Friday, March 23, 2018

An Omni God And His Eternal Hell (2)

by Kenneth W. Hawthorne
The Bible presents its god, Yahweh, as having amazing supernatural characteristics:

1) Omniscient- It is claimed that this god knows all, past, present and future. One very interesting bit of knowledge that this god is claimed to have is found in Mt 7:13-14. This verse teaches that man's ultimate destination is either heaven or hell. And that this god knew before creating the first human, that if he went ahead with this plan to create man found in the Bible, that this version of man would be so flawed that most would wind up in hell.

2) Omnibenevolent- "All-loving, or infinitely good, usually in reference to a deity or supernatural being, for example, 'God'. Its use is often with regards to the divine triad, whereby a deity is described to be simultaneously omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent. This triad is used especially with the Christian god, Yahweh." ( And in conjunction with this alleged omni characteristic it is claimed in 2 Peter 3:9, that he doesn't want anyone to perish, i.e., wind up in his eternal hell.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

How Likely Is It? (4)

From the Errancy Discussion list, 5-4-97:

After the Israelites saw another demonstration of Yahweh's power 
when he afflicted Miriam with leprosy for daring to challenge the 
leadership of Moses, they traveled from Hazeroth and camped in 
the Wilderness of Paran. Surely, the people had seen enough by 
now to understand that their god Yahweh was all-powerful, able 
to provide them with their every need, and above all not to be 
crossed in any way, but such was not the case. While they were 
at Paran, Moses sent spies into the land of Canaan to "see the
land, what it is, and the people therein, whether they are few or 
many, and what the land is that they dwell in, whether it is good 
or bad, and what cities they dwell in, whether in camps or in 
strongholds, and what the land is, whether it is fat or lean, 
whether there is wood therein, or not" (Num. 13:17-20). At 
this point, rational readers of these stories can only ask, "Why 
would Moses, of all people, have sent spies into Canaan to find 
out all these things?" He had routinely met and chatted with the 
all-powerful Yahweh, who had already told him that Canaan was 
a land "flowing with milk and honey" (Ex. 3:8, 17), so are we 
supposed to understand that after all of the demonstrations of 
Yahweh's might and power, Moses wasn't quiet sure to believe 
him about the abundance of the land unless he had independent
confirmation from a band of spies? We also have to wonder why 
Moses would have been concerned about whether there was 
"wood therein," because the Israelites had been incinerating 
animals by the millions in the wilderness of Sinai, on an altar 
whose fire never went out, so if they could find enough wood 
for that in a desert wilderness, Moses shouldn't have been too
concerned about whether there was wood in the land flowing 
with milk and honey.

The Omniscient Yahweh Changes His Mind?

From the Errancy Discussion list, 12-24-98:

Exodus 32:7-14

Perhaps I did not make myself sufficiently clear; only 
in the rarest of instances is one justified in disobeying 
God or one of His prophets. These three instances are, I 
believe, the only such instances in the OT. Let's look 
briefly at them.


>A. Exodus 32:7-14: Although Moses resisted God, and God 
changed His mind, it is still possible that if Moses had 
stepped aside and allowed God to destroy that disobedient 
generation of Israelites, and start over again with just 
Moses and his immediate family, things ultimately might 
have turned out better all around, although there is no 
way of knowing for sure. So I cannot say for certain that 
Moses did the right thing in resisting God. After the same 
manner, God gave Israel a king when they rejected Him as 
being their only King, and wanted a king just like the 
nations round about.


Hold it, Michael! I may not be as learned and erudite as 
other posters, but I can tell when something's rotten. Why 
am I expected to believe that an omniscient, prescient, and 
omnipotent being like YHWH can be argued out of His intention 
by a former shepherd? Admittedly, YHWH was a bit out of sorts 
that day, acting like a child throwing a temper tantrum, but 
still, to lose an argument with a mere human?  What kind of 
god are you selling here?  This is a god who changes his mind?  
To use biblical language a god who can "repent"?

The incident that Michael referred to here is just one of many 
that could be cited to show the absurdity of believing that the 
Bible is the inspired work of an omniscient, omnipotent deity.  
I cited this example in my series of postings about a year ago 
that were intended to show the logistic impossibilities in some 
of the wilderness-wandering stories.  Few inerrantist attempts 
were made to resolve the many problems that I identified in those 
postings.  If Fitzpatrick keeps spamming us with cut-and-paste 
jobs, I'm going to forward those postings to him and ask him
to resolve the problems identified in them.

