Wednesday, September 11 2019
“The God of the Bible condoned and commanded genocide, so those who believe and worship God are morally depraved.” Any atheist making accusations against God has no moral ground to stand to make any judgment of anyone. The world saw the mass murder of 60–120 million people by various regimes in the 20th century spawned from atheistic ideology.
The Creator of the universe must be the source of morality and of any real purpose and value for humanity. Many antagonists assert that God commanded mass murder via genocide in the Bible. They reinterpret the Bible to reject it, and so they forfeit honesty and lose credibility from the start.
Some may initially think that the atheistic position has some valid points. However, God commanded, “You shall not murder” (Exod 20:13 ESV). God commanded that people love their neighbors as themselves (Lev 19:18). God defined murder, “Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked” (Exod 23:7). From the beginning, God condemned murder when Cain murdered Abel (Gen 4). After the Flood that killed almost all of humanity, God declared, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image” (Gen 9:6). The divine likeness of humanity’s nature gives transcendent value to every person making every murder a sin against God (Gen 1:26–27).
Regarding the Flood, the wickedness of humanity brought suffering and destruction upon them including their children (Gen 6:5–9). Many take a position like Abraham pleading with God not to kill the righteous with wicked, but God can take the lives of the innocent without being unjust (Gen 18:25). For God to take the life of a child is like a parent moving a child from one place to a better home. God does no injustice for taking the children of wicked parents because the children are safe to have life in the kingdom of God (Matt 18:10; 19:14).
God did not command Israel to murder the children of wicked nations. God instructed Israel to offer peace to surrounding nations by requiring tribute and service (Deut 9:5; 20:10–15). God also commanded Israel to drive out and so destroy the nations of Canaan for their wickedness that included child sacrifice (Deut 20:16–18; cf. Gen 15:16). God commanded Israel to “put to death” corrupt nations by driving them out. Adam and Eve’s death was by removal from Eden and consisted of the same words for putting to death man, woman, and child of corrupt nations by driving them out of the land (Gen 2:17; 3:22–24; Josh 6:21; 1 Sam 15:2–3).
God’s instruction to destroy the Amalekites by killing man, woman, child, and animal was a hyperbole, an exaggerated command, meaning to drive them from the land (1 Sam 15:2–3). The Amalekites continued to live after this command was not fulfilled. Did God command Saul to lead Israel and actually murder the children of Amalekites? That does not agree with God’s fundamental nature of love or His basic commands to love others (Exod 34:6–7). On a prior occasion, Israel protected women and children at Baal Peor, and Moses commanded the execution of the guilty women and the males hiding among the children (Num 31:10–11). Some have mistakenly thought that the execution of these males included children. However, Philo and Josephus reported their historical account of Israel at Baal Peor and that Israel did not kill children.
Without God, moral absolutes cannot exist. However, moral absolutes do exist. Therefore, God lives! God’s love is steadfast (Exod 34:6–7). God is love (1 John 4:8, 16).
Sunday, September 08 2019
“You believe in god who is an immoral monster because your god permits slavery.” This is the accusation of atheists and the secular world promoting such an agnostic, negative, and distorted view of God in classrooms, in movies, and the internet. Secularism is in full attack on the Christian faith accusing the God of the Bible and Christianity for bringing chattel slavery to the world. However, slavery existed in every nation throughout the world when Great Britain and the United States were passing Slave Acts and ended unjust slavery by Christian influence.
The Bible condemns enslaving others. Paul observed in 1 Timothy 1 that the Law is just for condemning the stealing of men as Paul wrote this in reference to the sin of enslaving others (1 Tim 1:10). The Law of Moses taught, “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death” (Exod 21:16 ESV; cf. Deut 24:7). Enslavement was a serious crime against God’s Law that is worthy of death.
The Law of Moses commanded that no one return runaway slaves. Moses instructed, “You shall not give up to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. He shall dwell with you, in your midst, in the place that he shall choose within one of your towns, wherever it suits him. You shall not wrong him” (Deut 23:15–16). The Bible does not permit unjust slavery.
The Bible is no more wrong than every nation who forces criminals and debtors to labor to pay their debts. God did and does permit a just form of bond-service for thieves and war captives (Exod 22:2–3; Lev 25:44–46; Deut 20:10–15). The U.S.’s 13th Amendment did not make all slavery illegal and reflects the biblical position on slavery when it states, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, […].”
