Did God Really
MULTIPLE EXAMPLES OF BIBLICAL
God sends bears, lions and serpents.
#1: The God of the Bible displayed his sadistic tendencies
by employing a variety of other means to torment and kill people.
caused the earth to open and swallow entire families (Numbers 16:37-32); he used
fire to devour people (e.g., Leviticus 10:1-2; Numbers 11:1-2); and he punished
the Israelites with wars, famines, and pestilences (e.g., Ezekiel 5:11-17).
sent wild animals such as bears (II Kings 2:23-24), lions (II Kings 17:24-25),
and serpents (Numbers 21:6) to attack people; he sanctioned slavery (e.g., Leviticus
25:44-46); he ordered religious persecution (e.g., Deuteronomy 13:12-16); and
he caused cannibalism (Jeremiah 19:9).
The humanist author is now
just trying to pile it on, without providing any explanation of the examples he
brings up. Maybe he is thinking that if he brings up enough accusations, one of
them will be interpreted in a way that it might stick in someones mind.
we have are ten accusations that God has "tormented and killed people."
There is no context nor explanation accompanying any of these. You are to blindly
accept the assumption these are sadistic, and you are to use your imagination
to fill in the reasons why.'
Answering all of these means this will be a
long chapter. If you don't want to read it all, here is a summary. Each of these
punishments was just and appropriate for the crime. It is the same thing weve
seen over and over. God is not sadistic, He is fair and His punishments fit the
situation and circumstances.'
Now lets get into the details of
each accusation. Here are the first three scriptures the humanist references:
Numbers 16:37-32, Leviticus 10:1-2 & Numbers 11:1-2
I think there
is a typo in the verse numbers on the humanists web page. I think they are
referring to Numbers 16:31-35. Here is what it says:
he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open;
and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and
all the men who belonged to Korah with their possessions. So they and all that
belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and
they perished from the midst of the assembly. All Israel who were around them
fled at their outcry, for they said, The earth may swallow us up!
Fire also came forth from the Lord and consumed the two hundred and fifty men
who were offering the incense. Numbers 16:31-35
Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after
putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the
Lord, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of
the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. - Leviticus
Now the people became like those who complain
of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger
was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the
outskirts of the camp. The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed
to the Lord and the fire died out. - Numbers 11:1-2
Once we have
the rest of the story well see that, in every case, these punishments come
on people who have directly disobeyed God.
The tribe of Levi (Levites) had
been set aside by God for service to Him. The Kohathites were Levites who, when
the camp moved, had the job of carrying articles used in the Tabernacle. They
didn't like their work and began to covert the duties of the priests. Korah was
the grandson of Kohath. He stirred up a group of 250 men and challenged Moses
and Aaron's right to the priesthood. It was an open rebellion against Moses and
more importantly against God. Here is what Moses then said (Numbers 16:28-30):
said, By this you shall know that the Lord has
sent me to do all these deeds; for this is not my doing. If these men die the
death of all men or if they suffer the fate of all men, then the Lord has not
sent me. But if the Lord brings about an entirely new thing and the ground opens
its mouth and swallows them up with all that is theirs, and they descend alive
into Sheol, then you will understand that these men have spurned the Lord.
these people were "swallowed" by the earth was a one-time, supernatural
event that demonstrated that Moses was speaking the truth of God and they were
in rebellion against God. Such a dramatic death was necessary so the people, a
people who had just come out of idolatrous Egypt, would know God and His power.
Remember one of the major problems Israel faced after having just come out of
400 years in Egypt, is that they did not know God. They were familiar with the
Egyptian Gods. After 400 years under the dominion of the Egyptian Gods, they still
believed in those Gods. They needed to learn about the truth and power and authority
of the true God.
As is true today, the penalty for treason was death. God
chose this dramatic method of imposing the death penalty to demonstrate who He
was, and that He was not one of the powerless "gods" of Egypt.
People with Fire
The humanists do not say why this is a problem for
them. So I'm not sure how to answer in a way that specifically addresses the humanist's
The Bible does not give us a specific reason for God using a consuming
fire. God Himself is called a consuming fire in Deuteronomy 4:24 and
again in 9:3. In all of these cases the Hebrew word that is used means to utterly
destroy or consume.
Fire is also associated with God's wrath and frequently
associated with purification (refining fire), and that is what we are seeing in
Leviticus 10:1-2 and Numbers 11:1-2. Notice that these take place during the Exodus.
