Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Does God lie?

Im talking about the Judeo-Christian God, the God I believe in. I believe God can lie if he wants to, and if he does who's to call him on it? Certainly not me. But does he? The record shows that God is capable of doing some pretty nasty stuff, and the record itself is a charge sheet against God.

In several instances in the Bible, God had a direct hand in the deaths of several people: men, women, children, babies. In the book of Job, he and Satan colluded in the deaths of Job's 10 children and their servants. In the conquest of Canaan, God orders his people to spare no living thing, including their livestock and household pets. This was planned, premeditated mass culling of several people, some--if not most--of them certainly innocent, children and babies among the victims. In a legal sense this was murder; this was genocide--crimes against humanity. If he's capable of these deeds, lying can't be all that difficult for him.

In Hebrews 6:18 its says:
so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.

This is often used to show that it is impossible for God to lie and therefore doesnt. But a closer examination of the context of this verse shows that this isnt the case at all. This is clearer if you read the preceding verse before verse 18.
So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.

When the writer of Hebrews said it is impossible for God to lie, he was referring to the 'two unchangeable things,' namely, God's promise, and God's oath. In other words, if God is making a promise, he is not lying; if God is making an oath, he is not lying. Those are the only two things that the writer of Hebrews says is covered by the 'impossible to lie' clause. Everything else is open. For everything else, he can lie.

I asked an officemate, "If God ordered you to kill somebody, if he ordered you to kill several children in a mall, and you were 100% sure that it is God that's ordering you, would you do it?" He said, yes he will do it if he were absolutely sure it was God. He cited the case of Abraham whom God ordered to make a sacrifice out of his son, which was counted to him as righteousness.

"Therefore," I said, "you would have no problem at all should God order you to lie."

"None at all," he said. "If God orders someone to lie, then it must be because it will result in a greater good."

"If God can order you to lie, what would prevent him from lying himself, if it suits his purpose? If it will result in a greater good?" The answer of course is nothing. Nothing would prevent him from lying.

All these are hypothetical of course. Unlike God ordering people killed, and killing people himself (as he did with the first-born of the Egyptians--some of whom were innocent babies.), I dont know of anything in the record that says God or Jesus lied or ordered people to lie. The closest I can come up with is when Jesus said John 7:8 that he isnt going to the feast in Jerusalem, then when everyone else has gone, he went. But that wasnt really a lie. When he said he wasnt going, his reason was that his time had not yet come. Maybe his time to go came later.

Is there a fundamental difference between God killing people and God lying such that he can do one but not the other? The only thing I can think of is that God can unkill people, but he cannot unlie. If we humans are ready to charge him with murder, then all he has to do is bring us to the resurrection and show us the people that were killed all in the pink of health. No corpse, no murder. But the truth? Murder is a crime against a person, but lying is a crime against something more sacred. Lying is a crime against the truth. God will mess with me and you for whatever purpose, but he probably will not mess with the truth. He will not lie.


grifter said...

yeah he does. in Preacher he used to do it all the time (coming soon to HBO).

Jego said...

And soon after that, to your favorite pirated DVD store in Quiapo.

grifter said...

why wait for the DVD? download in less than 24 hours after each episode.

Jego said...

And keep waiting for the next episode? No way! I'd rather get the entire season. Tell me, hotshot. Would you rather wait til next week for the next episode of 24? Or would you prefer a DVD set of an entire season where you dont have to wait a week to find out what happens?

grifter said...

i watch every week. but 24 is the exception.