The Character of God in the Bible

If humans can’t decide what’s good, then how can you, as a human, conclude that God is good?

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If I was a citizen of Jericho and you were an Israelite soldier, would you hide me away to save my life or kill me and my family according to Yahweh’s orders?

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So we are scripture-balling now. Take this:

Revelation 19:11-21 ESV
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.”

This is how Jesus is going to be the way to death for atheist, agnostics, muslims, animists, buddhists, hindus and evolutionists :hear_no_evil:

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That seems the safest procedure, since as a human I can’t actually know whether God is speaking to me. Neither can you. You can make up rules (‘the Bible is inerrant’) that let you pretend this isn’t true, but it is. Given the many, many people who have committed horrors because they thought God was telling them to, how could you be sure you weren’t about to become one of them?

Since this kind of uncertainty is an intrinsic part of being human, I’ve decided to err on the side of not killing babies.

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It is logically impossible for the ultimate judge and arbiter to be anything other than good. It is from God that the concept of ‘goodness’ originates to begin with. There is no standard higher than God. Our concept of goodness is right, so far as it comports with God’s will, and wrong anywhere it deviates.

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At the heart of Christianity is the doctrine of the Trinity and the cross. 3-in-1 shows that God can be loving in and of Himself. He is love. The cross shows that God is loving towards us. He gives us the commands to love Him and our neighbor. In our hearts, we know that love is good. He created us to be able to know it. Sin is what obscures our knowing what is good.

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If God told your neighbor to kill your family would you be OK with them being executed? Or will you claim you are the only one who knows what God really wants?

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Show us the logic. Simply asserting something is logical does not make it logical.

Both of those are assertions that require evidence. Not a good start.

Yet another assertion without evidence.

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Hey John,

I apologize that I am late to the party. I personally think that the literalist interpretation of the bible renders good many things that are reprehensible: murder, virginity cults, slavery, racism, sexism, and so on. One can try and justify these through DCT and many do but others do not.

The way to interpret the bible is pretty much as important as the bible itself (if one even cares). It was not written in perfectly logical structures which is really weird considering the potential. The only way that I can reconcile it is to interpret in it in the light of building a spiritual relationship and allowing the community/personal experience to be part of that conversation even though they are imperfect (1 Cor 2, 2 Tim 3:14-17).

The only way that I can even look at the OT is to start with the premises that God is indeed loving and that humanity’s attempt to search for him and follow commandments is a clusterfuck of shitty things intermixed with some good things. Jesus basically re-interpreted the entire OT but even then I think that some aspects were used as hyperbole to communicate spiritual truths.

Moving onto more Pauline theology, Paul was clearly writing for Christians to emphasize spiritual transformation and play the long game on societal change and I honestly struggle with that as well.

There is a lot of tension and some choose to escape it. I see more meaning in the struggle

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Do you think evolutionists are by definition unbelievers? I don’t go there.

That whole passage makes sense in light of what I quoted.

When people suffer, when people are murdered, don’t you want justice? How do you propose we find peace in the world? How do you propose we end evil?

I noticed that PD didn’t respond particularly substantially to my original points. Perhaps because it seems like we more or less agree on what this moral view is and what it implies. The above looks like exactly the view of morality I held for much of my life as a Christian. The sad thing is that there is no moral role for humans in the above view of the universe. As you say, literally any action could be rationalized in the present with appeals to some unknown and unknowable future good. I used to think of this God as a “cosmic utilitarian.”

What I eventually realized, though, is that this view seems to completely absolve humans of any responsibility to make independent moral judgments. All we must do is obey an all-powerful authority, and apparently without moral justification for that obedience. What you appear to be describing is essentially a pragmatic moral view, where humans obey God out of a selfish concern for our eternal fate. Ultimately, I found that view both personally and socially destructive.

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I may be human, but God is not, and God is omnipotent. That means it’s well within God’s power to communicate to us in such a way that we know with certainty it is Him. This isn’t a question of our power, but of God’s.

Would an omnipotent God be capable of telling humans to do evil things? Where does evil come from?

This is baseless. That entity could be malicious, or have both good and malicious characteristics.

You must tell us which God you are talking about, before we can even talk of whether that being is the origin of goodness.

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You ignored my question. If God told your neighbor to kill your family would you be OK with them being executed? It must be good because God commanded it, right? It’s well within God’s power to communicate such an idea to you neighbor, right? How would you tell if it wasn’t God talking to your neighbor but just your neighbor’s imagination?

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It is also well within the power of psychosis to convince us that we know with certainty that it’s God speaking to us. Fervent religious belief can have that effect, too. The bottom line is that you have assumed for yourself the right to decide whether to commit any act whatsoever. You’re the one deciding what God wants, and you’re the one choosing to act. History is filled with people who have thought this way. They are not a good company to join.

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I wonder why he is ignoring the question. If he believes God was right in killing the Egyptian firstborn kids, its not hard to publicly state he could shoot you if God told him to. He is avoiding the question because he knows the implications. Saying (and thinking) its right would make him no different from a suicide bomber who kills in the name of Allah.

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Humans obeying God out of a selfish concern for our eternal fate is not Christianity in the slightest. I can see why you’d reject that religion because it is proved false by logic.

Notice @PDPrice also liked my response, and you haven’t responded to it yet. The Character of God in the Bible - Peaceful Science

There is no such thing as an independent moral judgment. If you are acting independently of God, then you are by definition immoral. We depend upon God for our ability to be good.

All we must do is obey an all-powerful authority, and apparently without moral justification for that obedience.

Obeying God is, by definition, moral. No further justification is needed. If the Holy Spirit lives within you, then as you are progressively sanctified, your will will become more and more closely aligned with God’s.

Would an omnipotent God be capable of telling humans to do evil things? Where does evil come from?

Evil does not exist in itself, it is a corruption of what is good. Augustine laid that out very early on in the history of the church. Evil comes from rebellion against what is good. For God to tell someone to do evil God would have to contradict his own perfectly good nature, which cannot happen, just as the Scriptures say, God cannot lie.

Evolution is a godless doctrine by YEC standards, isn’t it? If you teach a godless doctrine, what will be your fate when Jesus comes?

Crimes should certainly be punished, but a large majority of non-Christians are nice people and haven’t harmed anyone, yet Jesus is going to kill them all. When he is done destroying their bodies, he will torture them forever in raging flames. Where is the justice in that?

I wouldn’t mind God wiping out extremists, rapists, murderers and other nefarious people. But he is also going to wipe out innocent unbelievers as well and that’s my quarrel.

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