Sunday, January 4, 2015

Fifteen Questions

by Kenneth W. Hawthorne

These fifteen questions were presented to a Church of Christ preacher in 2011. He has made no attempt to answer them:

1. To what purpose does the New Testament teach that Yahweh created man, knowing that he would be sending the vast majority (multiplied billions) to suffer eternally in hell [Mt. 7:13-14]? (note: the word Yahweh is a transliteration of a Hebrew word for God).

2. How do you explain that an allegedly perfect and complete God (therefore, needing nothing) would allow this ghastly eternal misery to happen for a purpose that was not necessary?

3. Do you think Yahweh made a responsible choice in allowing this horrendous eternal tragedy to happen?

4. You were asked, do you believe that it could be said, with any believability, that I loved a child I allowed to come into the world knowing ahead of time this child would be tortured for eternity? You answered, "No." Do you believe that it could be said, with any believability, that Yahweh loved billions of children he allowed to come into the world knowing ahead of time these children would be tortured for eternity?

5. You correctly said that the Creator is greater than the creature. But since Yahweh allowed this inconceivably horrific tragedy to happen to multiplied billions of children, how can it be said, with any believability, that he is better than a human who wouldn't allow even one child to come into the world knowing ahead of time that child would be tortured for eternity?

The following ten questions were presented in their unrevised form subsequent to and with consideration given to the following quote from a Church-of-Christ website: "God has told us about [hell] because He doesn't want us to go there.":

1. You say that "God has told us about [hell] because He doesn't want us to go there." But he didn't tell Israel in the Old Testament about hell. Does that mean he wanted them to go there?

2. Since Yahweh knew, before he created the first human, that the overwhelming majority of his flawed human creation would be going to his eternal hell, and you say he told us about hell because he doesn't want us to go there; considering the New Testament (NT) teaching that few will miss going to hell, how much different would it have been if he had wanted us to go to hell?

3. If he doesn't want us to go to hell then why did he create man in the first place, knowing the vast majority would go to hell?

4. The Bible teaches that Yahweh has the following attributes: all powerful, all knowing, all-wise, loving, compassionate, merciful, sovereign, complete and perfect. You said that Yahweh doesn't want us to go to hell. If this is true and he has these attributes, he not only wouldn't have wanted man to go to hell, he couldn't have wanted man to go to hell and could have and would have come up with a plan whereby no humans would have wound up in an eternal hell. However, the NT teaches that Yahweh didn't do this, rather, he chose to create man, knowing that he would be sending the vast majority to suffer in his eternal hell (his "ultimate will", as you have called it). What is your explanation for this obvious inconsistency?

5. If Yahweh knew that the vast majority of his weak, error-prone human creation would wind up in his eternal hell if he went with the "plan of salvation" revealed in the NT, and if Yahweh is the sovereign God (def., sovereign: 6. having supreme rank, power, or authority., therefore answering to no one, he can't be forced to do anything against his nature, and if his nature is that he doesn't want us to go to hell, why didn't he create only those he knew would go to heaven and avoid the catastrophe of multiplied billions of his beloved creation suffering eternally in his hell?

6. If Yahweh is the sovereign God and he doesn't want us to go to hell, why didn't he truly create man in his image with the inability to sin, and thus avert an unbelievable eternal tragedy? If it doesn't detract from Yahweh's character to be unable to sin, why would it detract from man's?

7. When a choice is made, it tells us something about what is wanted and what is valued by the one making the choice. Since Yahweh chose not to do either one of these but could have--because of his sovereignty--what is a rational person to understand about what Yahweh wanted?

8. Why do you think Christians extol the virtue of Yahweh for "...lov[ing] the world so much, that he gave his only son..."(John 3:16 Phillips Translation), when he knew that it would be a failed mission, irresponsibly allowing the vast majority of humanity to suffer eternally, when if he has all of the divine attributes the Bible alleges him to have, and if he really loved the world so much, not only would he have willed that no human be sent to an eternal hell--he would have actually accomplished that will?

9. If Yahweh doesn't want us to go to hell, and he is infinitely "holy" and finite sinning against him is such an infinitely terrible thing deserving punishment in his eternal hell, then how could he, with all of his alleged divine attributes, put what he knew was a humanity that was so flawed and so ill equipped to react to such "holiness" in such an eternally precarious situation--a situational "test" that he knew the vast majority would fail and therefore wind up in "his infinite holiness's" eternal hell?

10. What all of this proves is that the Bible has at least one major contradiction in it, and this contradiction involves the impossibility of its god Yahweh being the true God. And because of this, shouldn't a reasonable person believe that Yahweh is, in reality, merely a fictitious product of the superstitious imagination of barbaric, ancient man? 

*[The following was added to this post, 1-10-15. It was part of the original post of the 15 questions in 2011]:

These questions, and more, must be satisfactorily answered if any rational person is expected to even begin to consider Yahweh as the true God. Yahweh's alleged divinely superlative and omni characteristics, and his eternal hell that he will allow the vast majority of his beloved (?) humans to go to are not compatible. It is the most troubling error recorded in the Bible, and it exposes the Bible (at least the New Testament--there are other reasons why the Yahweh of the Old Testament can't be God) as an obvious work of man and man only, laying bare its god Yahweh as a contradictory impossibility.

It is apparent that the New Testament doctrine of an eternal hell is an evolved concept. The fact that there was no warning by Yahweh in the Old Testament of such a place that man was in jeopardy of being sent to, should make this obvious to even the most closed mind (the only hint of such a place in the Old Testament occurs late, in Daniel 12:2. Pre-Babylonian-captivity Jews believed only in a shadowy existence after death in a place called "Sheol", but in Babylon they were introduced to the Persian concept of a final resurrection, followed by everlasting life for the righteous and everlasting contempt for the unrighteous). Writers of the New Testament progressed with this rather recent idea that some Jews had incorporated into their faith. But they forgot that it had not even been mentioned in the Old Testament (until the hint in Daniel). And they didn't think about the contradiction it would present between it and their god Yahweh and his alleged divinely superlative and omni characteristics. 

If anyone thinks they have reasonable answers to these questions that would successfully defend Yahweh's conduct and alleged characteristics, please, let's see them. Your silence will lead us to conclude that you don't. And if you don't, why do you remain a fundamentalist Christian?

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