God's people have been freed from slavery in Egypt, but not their spiritual slavery
to idols. They long to return to Egypt (Exodus 16:3) and they even made a golden
calf (Exodus 32). A calf was one of the major Egyptian deities. God had to make
it clear that He is the one and ONLY God, and He did that through a dramatic display
of fire consuming those who had rebelled against Him.
God had laid out the
law and the consequences of disobeying the law. The death penalty was the appropriate
punishment for treason. God using fire demonstrated the need to cleanse the people
Ezekiel 5:11-17 - Wars, Famines, and Pestilence
given by the humanist is Ezekiel 5:11-17. This is a prophecy that is a repetition
of the prophecy in 5:2-3. The Jews had turned away from God. They had disobeyed
God in spite of His kindness; and they had even defiled the sanctuary, demonstrating
how totally wicked they were. A just punishment was coming. God would withdraw
his blessing from Judah, and even withdraw His glory from the temple (Ezekiel
10). Without Gods protection the Babylonians would conquer Judah, lay siege
to Jerusalem and conquer it. Sieges often lead to famine and disease in the city
that was under siege, and this was exactly what God was saying would happen. God
is warning Israel through Ezekiel, but the Israelites refuse to turn away from
evil and the prophecy becomes reality.
2 Kings 2:23-24 - God Sends Bears
a story about Elisha that is frequently cited as showing cruel and excessive punishment.
Here are the verses:
Then 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!
When 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
If you just quickly read these verses, it seems as though
God uses two bears to maul 42 kids who simply called Elisha a "baldy."
But, there's a lot more to the story. Let's go through this step-by-step:
notice the "lads" were not killed. Other translations say "mauled."
While some of the 42 may have been seriously injured, probably none of them died.
So if someone says the bears killed 42 people, as is frequently stated, that is
Also, how old were these "lads?"
Some Bibles even translate this as "children." But, thats not
an accurate translation. The Hebrew word used here can be translated as "children,"
but a more accurate translation would be "young adult.". These "lads"
were most likely in their late teens or early 20's old enough to know right
from wrong and to be held accountable for their actions.
What was the
reason this happened? Because they called the prophet "baldhead?"
That was a serious insult in those days. But no, that was not the main problem.
The reason God sent the bears was because they taunted him to "go up."
To understand what was happening we need some context:
This is Elisha the
prophet. Just before this Elijah the prophet had been taken by God directly into
heaven, carried up by a whirlwind. Elijah delivered God's words to the people.
He spoke with the authority of God. When Elijah spoke on behalf of God, it was
if he was God Himself was speaking. Elisha was his replacement, and that means
he also spoke with the authority of God.
Where did this take place? On
the road to Jerusalem near Bethel. Bethel was a center of pagan Jewish worship.
Idols had been set up there and the Jewish people of the Northern Kingdom were
told they did not need to go all of the way to the temple in Jerusalem. They could
worship right there in Bethel... and they did. So this city was the center of
false worship. This is where Elisha was headed.
So why was the taunt
of "go up" such a big problem? They were demanding that he prove
he was a prophet like Elijah, by demanding that he go up into heaven
like Elijah had just done. These were pagan followers of false idols mocking Elisha
in a way that made it seem he was not a prophet. Making it seem he was not truly
Elijah's replacement. To mock God's ambassador is to mock God. In addition, to
mock Elisha this way took away his authority and called into question his ability
to speak for God. He was about to enter the main center of pagan worship, and
it needed to be clearwith no doubt in anyone's mindthat Elisha spoke
for God. So God sent two she bears, and it became very clear that Elisha truly
was God's representative. It became very clear... undeniable... that Elisha spoke
...and lions II Kings 24-25
king of Assyria brought men from Babylon and from Cuthah and from Avva and from
Hamath and Sepharvaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the
sons of Israel. So they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities. At the beginning
of their living there, they did not fear the Lord; therefore the Lord sent lions
among them which killed some of them.
Lets quickly summarize
our relationship with God. He created us; He owns us; He can do whatever He wishes
with us. However, God is good. What He wants is for us to live with Him forever.
Accomplishing that is what the Bible is about.
In the section of scripture
the humanists reference Assyria has conquered the Northern Kingdom1, also known
as Samaria. Most of the Jews living there have been relocated to other cities
in the Assyrian Empire, and outsiders (Gentiles) have been moved in. But, the
new people did not know God. They worshipped other gods, and had no interest in
the true God. The just penalty for this is death. The Bible does not explain why
God uses lions, but He certainly has the right and the ability to do that. And
by using lions God brought that penalty in a way that got their attention.
might say these people had their own religion, why not just leave them alone?
