Hey, good afternoon to you! And welcome to another episode of The Spotlight!!! I hope you enjoyed the last piece about why Christians should stop saying ‘God is in Control’. I would have loved to read your thoughts on the matter… In case you missed it, do check it out after this.
Well, today’s piece is definitely intriguing and thought provoking. The Authour of this particular piece is a frequent reader and commenter on my blog; not as a Christian, but as a deconvert of the Faith. We’ve come to know ourselves pretty well, I think, though we have little agreement on anything. For a while, I’ve been saying he is an Atheist, but he has always insisted that he is not… In today’s post, he actually admits that when it comes to the Christian Faith and the God of the Bible, he is an Atheist, but in regards to whether there is a different unknown god, he is Agnostic. Ummm… I suppose that is progress.
He goes by the name Mike, and blogs at www.recoveringknowitall.wordpress.com. His tagline is “The man who learned too much and lived to tell“. Nice one. I follow his blog under my list ‘Alternative Thought’, because I believe we can always learn from people who think differently from us, and also, I am always keen to sharpen my critical skills, and grow in understanding. He and several other Atheistic bloggers have actually inspired several of my posts on this site.
So, to the topic: THE GOD OF THE INNOCENTS. This is a very interesting post, looking at God’s punishment of David’s sin, by killing of the child born to him and Bathesheba. Mike takes us through the chapter with a critical analysis, from what I would suppose is a humanistic perspective. The post challenged me because I HAD NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT IT LIKE THAT.
I just figured, God is God, and He does what He wants…and all His judgments are fair. When I have read this story, I never really thought about the child suffering for seven days, of whatever illness God plagued him with. My lesson was also David’s lesson, which was that God was in control, and if He wanted to spare the child, He would have. I never thought God was unfair because it was the child who died and not David. So, this post kind of took me out of that “of course God” mentality for a second to ask “why God?”
Here is an excerpt. Please click on the link above, read and share your comments with Mike as you are inspired to, and do come on back over here… I’ve got more thoughts on the topic 🙂
“And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord . And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.”
The Biblical God acquits the guilty. There is no mention of an Atoning Sacrifice for Sin here or anything other than David’s confession of guilt and God’s acceptance of David’s contrition. You see, God can indeed ‘just forgive’ if He wants to.
“Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.”
Maybe there is a sacrifice after all. Perhaps the child is the sacrifice. But ‘Human Child Sacrifice’? This doesn’t seem like the Lord God of the Bible, does it? (See Genesis 22 or read up on jepthah)
“And Nathan departed unto his house. And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.”
Okay, so you’re back? Did that challenge you? Did you leave thinking “God was so wrong to have done that” or “God has His reasons”? Why do you suppose God did what He did?
Let me share my thoughts. After reading this post, I was reminded of a tweet I shared not too long ago.
This was like some sort of a revelation, at the time I shared it. I was thinking, at the time, how the value we place on our lives here and now is often what hinders us from believing in God and eternity. And I think this is the fundamental flaw of Mike’s analysis. This life is all he knows and values. But in Christianity, we called to DIE before we can live… We are called to forsake all in this life for the gift and glory of eternal life. So, we have completely different perspectives on this.
I think the reason I have never cried, and will never cry for this child (which Mike believes is fictional), is because I believe that he is already in a better place (Matt 19:14). This life, here on Earth, is over-rated! In the words of the wise Preacher, “All is vanity!” (Eccl 1). Yes, it is good and it is a gift from God, and every human life is precious and their continued existence ought to be protected. But here it is, the thing Atheists can’t seem to get their heads around – God is the only one JUST to take away what He is the only one able to give. We are all appointed our times and seasons, and however long or short, all we can say is “Thank You, Lord!”
Surely, being born to a king, this child would have lived a GOOD life, compared to most. He would probably have become king himself later. He had as much potential for good and evil, and really, whatever he would have done with his life is only speculation. Whether or not he would have lived a life worth living, or if he would have been a tyrant of a king, we really don’t know. But God made the call to take him from David, for a higher purpose. And I trust God – which is the bottom line.
The other thing I only considered while writing this post was, if God had killed David or removed him from the throne, how much better would that have been for the Israelites? David was a tool in God’s hands that He still had plans for, and David was a warrior King, who lived in the time of great conflict, but through whom God brought peace and unity to Israel, so that when Solomon took the throne, the land was in peace. Perhaps God should not have killed the child and punished David another way, but I do not have all knowledge like God to dare to sit in judgement of Him, and must trust that He knew best.
If there is one thing I would make an issue with, it would be the command to go to war, and to kill and annihilate whole civilisations, which God gave severally. I recall that Abraham also had this issue with God, when His angels visited him to tell him of His plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. I know why God did it (the same reason you don’t cut off weeds, but pull them out, roots and all), but I really wish there had been another way prepared then.
One innocent child dying at the judgement of God, I can understand… Wars and slaughter of whole civilisations for land, I don’t really. It doesn’t fit with Jesus’ teaching on loving your enemies and turning the other cheek. As I am reading the Bible again, I’m praying that God will shed more light on these things for me.
Okay, back to the issue of God taking the child’s life, and the value placed on the human experience. Who placed the value on humanity…God or Man? Of course, the Creator assigns value to His creation (Rom 9:21-23), but just like in the market place, we all assign value to our lives and that of others by the respect we accord ourselves and show to others. Some sell themselves short, and others are forcibly enslaved (mentally or physically) by those who feel superior. The concept of a universal “right to life” is relatively new, and still evolving.
I think that even today, a king’s life is considered as valuable as that of all his subjects combined! The reasoning goes that without his leadership to unite and guide them, they would all certainly fall into chaos, mischief and peril. So rather one perish for the good of all, than the king perish…even when he falters, as all men do. I guess that is why treason has always been a grave crime, not only against the king but against the People. This is a social concept of “the greater good”, and shows that all lives are truly not equal in reality.
The truth is we all make judgement calls on the value of human life every day by the way we treat the living; whether near or far, friend or foe, sinner or saint, rich or poor, black or white etc. Evidence shows that the value of human life is both immeasurable and inconsistently applied. Doctors make judgments on this all the time, especially in hard labour, and many times, it is not the most vulnerable that is given a chance to survive. It has also always baffled me how Atheists or Humanists would make an issue with God about His right to take life at will, and yet condone abortion for those who are inconvenienced by the life of another human being. But that’s a whole other kettle of fish.
So talk to me… Has this post given you a new perspective on Christianity and the God of the Bible? What about the value we place on humanity? Do you think that such accounts are proof that Jehovah is fictional or is there a different perspective on this you would like to share?
Photo credit: vilesactionsblogspot.com
If you like this post, you might like THE SPOTLIGHT: ON DISCERNMENT, DOUBT AND ATHEISM
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