Sunday, August 11, 2013

An Unjust and a Loving God.

This post continues by looking at the traits of the gods.

Is God unjust?

Are the gods just? Based on what the Bible says it does not seem so.  We find the gods of the Old Testament to be partial, temperamental and full of revenge.

Cain and Abel each brought the Lord a gift.  We do not find that Cain went contrary to any given instructions, but we do find that the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. Gen. 4:4-5.  It is no wonder that Cain would have been angry at that time.  He had planted, grown and harvested something, just as God had told his father, Adam, to do.  Now that it was harvested, he was legitimately proud of it, and wanted to share it with the Lord; the Lord, however, refused Cain’s gift indiscriminate of Cain’s feelings.

The Apostle Paul asks this same question, Is there unrighteousness with God? Rom. 9:14. For an answer to his own question, he refers to the writings of Moses. He quotes, I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion. 

Moses had also written, Jacob I have loved the Lord said, but Esau I have hated.  Paul continues to answer his own question; Therefore, He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. In spite of all his arguments to the contrary, Paul concludes that the Lord is fair and just.

Without any disrespect intended, the question can be asked, what is more important to God; man’s happiness or His own personal glory?  Speaking to the Pharaoh of Moses’ time the Lord said, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. Rom. 9:17

For this purpose, namely, the glory of God’s name, Pharaoh and his army had to forfeit their lives.  From this incident, Paul draws this conclusion, what if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction. Rom. 9:22.  Jehovah has made all for His purpose; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Proverbs 16:4.

There is also the incident in the life of Christ, which clearly shows that God is more interested in his own glory than in the comfort of humankind.  His disciples asked Him (Jesus), saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. John 9:2-3.  It appears cruel that a man would need to endure many years of blindness just so that Christ would have someone to heal, thereby glorifying God; that is what the Bible says, happened.

There are also the persistent questions asked by atheists, agnostics and Christians.  If God can do anything and if He is love why is there so much suffering in the world?  Why are there so many wars?  Why do innocent children starve to death or why do they grow up in a world that is worse than death? 

If we insist on giving God credit for all the beautiful babies born into the world, then the blame for the overpopulation of the world also lies at His doorstep.  If, after having over-populated the world does He need to send tornadoes, earthquakes and bad weather to keep crops from producing to help control the overpopulation of the world?

Isn't it all a lot more logical to believe that nature is taking its course, as it will, and that Jehovah is not infinite and that He intervenes only when He has a direct interest in a certain situation?   At least, if we see it this way, we are not forced to believe that Jehovah is cruel.

Is God Love

The Bible teaches, beyond argument, that God is love.  Preachers have taught us that since God is love He always loves all people forever but He hates their sins.  This old, worn out cliche has been universally accepted, but is it really true?  The Bible declares, no, that is not true!

The story of Esau is a case in point.  Speaking for the Lord, Malachi, the prophet, wrote, Jacob I have loved; But Esau I have hated. Mal. 1:2-3.  Some newer translations of the Bible state it more softly, but the difference is really just a matter of semantics.  The statement still stands; God loves some people more than He loves others, and some He hates.

It is not a godlike characteristic to love humans. Their involvement is mostly with themselves and the gods want what is best for themselves.  However, the singular and outstanding quality that distinguishes Jehovah from the other gods is His moral uprightness and love for humans.  This is the strength of the teaching of the New Testament. God is love. 1 John 4:8. God so loved…that He gave. John 3:16.  In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:9.

Throughout ancient writings, we find that the gods demanded sacrifices of children. In many religions, it was the first born son in the family that the gods wanted to be sacrificed. 

It is recorded in the Bible that the followers of Baal practised human sacrifice and that the Hebrews when they quit following Jehovah, took up that horrible practice.  This was the way of the gods, and the gods were pleased that their followers were willing to give up so much for them.  Of course, the people were not willing to give so much, but in most cases, they were afraid of what the gods would do to them if they did not make that sacrifice.

One of Israel’s prophets told his people what Jehovah thought of that practice; In the Valley of Ben Hinnom they built places to worship Baal so they could burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices to Molech. But I never commanded them to do such a hateful thing. It never entered my mind that they would do such a thing and cause Judah to sin. Jer. 32:33 (NCV)

Jehovah hates human sacrifice, and He did have a plan that would end the need for all blood sacrifices.  It was a plan that would put all the other gods to shame.  Jehovah has only one Son and, because of His love for humans, He gave His Son as a sacrifice to the people of this world.  After Christ had sacrificed His life for the human race, which He did because of Jehovah’s love, the other gods were forced to admit defeat.  There was nothing they could do, that would outperform the action that Jehovah had just taken.  Because of His love, Jehovah had made the ultimate sacrifice.  

Perhaps, it was then, the gods repeated the words of the Psalmist, Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord; nor are there any works like your works. Psalm 86:8.  They knew that they could not rival a gift like that.  Mr Meek writes, Yahweh, it was true, was the supreme god by right of conquest. 
Hebrew Origins.Theophile James Meek, (Harper Torchbooks. 1960)

By love and sacrifice, He proved Himself to be the conqueror. One of the minor prophets, looking forward to a better day put that same thought into these words, On that day will the Lord be one and His name one. Zech.14:9.  

After the death of Christ, the other gods fade into insignificance, they have lost their role as contenders for the throne in the heavens.

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