In regard to your article about Genocide in the O.T., I would have to believe that the LYING PEN of the scribes have attributed to God, words and events that He is not responsible for. Not only did God NOT murder people in the Old Testament era, he NEVER asked Abraham to commit child sacrifice as a "test" of his faith. To believe in the worldwide flood of Noah myth, is just as preposterous as believing that God killed all the first born of Egyptians, while "passing over" those who pasted blood upon their door posts. In the Ten Commandments we read that God said "You shall not kill" and "You shall not steal" and "You shall not covet anything that is your neighbors" (such as land or daughters). Are we to believe that God actually commandedthe ancient children of Israel to murder their neighbors, steal their land and "save all the virgins for yourselves", while making commandments against such unconscionable deeds in the Ten Commandments? Was God confused or is the "Old" Testament a book overrun with myths and the LYING PEN of the scribes? It was Jesus Christ who said "IF you have seen Me, you have seen the Father" and "I and my Father are ONE." To believe that the Old Testament defines the Father is ludicrous. It is Jesus Christ who defines the TRUE character of the Father and NOT the O.T.. It is impossible to believe what Jesus taught and His personal role model, and at the same time believe the O.T. is infallible and inerrant. I can only believe that "Christians" who proclaim they are followers of Jesus Christ, and who at the same time believe O.T. atrocities attributed to God are valid and authentic, simply DO NOT believe what Jesus taught. Even the book of "Revelation" defies what Jesus taught as recorded in thefour Gospels. There is no possible way that "the Bible is infallible and inerrant." Such words as "God said", "God spoke", "God commanded", "God anointed", "Godinspired" and so forth DO NOT and CAN NOT prove that God is indeed theauthor. Any writer can make any claim and attach such words as "thus saiththe Lord" to what the writer or speaker says, but that is NOT proof ofauthenticity. Men have always placed words in the mouth of God that He never spoke, and most likely even placed words in the mouth of Jesus Christ (as recorded in the four Gospels), that He never spoke. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God", DOES NOT and CAN NOT define what "all scripture" is. Men could write another sixty-six volumes, add those to "the Bible", and still proclaim that "the Bible is infallible and inerrant", and it would be totally untrue. No one believes in Jesus Christ except by FAITH, because none of us are personal witnesses to anything from Genesis to Revelation. To proclaim that "God is LOVE" to this world, and at the same time try to convince the world that Old Testament barbarity is an expression of the "love" of God, is proof of how the church world is so totally indoctrinated that there is no common sense or reason to this kind of thinking. No wonder so many ex-church goers turn to atheism, and even some ex-pastors. Answer: Yours are some strong comments, to be sure. I am trying to respond to your comments, but it is difficult. You make speculative statements but do not back them up with facts. I do not say this to be critical. You certainly can express any opinion you like, but I try to write answers based on evidence and facts, so it is hard to respond.
For example, you say that " the LYING PEN of the scribes have attributed to God, words and events that He is not responsible for." I do not know the evidence you use to make this claim. I believe that the historical accuracy of the Old Testament writers is rather strongly supported by the evidence. Even if you do not accept this, your statement is hard to respond to as it seems to be just an opinion. Personally, I do not believe that the person who wrote 1 and 2 Samuel was a liar, although it is possible he or she got some of the historical details wrong. It is also possible that his or her biases entered into what was written, but I do not believe there was outright lying in the things which were written. Your claim that the OT writers are liars cannot be substantiated and is inconsistent with the historical accuracy of the Old Testament.
I have written extensively on the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Would you be willing to read what I have to say? I would be encouraged if you will. The book is "From Shadow to Reality." You can get a copy from www.ipibooks.com In this book I make the case that the OT is physical foreshadowing of the spiritual reality in the New Testament. For me, this clears up a lot of the questions you raise in your letter. The God of the Old Testament, like the God of the New Testament is a God of patience, kindness and love, but also one who will judge sin and sinners who do not repent. Salvation, both in the OT and NT is by faith in God, not by a sufficient number of good deeds. Because the OT is primarily in the context of physical things and the NT is primarily about spiritual things, at first glance there seems to be an inconsistency, but if one investigates more carefully, the apparent discrepancy is not a real one.
About the flood and the Passover, I will agree with you that if we assume that miraculous, supernatural events definitely do not happen, then these events are "preposterous." I believe the evidence for the supernatural is sufficient that I do not find these events preposterous. Of course, the evidence for the supernatural is another subject altogether! God did not ever give permission for murder. Anyone reading the OT and reaching this conclusion probably has not read carefully. It was God’s plan (at least as described in the Old Testament… you may reject the entire idea of God having a plan, but…) to choose a person, in this case Abraham, and a people, the Israelites, and to give them a land and a book, with the eventuality that he would prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. In order for Israel to have a land, it was quite literally impossible not to take territory and have an army. I, too, find it hard to accept that God allowed them to have an army and to conquer people in order to take the land, but God definitely did not authorize murder, which is the taking of a life for personal, selfish reasons. I agree with you that this is a difficult issue, yet given that God is our ulitmate Judge, I believe he had a right to give Israel a land and for them to defeat the people who were burning babies and having sex with prostitutes as their form of worship. Men have always placed words in the mouth of God that He never spoke, andmost likely even placed words in the mouth of Jesus Christ (as recorded inthe four Gospels), that He never spoke.
Again, it is hard to respond to this claim. It is simply an opinion without evidence. I believe that the evidence for the inspiration of the Bible is absolutely overwhelming. Are there difficulties? Yes. Can I prove that every single word in the Bible is inspired? No I cannot, but for me at least, the evidence for inspiration (fulfilled prophecy, historical accuracy, types and prefigures fulfilled, efficacy of the Christian world view and many more) is sufficient for my faith to fill in some of the gaps.
John Oakes, PhD Anyway, I am guessing that my few comments will not assuage your doubts, but at the very least I hope you will pick up a copy of my book. Perhaps you will find it interesting. Sincerely, John Oakes