other at the edge of the Grand Canyon, looking out over the beautiful landscape…you might look at that and think, “A lot of time and a little bit of water did this.” I, on the other hand, would look at the exact same scene and think, “A little time and a lot of water did this.”

    And there is little chance that one will convince the other of their point of view.

    Perhaps in the future, if I write something about evidence for God Himself, that might be more suitable to debate that issue. As for debating what the Bible teaches or why, I am simply not going to do that anymore because it’s a waste of both our time and is never going to get anywhere because the essence of the problem is deeper than what, specifically, a given scripture may teach or why it does so.

    Besides, doing that kind of arguing back and forth tends to get people (speaking for myself anyway) frustrated and then I end up writing things out of frustration that are dishonoring to the beliefs that I hold to.

    To that end, I respectfully decline to engage in debates on specific issues unless those issues are the foundation of either person’s beliefs rather than individual issues that stem from these foundational beliefs. I just see no point in doing that and, in the end, I don’t see that anyone benefits from it. To me, it just devolves into arguing and if I’m going to engage in an argument, I’d prefer that there be some beneficial end to it.

    Hopefully, you will agree.

  5. “He allows people to be born into certain situation and how His plan was the redemption of as many as possible while still allowing for free-will (choice).”

    You fail to understand that according to your previous explanation you god already knows who will be going to hell. He knows they will never accept Christ as their savior *before they are born*. That is also an example of how the existence of omniscience/-potence doesn’t allow for ultimate free will.

    I notice how you were incapable of meeting my points, which is a pretty sorry sight. Perhaps you should leave the blog to someone that can actually defend his religion without having to retreat behind the old canard “only true Christians would understand my inane arguments”.

    Another checkmate.

  6. As usual, you take everything out of context and twist it around to make it look like something it’s not. I specifically explained why He allows people to be born into certain situation and how His plan was the redemption of as many as possible while still allowing for free-will (choice).

    If you decide to interpret omnipotence YOUR way, then yes, God COULD have made things perfect, but at the sacrifice of free will.

    So often, I’ve heard through the years from skeptics and liberals (and I was once one of them) that if you don’t like what’s on TV, change the channel. Same thing applies here. If you don’t like what’s written, don’t read it.

    You’re never going to “get it” because your presuppositions won’t allow that. So, essentially, you’re wasting your time because 90% of what you THINK we write completely misses the point of what is written.

    Just like in Christ’s time…”to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks, foolishness.”

  7. You are excusing genocide with human sacrifice / scapegoating. This is not moral at all. And if your god can do anything, he can absolve people from sin without torturing his kid to death (or having it arranged, rather).

    What a horrible parent.

    “You see, God is omniscient. There is more to omniscience than just knowing what is, what was and what will be. There is also something that some philosophers refer to as “middle knowledge.” Personally, I like the other term some of them use, “hypothetical knowledge.” I think the latter is a bit more descriptive.”

    So in other words he lets people get born that he knows will burn in hell after they die. Knowing that they will never come to accept Jesus. So by that logic your god sends people to eternal torture just for the (pardon the pun) hell of it.

    “Knowing this, God arranges things so that certain people are born at times and in places as to work things out for His ultimate plan. This includes those nations that He had destroyed in the Old Testament.”

    So the slaughter and rape of men, women and children (and even cattle if I remember correctly) is the *best* solution your god could come up with? Not only is he a horrible parent, he also isn’t very bright (oh, and still malevolent).

    “I find it humorous, almost, that so many skeptics point to this as though it were some major moral failure on God’s part, but they never bother to actually look into the history of the nations being destroyed.”

    Are you kidding? Are you really this callous? There is not a nation on earth today that I would want eradicated, not one child killed and not one woman raped and not one person enslaved. Do you agree with this? There is *no excuse* for these things.

    “They skip right over the human sacrifices, burning children and babies alive in honor of Baal or Asherah or Molech or any of the other gods they worshipped.”

    Only a simpleton would suggest genocide as the solution to these problems. Stop thinking with your bronze sword for a minute.

    “These are the same people who would agree that Adolph Hitler and his lackies needed and deserved to be utterly destroyed”

    Strawman. Skeptics have varying opinions on the death penalty. Personally I’m against it.

    “But when you read the scripture without reading it just to prove it wrong and think you’re clever, you’ll notice that God waited patiently until “their iniquity was full.” In other words, He waited until everyone who would accept Him from that nation had done so. He waited and gave them many, many chances to repent (read about Ninevah in the book of Jonah) before He destroyed them.”

    He knew this would happen long before it did. So basically he could have solved the problem by sending his son there to preach instead of killing everyone. But I guess he cared more about his chosen people. Yet again, the bible shows that your god is both incompetent and *incapable* of solving problems without killing or torturing.

    Why, it’s almost as Yahweh is an ancient warrior god adopted by the Christians.

    “What they don’t seem to connect with is the fact that, because our sin separates us from a perfect, sinless, Holy God…we all deserve the same fate! And it is out of love and compassion that He sent His son to redeem us”

    Why does this compassion come in the form of blackmail? If he is a being of love, he would never have dreamt up hell.

    “Grace, love and peace.”

    What a joke.

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