Farrell Till

Thursday, March 15, 2018

How Likely Is It? (3)

From the Errancy Discussion list, 5-3-97:

After the Israelites had seen Yahweh deliver them from the Egyptians by
parting the Red Sea so that they could cross on dry land and then sending
the water crashing in on the Egyptian army, they sang a hymn of praise to
Yahweh and turned inland to march across the Sinai, but they had traveled
only three days from the Red Sea when they began to complain because
there was no water to drink (Exodus 15:22-24).

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

How Likely Is It? (2)

From *The Skeptical Review*, 1993/July-August:

by Farrell Till 
When Pharaoh refused to release the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, the Hebrew god Yahweh performed wonders unlike anything the world had ever seen. Ten plagues were rained down on Egypt with the implication--and sometimes even direct statement--that the Israelites were spared the horrors of the plagues. When hordes of flies swarmed over Egypt, the land of Goshen, where the Israelites dwelt, was "set apart" so that "no swarms of flies [would] be there" (Ex. 8:22). Likewise, when the plague of murrain decimated the flocks of Egypt, the livestock of the Israelites was spared (9:6). When the hail came, which was more grievous than any hail that had ever struck Egypt (9:24), none fell on the Israelites in the land of Goshen (v:26). When darkness fell over the land, the Israelites "had light in their dwellings" (10:23), and when the firstborn of Egypt were struck dead, the firstborn of the Israelites were saved through the Passover ceremony.

To say the least, those Israelites witnessed some amazing miracles while Moses and Aaron worked to gain their release from bondage, but the wonders didn't cease when Pharaoh finally relented and gave permission for the people to leave Egypt. They saw Yahweh going before them in "a pillar of cloud" by day and in "a pillar of fire" by night (13:21). And these were not just occasional appearances that Yahweh made to the people, because "the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night departed not from before the people" as they marched out of Egypt (v:21).

Monday, March 12, 2018

How Likely Is It? (1)

The following is a very thought-provoking post by the late Farrell Till (1933-2012) from the Errancy Discussion list from May 2, 1997. I will be posting a lot of the comments of Farrell Till from the Errancy Discussion list and elsewhere. Till was a former Church-of-Christ preacher; and being a former member of the Church of Christ myself, I appreciate his perspective on the errancy of the Bible. I hope to preserve many of his scholarly, insightful thoughts on this blog:
The postings I have been sending about absurdities in the stories of the
exodus and subsequent wilderness wanderings have not been intended to
establish contradiction but to show that the stories are so obviously
unreasonable that no rational person can believe that they actually
happened. Since ancient literature in particular is characterized by
widespread references to miraculous events, the only reasonable way to
assess the events is to critically examine each one in terms of how likely
it is that such events did indeed happen. When this principle is applied to
the conduct of the Israelites throughout the exodus and the wilderness
wanderings, rational people must conclude that it is not very likely that
most of these stories happened as recorded in the Bible.

A detailed analysis of Israelite behavior during and after the exodus may
take as many as two or three postings, but before I begin them, let's first
make a comparison that will help illustrate the problem. [Note: Please find 
under the label, *How Likely Is It?*, a 13-part series entitled *Tall Tales of 
Wilderness Wanderings*, kwh] On this list, we have seen that biblical 
inerrantists will cling to their belief in their god and the inerrancy of the 
Bible no matter how much compelling evidence to the contrary is presented. 
When confronted with glaring biblical inconsistencies or discrepancies, 
they will simply fabricate some how-it-could-have-been interpretations and 
stubbornly insist that biblical errancy has not been proven. Not a one of 
them has ever seen their god, talked to him, or seen him perform miracles 
like the parting of the Red Sea, bringing water from rocks, sending manna 
from heaven, and such like, yet despite the absence of such convincing 
evidence as this, they still maintain their belief that this god exists and that 
he verbally inspired the Bible.

Only very rarely is the faith of an inerrantist shaken badly enough to cause
him to reject his belief. On the other hand, we have the Israelites who had
their god going before them in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night,
coming down and speaking to them, and performing all sorts of wondrous
miracles. Despite these amazing demonstrations of their god's presence
in their midst, they were constantly bellyaching and rebelling. My postings
that follow this one will be designed to show that it is not at all likely that reasonable people would have behaved as the Israelites did; hence,
it is not at all likely that these stories happened as they are recorded in
the Bible.

Farrell Till

Saturday, March 10, 2018

"God's" Inconsistency

They say that God says to me, "Forgive your enemies." I say, "I do;" but he says, "I will damn mine." God should be consistent. If he wants me to forgive my enemies he should forgive his. I am asked to forgive enemies who can hurt me. God is only asked to forgive enemies who cannot hurt him. He certainly ought to be as generous as he asks us to be. ~Robert Ingersoll