Can God murder? That is the question that ultimately drives proof number 22 from the website “God is imaginary”. “Count all the people God wants to murder”, is the phrase that frames the argumentation found here. Before reading any further, check this here, it will help to frame my response.
It is easy to draw out texts from the Bible, divorce them from their context, and point to them and make some foolish statements. Context is a key element to understanding much of the Bible, especially those parts where God draws a deep distinction between those that are His, namely the nation of Israel that He freed from the Egyptians and their corrupt, idolatrous ways.
The writer pulls out several texts, such as: Exodus 35:2, which calls for the death penalty for Sabbath breakers; Deuteronomy 21:18-21, which deals with rebellious family members; Leviticus 20:13, which makes homosexual behavior a capital crime; and Leviticus 20:10, which also makes adultery a capitol crime. All of these examples prescribe the death penalty, and leads the author to make the following statement,
“[…] if we actually listened to what God says, we would need to kill at least half of the people in America tomorrow.”
Now, I notice that the writer doesn’t seem complain about the death penalty for murderers (Exodus 21:14, 20), kidnappers (Exodus 21:16), reckless endangerment (Exodus 21:29), and rape (Deuteronomy 22:25-27), so I have to ask: is he or she approving of these while dismissing the others? See, for me, it’s a matter of consistency, and this is simple inconsistency.
Even the Apostle Paul drew a line so that people reflecting on the Mosaic code would understand what the understanding is supposed to be:
Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:32 ESV)
The writer of this proof shows no reflection on the argument that is being presented by the passages criticized, especially by not leveling the same accusations at those that I mentioned. But because the writer cannot be consistent, cannot be honest, cannot be bothered to understand what these texts mean, especially in the context of the Epistle to the Romans, it ends up logically spinning its wheels.
The writer says,
“There are two things in this that show you that God is imaginary. First there is the utter stupidity of these verses. Second there is this fact: if God were an all powerful being he would kill them himself.”
Well, let’s think this through: are they really as “stupid” as this person thinks they are?
Two of them deal with sexual purity, and let’s face it when STDs are as common as the cold, its something that we could use more of.
Now, yes, God could “kill them himself”, and if one looks through the Bible, especially in Genesis, to mete out justice: destroying wicked men by the flood (Genesis 6:9), by fire in Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19), a wicked son who refused his duty (Genesis 38), even killing the first born of Egypt (Exodus 11). But by the time we reach Exodus 35, something has changed; a nation is born, a nation that represents God among the nations of the world, a pure theocracy that is meant to understand who God is and what He requires: perfection. But let’s think for a second, if God “kills” someone, is He murdering them? No. Because death is just a door from one existence to another. And, keep this in mind, man is God’s creature, and because we are His creatures that means that God can do with us as He pleases, and there is nothing that we can do about it. But there’s something, in principle, that is wrong with the writer’s reasoning: can God not appoint representatives for himself? That’s what Paul says that He has done in Roman’s 13:1-7.
God, being sovereign, has the right to delegate responsibility to those whom He wishes, be they government authorities, parents, husbands, wives, even neighbors, to call people to live in righteousness. When we look at the Mosaic codes, we see a harshness that is meant to reflect God’s absolute standard, and the absolute responsibility of His creatures to hold to that standard. Now, the historic nature of the code, that it was for one people, at one time, namely the theocratic nation of Israel, explains why it is no longer in force, in it’s civic and religious contexts: that nation no longer exists. However, the moral principles that undergirds them is still relevant. So the writer’s conclusion simply does not follow, because it is making an argument that no Christian would make outside of that context.