Saturday, June 13, 2015

Does God Ever Lie?

The following comes from a series of emails between Dmitri and I regarding this poster and the claims it makes about supposed contradictions in the Bible. In the interest of brevity (that's how you spell laziness, right?) I had Mr. Dragonofski pick his top three choices, to which I would give my best response. He went with.
Does God ever lie? num 23:19, 1sam 15:297:28, titus 1:2, heb 6:18 ≠ 1ki 22:23, 2chron 18:22, jer 4:10, 20:7, ezk 14:9, 2thes 2:11
Do humans have free will? deut 30:19, jos 24:15 ≠ acts 13:48, rom 8:29-30, 9:11-22, eph 1:4-5, 2thes 2:11-12, 2tim 1:9, jude 4
Do Christians need to obey Old Testament laws? gen 17:19, exo 12:14, 17, 24, lev 23:14, 21, 31, deut 4:8-9, 7:9, 11:1, 11:26-28, 1chron 16:15, ps 119:151-2, 119:160, mal 4:4, mat 5:18-19, lk 16:17 ≠ lk 16:16, rom 6:14, 7:4, 6, 10:4, 2cor 3:14, gal 3:13, 3:24-25, 5:18, eph 2:15, col 2:14
I responded to the first as follows. 

God doesn't lie, nor does the Bible say otherwise. The verses referenced to attempt to say otherwise fall into three categories: actions of other beings with God's consent, accusations made of God by others, and the inevitable requirement of free will. None of these things make God a liar.
First off, we must look at 1 Kings 22 in context, from verse 19
"Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. 20 And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’
“One suggested this, and another that. 21 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’
22 “‘By what means?’ the Lord asked.
“‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said
“‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’
23 “So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.”"
2 Chronicles 18:22 is the exact same story, with the exact same ending. God isn't lying here, He is allowing another being to go out and lie. This is in accordance with that spirit's free will.

Jeremiah 4:10 is an accusation on the part of the prophet towards God. It no more reflects on His true character than did the Israelites whining in the wilderness, which is also in the Bible. That beings may have false conceptions of God is one of the ongoing themes of Scripture, not a contradiction of it. The same goes for Jeremiah 20:7, which fleshes out Jeremiah's complaint in more detail. Jeremiah prophesied, by God's urging, doom on Israel, doom which, when he said those words to God, had yet to come. He faced ridicule for his prophesy, but in time, all occurred as God had said.

For the gist of Ezekiel 14:9, we again must look at it in context, here from verse 6.

6 “Therefore say to the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!
7 “‘When any of the Israelites or any foreigner residing in Israel separate themselves from me and set up idols in their hearts and put a wicked stumbling block before their faces and then go to a prophet to inquire of me, I the Lord will answer them myself. 8 I will set my face against them and make them an example and a byword. I will remove them from my people. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
9 “‘And if the prophet is enticed to utter a prophecy, I the Lord have enticed that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and destroy him from among my people Israel. 10 They will bear their guilt—the prophet will be as guilty as the one who consults him. 11 Then the people of Israel will no longer stray from me, nor will they defile themselves anymore with all their sins. They will be my people, and I will be their God, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”
What God is saying here is not that He will lie but that he will confirm liars in their error. The prophets mentioned here are not the prophets of God, but those of the idols that infested Israel at that time. By speaking in the name of a god that does not exist, or is a demon, and not God, the false prophet makes himself a liar. By confirming some in their sins, hardening their hearts, God can make an example of them, and prevent others from straying.

2 Thessalonians 2 is the same thing, but in the context of the end of time. Form verse 7:
7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
Man first chooses the lie. God merely allows him to believe it. This is necessary for free choice, which is required for love, which was God's primary intent in creating the world. If every time you looked up to the heavens, you saw Yahweh God sitting there in all His splendour, surrounded by His court, and the multitudes of angels, and all things; angles, men, beasts, plants, minerals, and elements, bending towards Him and giving Him honor, one would be incapable of choosing otherwise. This is how things are, that all created things give glory to God, but this truth is hidden, so that man would be capable of choosing the lie. If a man love truth, then the Truth shall be revealed to him, but if a man loves the lie, he will likewise be allowed to stew in it.

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