They were happy with their beliefs. But that was not a good situation. Their believing
in something does not make it true. Sorry, but that's reality. Believing in any
god other than the one true God, the creator God of the Bible, leads to death.
God loves you and wants you to live. So, God chose to use lions to kill those
who brought false Gods into the land, so that many would understand who God is
and as a result have life.
...and serpents: Numbers 21:6
Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many
people of Israel died.
This is an event that happened while the
Israelites were wandering in the desert. The people were complaining that there
was no food nor water, and they were tired of eating manna. God had been taking
care of them, providing for them, and protecting them from their enemies. But
they had become impatient, and were complaining against God... no longer trusting
God. So God sent fiery serpents. And what happened? Here is verse 7:
the people came to Moses and said, We have sinned, because we have spoken
against the Lord and you; intercede with the Lord, that He may remove the serpents
from us. And Moses interceded for the people.
As a result of the poisonous
serpents the people realized they were doing wrong. They confessed, repented and
turned back to trusting the Lord. Mission accomplished.
In addition, God made
a way for the people to be saved from the serpent bites. He had Moses make a bronze
serpent and put it on a staff. Anyone who was bitten could just look at the staff
and be saved. Looking at the staff was an act of willan intentional act
a person had to do. This action demonstrated they believed the Lord, and that
is what saved them.
Next up... God Sanctioned Slavery: Leviticus 25:44-46
question for humanists... what is wrong with slavery? It's survival of the
fittest. So if I am fitter... I am stronger... what is wrong with my making you
my slave? After all, we're just chemicals. What's wrong with one bunch of chemicals
using another bunch of chemicals to benefit themselves?
as American early 19th century style slavery, is only a problem if human beings
have worth. We are created in God's image (Genesis 1:27) and that gives us infinite
worth. No human has the right to enslave another bearer of God's image. We belong
to God, and God only.
Based on humanists beliefs in evolution,
people are nothing more than random chemicals that came together to produce
life. Based on the Bible, people are Gods creation
made in His image,
created to live forever with God. With that foundation, lets now talk about
slavery. The humanist reference Leviticus 25:44-46:
for your male and female slaves whom you may haveyou may acquire male and
female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you. Then, too, it is out
of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition,
and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your
land; they also may become your possession. You may even bequeath them to your
sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves.
But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with
severity over one another.
Here's the problem... for us
the word slavery brings up an image of the race-based slavery in America in the
18th and 19th centuries. However, that's not what the Bible was referring to.
"Slavery" had a very different meaning to the people in the Bible. A
meaning mostly based on economics, not race. That's why some Bible translations
use the term "bond servant" instead of "slave." The "slavery"
of the Bible in no way resembled what we now know as slavery.
Bible strongly condemns slavery based on kidnaping. Kidnapping was the basis of
American slavery, and thus is strongly condemned by the Bible. The penalty for
kidnapping people to make them slaves was death.
who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall
surely be put to death. - Exodus 21:16
The New Testament also
condemns buying/selling slaves (1 Timothy 1:8-10). So when you see the word "slavery"
in the Bible, it is not talking about what we typically think of as slavery.
get some context. Start reading Leviticus chapter 25 beginning at a verse
earlier than the verses referenced by the humanists... say in verse 39, and you'll
see that Hebrew "slaves" were to be treated as family, and only serve
until a Jubelee year2. At that time they were to be released from all their obligations.
is also important to note that becoming a "slave" was voluntary.
It was initiated by the slave, not the owners. In those days there were no social
welfare programs. If you could not support yourself, the best option was to find
someone who would provide for your needs in return for your work. Many physicians
and lawyers were "slaves" and in some cases "slaves" could
become very wealthy.
Leviticus 25-44-46 is referring to people outside of
Israel who, unable to support themselves or possibly for other reasons, decided
to become a slave of an Israelite. The Bible condemns forced slavery
(Exodus 21:16), but provides a means for people to have shelter, food, and other
needs met (to be provided for) by becoming a slave.
if a slave ran away? Here is the answer in Deuteronomy 23:15, they must be protected
and not returned to their "master."
shall not hand over to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you.
is not the way we understand "slavery" at all. For the people in Israel
slavery was a way for the destitute to work for their food and shelter. In many
cases it was similar to the employee/employer relationship we have today. And
slaves were to be treated like family, not as property.
