Friday, July 17, 2009

What would the Police composite sketch look like?

God can kill you.

My discussion with Stan reminded me there are a vast number of Christians who believe this simple fact. God has the inherent, moral, absolute right, privilege and honor of killing you. Wherever. Whenever. However. They derive this belief from two concepts:

1) Since God made everything (including you)—he can destroy everything (including you.) This comes from Romans 9:18-24; verses where Paul writes humans have no ability to question what God does. He is the potter—we are the clay. If he wants to smash us, we are in no position to complain.

2) Because we are human, we have all sinned. Sinning is a capital offense. Just by existing, we live perpetually under Execution Orders for Capital Punishment. Orders that can be administered at any moment. Again, we only need to look at Romans 3:23—“all have sinned” in combination with Romans 6:23—“the wages of sin is death” to come up with this idea.

The concept—God can do what he wants, including killing humans—may be a nice philosophical defense, but when practically applied, Christians shy away from it.

There are instances, both in the Tanakh and New Testament, where God kills directly, or where God uses other humans to get the job done. Now, if God can do anything to humans, and God can use other humans—Can God rape?

Can God send a human to rape another human and it is perfectly acceptable? How can a Christian who believes this say differently? Remember—God is the potter. He can punch holes in the clay, destroy the clay or do whatever he wants.

God can kill humans; why get squeamish over whether he can rape ‘em?

See, “rape” is a loaded word. A word designed to raise heightened responses. If I say, “He took money from my account” this comes across much different than “He raped my account of my funds.” “Rape” is meant to draw response from those hearing the word.

And Christians don’t like the idea of their God raping. Sounds bad. Sounds undignified. But they can’t have their cake and eat it too—if a philosophical defense is that God can do what he wants by killing ‘em—why can’t he rape ‘em too? We don’t even have to look too far for examples. 2 Sam. 12:11 God tells David he will punish David by sending an adversary to rape his wives. (Not fair to the wives—being punished for David’s sin—but remember God can do what he wants with humans.)

Numbers 31:18: God gives virgin females of a captured nation to the conquering Israelite soldiers. No thought as to the forced sex about to occur. (Unless you are SO naïve to assume the Midianite females all wanted to be Israelite wives.)

A Christian with this belief, to be consistent, should concede God can rape you and that is just fine.

Another interesting facet of God destroying anything he creates is that, to these Christians, he doesn’t. Oh sure, he floods ‘em, (Gen. 6:17) burns ‘em, (Gen. 19:24), slashes them with a sword, (Numbers 31), and gives them the plague. (1 Chro. 21:14)…but he doesn’t destroy the soul.

That thing he keeps alive for all eternity to torture. Think about it—at some point, in this belief, a human physical body becomes attached to a soul. While God can cause massive damage to the physical part, he never destroys the soul part.

Why not? Why does this God restrain itself from destroying the whole thing?

Another interesting facet is that God never seems to use the excuse, “Hey, I can kill you because I made you. Get over it.” In the stories of God killing (or having other humans killing) there always seems to be reason beyond “humans can die.”

In Gen. 6:5-7, God doesn’t like how evil humans have become and decides to send the Flood. He doesn’t say, “Hey, I can kill ‘em, ‘cause I made ‘em.” No, the authors create a moral reason to do so.

In Numbers 31:2, God justifies killing the Midianites as revenge. 1 Sam. 15:2 God justifies killing the Amalekites as revenge. 2 Sam. 12:14 God justifies killing a baby as punishment for David’s sin. Ananias and Sapphira are killed for lying. Acts. 5:3.

If God can kill when he wants—why does he have to provide justification for doing so? The Bible would be a great deal shorter. “God killed the Amalekites, because he can. God killed the Midianites, because he can. God sent fire and brimstone, then flooded the village, then a stampede, an earthquake, volcano AND a disease. Because he can.”

Further, I wonder about why Christians pray for victims of natural tragedies. Tsunamis, Earthquakes and Hurricanes. If God wants those people dead—can’t he kill them? Who is the Christian to pit themselves against their God. I would think, to be consistent, preachers of this belief should be thrilled to bits about God doing what God does best—whacking away needless, excess humanity.

And why complain about a rape—maybe God is just doing his God-thing? Or a disease? Or a strife?

A great philosophical defense. Practically, it breaks down as no Christian that I have met thinks God can rape.

If your God can kill humans because he is God—he can rape them too. He can do whatever he wants. He is unbound by any moral obligation whatsoever in our interaction.

4 comments:

  1. When God acts with "justification" He is instructing us on our moral rules.

    <shrugs> The point of Christian moral philosophy is to justify the moral authority of the priesthood and theologians, not God.

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  2. **This comes from Romans 9:18-24; verses where Paul writes humans have no ability to question what God does. He is the potter—we are the clay. If he wants to smash us, we are in no position to complain.**

    It's interesting watching when and how this argument is used. Yes, if you create something, you are entitled to how that creation is treated. Hence the analogy of only a painter can destroy his own work of art. Or only the potter can determine when and how the clay is used.

    It's also a very impersonal analogy, essentially reducing what people are to something flat. A painting or clay has no conscious, no emotions, no "soul," if you will. So if something like that gets destroyed, while people might mourn the loss of a great work of art, the loss for most people is nowhere near what the loss would be of another person. Especially another person you had a hand in creating, such as a child.

    Yet I try to reverse this analogy, in terms of God's love. Saying that God loves you as much as the potter loves the clay he's molding really reduces the impact of the love. Saying that Jesus came to die for essentially what is a painting or clay lessens the impact of the sacrifice. It lessens the worth of the person.

    It seems like people only become something like clay when an explanation is required as to why God kills people. If God is allowed to kill because He is the potter and we are the clay, shouldn't that mentality also affect the manner in which God loves? Or has compassion? Or even cares about His creation?

    **He can do whatever he wants. He is unbound by any moral obligation whatsoever in our interaction. **

    I guess it comes down to how good is defined. If God is the source of all good, and thus defines what is good ... how do we get a situation where it doesn't descend into "This is bad because God says so?" We can say that God can't order someone to be raped because that order is an evil act, but if God is what defines what is and is not evil ... then isn't "evil" basically the same as "whatever God says?"

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  3. A very thought provoking post. I'm sure Christians won't be happy about it in the least, but you'll get no arguments from me.

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  4. Ah, you made me laugh. XD

    Good article. :)

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