Some assert that the Bible grants bondservants no rights. However, Moses commanded, “When a man strikes the eye of his slave, male or female, and destroys it, he shall let the slave go free because of his eye. If he knocks out the tooth of his slave, male or female, he shall let the slave go free because of his tooth” (Exod 21:26–27). God also commanded the execution of those who murdered bondservants (Exod 21:20–27). Furthermore, sexual relationships with bondservants were forbidden unless by free-will marriage and the spouse must treat the other as a spouse and not as a servant (Lev 19:20; cf. Exod 21:9–11). Bondservants did represent the money and property that they paid for them to cover their debts, but this did not remove their rights (Exod 21:21).
The Law commanded that no one oppress anyone from another land and ethnicity (Lev 19:34; Deut 24:14). Some Israelites could sell oneself as a bondservant to work for no more than seven years (Lev 25:10, 39–40). God commanded the managers to treat those sold as hired servants and not to rule over them ruthlessly (Lev 25:39, 43). When a servant was released, the Law of Moses commanded the manager to send them away with abundant supplies of flocks, wheat, and wine (Deut 15:12–14).
The New Testament Scriptures warned masters to give fairly to their servants (Eph 6:9; Col 4:1). The apostle Paul taught that the slave and the freedman are nothing but one in Christ (Gal 3:28; cf. Phile). Paul encouraged bondservants to seek freedom but otherwise to obey their masters (1 Cor 7:21–24; Col 3:22; 1 Tim 6:1–2; 1 Pet 2:18).
Everyone is a slave to something or someone. Whether in bondage or free, Christians are no longer slaves to sin but bondservants to Jesus Christ (1 Cor 7:20–24; 12:13; Gal 3:26–28). For this, Christians thank God and rejoice!
Thursday, September 05 2019
“A loving God would not create Hell for people whom He foreknew would do evil.” Why not? As the Creator and Source of everything, God is the Source of all justice. God is just to send those who do evil and live in rebellion against God to Hell (Matt 13:37–43). God also graciously provides a way that all may turn from evil. God loves all and wants everyone to repent and be saved (1 Tim 2:4; 2 Pet 3:9).
God created humanity with free will and yet humanity sins. All have sinned (Rom 3:23; 5:12). Sinners kindle their own fire (Isa 50:11). Each person's actions condemns oneself to Hell (John 3:18–20; Rom 2:1–11; 5:12, 16, 18). For eternal sins, there is no injustice for those who reject God to receive eternal condemnation. Those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel “will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thess 1:9 ESV).
Jesus preached more about Hell than anyone in the Bible. Jesus taught an eternal punishment as He declared, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt 25:41b). Jesus reported, “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matt 25:46). Jesus confirmed Isaiah's description of an unending Hell, “where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48; cf. Isa 66:24). He proclaimed that Hell is just, and each unrepentant sinner will receive their just stripes (Luke 12:47–48).
The apostle John revealed that Hell is torment without rest existing forever for those who worshipped the Beast, a violent persecutor of the church. John noted, “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name” (Rev 14:11).
Eternal Hell is justified for eternal sins. The eternal God made every human in His likeness. People profane the holy nature of the eternal God by sinning and rejecting everlasting life from God’s Son, so they as eternal spirits separate themselves from God for everlasting punishment. The person who continues to sin willfully “has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace” (Heb 10:29).
Eternal punishment is right for sins committed in and against one's body. Hell is not merely spiritual but also a bodily torment. Jesus warned, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:28; cf. Mark 9:41–48). Jesus confirmed that the wicked will bodily resurrect to condemnation (John 5:28–29; cf. Dan 12:2).
Many people dismiss God and choose Hell because they love sin (John 3:19–20). The real reason that people judge God and dismiss an eternal Hell is for their agnostic, negative, and distorted view of God and Christ. They judge God as a mere person rather than the eternal Being, the Creator of everything, and the Source of all goodness. One must have an ultimate and objective moral standard to judge the holy God, but God is the only absolute standard. A person’s arbitrary morals will not stand before God.
God loves all people while yet sinners, and Jesus came and died for all (John 3:16; Rom 5:8). By Christ, repentant believers have hope of resurrecting to eternal life (John 6:40; Rom 8:23–25; Titus 3:7). Thank God for sending Jesus, "the Christ," to save us from an everlasting Hell!
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Every Wednesday night 7-8 PM, we have Bible lessons, crafts, games, and snacks for grades K-6.