On the other hand
pagan slavery, such as Roman slavery, was brutal. Slaves were considered to be
the same as the ox that pulled a cart. The only difference was that a slave could
talk. The problem was that the Romans followed their own pantheon of gods and
rejected the God of the Bible... and how they treated slaves reflected that.
Topic: God Ordered Religious Persecution
do humanists think this is a problem? They are regularly involved in religious
persecution. They freely attack Christianity and the Bible. It is interesting
that the target of humanists is heavy skewed toward targeting Christianity. For
example, the information about Islam on their web site is basically friendly toward
Islam and there are no attacks on the Koran. The same for Buddhism and
Hinduism. Why is that? Might it be that Satans target is Christianity and
Gods word? (Did God really say
?) And Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism
are not attacked because they are part of Satans army?
a look at the scripture humanists reference in this accusation, Deuteronomy
If you hear in one of your cities, which
the Lord your God is giving you to live in, anyone saying that some worthless
men have gone out from among you and have seduced the inhabitants of their city,
saying, Let us go and serve other gods (whom you have not known),
then you shall investigate and search out and inquire thoroughly. If it is true
and the matter established that this abomination has been done among you, you
shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly
destroying it and all that is in it and its cattle with the edge of the sword.
What this is talking about is entire Israelite cities. Cities
that were given to the Israelites by God, whose residents were turning away from
God and worshipping pagan gods.
We have seen this over and over...
turning away from God and to other gods is a very serious issue. As described
here, the death penalty is appropriate and is frequently pronounced on those who
turn from God and worship idols.
The reason why the death penalty is
appropriate is that those who turn away from God tend to lead others away
from God. They lead others into spiritual death and an eternity separated from
God. To stop it from spreading, and prevent the eternal destruction of people,
God commanded that those cities who have turned away from him be wiped out. It
was the only way to save everyone else.
To a humanist this may not seem
reasonable. That's because they don't understand how serious this is. And
notice, the death penalty here only applies to those who once knew God and turned
away from God. These are people who once belonged to God, and have now become
children of Satan. People who once had life and now are walking dead, and who
are looking to seduce others into becoming walking dead. The death penalty is
the only reasonable way to save others from being snatched away from life.
this no longer applies today. We are under a new covenant in which we have the
Holy Spirit dwelling within us... holding us secure in our salvation. In Old Testament
times (Deuteronomy) they were under the law, including the prescribed ceremonies,
and they could bring condemnation on themselves by turning away from God.
Topic: God Caused Cannibalism - Jeremiah 19:9
I will make them eat the
flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they will eat one anothers
flesh in the siege and in the distress with which their enemies and those who
seek their life will distress them. - Jeremiah 19:9
We've talked about this
several times. First, this is a prophecy about what will happen if the people
of Israel do not change. As weve see over and over, God warns people and
nations about their coming judgment. If the people of Israel paid attention to
what God was saying, and turned away from their sin, they would not experience
this prophecy. But, they didn't listen to God.
In this prophecy God is
describing what will happen if Jerusalem is placed under a siege. Food will run
out and people will starve, some of them turning to cannibalism. Why does this
happen? Because God has withdrawn His blessings... He has withdrawn His protection...
and that has allowed Babylon (in this case) to put Jerusalem under siege. So yes,
in one sense God has caused the cannibalism because He is no longer protecting
the Jews from the armies of Babylon.
But, do the people deserve His protection?
Read verses 9:1-8. They have forsaken God. Rejected Him. Turned to other gods,
worshipping and sacrificing to other gods. So what does God do? He gives them
what they want. They've rejected Him, so He leaves them on their own. That is
fair and just. The consequences are a Babylonian siege that leads to starvation.
That is also fair and just. Why? Because it is the consequence of the people rejecting
God and going their own way.
CONCLUSION: God is not sadistic. His actions
and punishments are just and appropriate.
NEXT ACCUSATION: The
biblical God is also guilty of inflicting punishments that are grossly disproportionate
to the acts committed. In the American legal system, such disproportion violates
the U.S. Constitutions Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual
It is interesting that they reference the U.S. Constitution
as being a superior authority over God. The founders of our country, and the authors
of the Declaration of Independence, saw it the other way around... God is the
source of our rights and laws. Well, let's see if we can sort it all out. Start
reading the next chapter. The humanists are about to blast out another deluge