Twenty+ Questions for Bible-Believing Christians
Note: By "Bible-Believing Christians," I am referring to those Christians who interpret the Bible in literal terms and consider it to be factual and inerrant. As such, I am addressing those who believe in the factuality of such things as a literal six-day creation, the "Fall" of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the worldwide Flood of Noah, the existence of Satan (aka Lucifer), the Trinity, the existence of hell as a physical place of eternal punishment by fire, the death of Jesus as atonement for sin and his physical resurrection, etc. For the sake of argument, the following questions are framed in the context of a literally interpreted Bible as well.
I request that believers who respond to these questions please refrain from offering hackneyed apologetic equivocations such as "God works in mysterious ways," "mere humans cannot understand the mind and ways of God," and "God can do whatever He wants, i.e., might makes right." Meaningful answers will establish a logical consistency between God's purported attributes and His actions and behavior.
[[The Bible teaches that God is omniscient, i.e., all-knowing (Ps. 147:5, Job 34:21; John 16:30, 21:17; and 1 John 3:20). This omniscience is said to include the ability to foresee the future. (Isa. 44:7, 45:21; Dan. 2:45; and John 16:13) Furthermore, according to the Bible, God's cognitive abilities do not simply represent some nebulous understanding of momentous events. Instead, these attributes encompass a comprehensive awareness of even the most banal trivialities, i.e., knowing the fate of every sparrow, how many hairs are on each human head, the status of the development of each fetus in the womb, etc. (Matt. 10:29-30; Luke 12:6-7; and Ps. 139:15-16)]]
Assuming that God is omniscient, please address the following questions:
1. How could God have been unaware where Adam and Eve were hiding after they had eaten the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden? (See Gen. 3:9)
2. How could God not have known that Adam and Eve would eventually be tempted by a reptilian antagonist (Lucifer/Satan in disguise?) into eating the forbidden fruit even before He created the First Couple and placed them in the Garden of Eden?
3. How could God not have known, even before He created him, that Lucifer/Satan (once one of His loyal minions) would eventually rebel against Him and wreak all manner of havoc on mankind?
4. How could God have been ignorant of the fact that He would one day subject virtually every animal living on the face of the Earth (including humans) to the torment of drowning in the Flood, even before He created them and allowed them to propagate?
5. How can free will exist? (If the future can be accurately foretold, then it must be firmly established in a temporal sequence and known in advance. It would be impossible, even for God, to have precise foreknowledge of future events if they were not pre-established in His frame of reference or if they were subject to changes about which He had no knowledge. Even if the course of history were to deviate from some original preordained plan, a know-it-all god would be cognizant of such superimposed deviations from the very beginning. For an omniscient God, there can be only one course of history, and every twist and turn it takes would be intimately known to Him at the outset. Therefore, as far as such a God is concerned, the future is indelibly etched in the annals of time. Consequently, if the future is pre-determined and invariant from God's perspective, then it is impossible for mere humans to do anything to change it in any substantive way. If we are powerless to alter the pre-programmed course of history, then it logically follows that free will is nonexistent. If God has perfect foreknowledge, then the future must be fixed and free will, from the human perspective, is an illusion.)
6. How could God have failed to realize, when He created humans with the inherent propensity to sin, that He would ultimately subject most of them to the never-ending torment of the searing flames of His hellish torture chamber for behaving in a manner entirely consistent with the way He crafted them? (As a corollary to this question, how can God condemn people for their transgressions when, lacking free will, they are merely actors in a cosmic play who are obliged to follow a pre-ordained and unalterable script?)
[[The Bible also teaches that God is omnipotent, i.e., all-powerful. (Rev. 19:6; Jer. 32:17, 27; and Luke 1:37, 18:27) And it says He is the epitome of compassion and lovingness. For example, He is said to be merciful, gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness, truth, and loving kindness. (Exod. 34:6; 1 Chr. 16:34, 41; 2 Chr. 5:13; Ps. 103:17, 106:1; etc.) It is also said that His work is perfect and that everything He does is just and fair. (Deut. 32:4)]]
Assuming that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and "abundant in goodness, truth, and loving kindness," please address the following questions:
7. Why, if He had the power to do otherwise, did God create Adam and Eve (and all other humans) in a flawed condition that would render them susceptible to temptation - an imperfection that will ultimately earn a great many of them a one-way ticket to Hades?
8. Why did God punish Adam and Eve (and, better yet, their descendants) when they didn't have an awareness that they had done anything wrong until after they had eaten the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?
9. Why did God bring Lucifer into existence knowing what a scourge against mankind he would eventually turn out to be?
10. Why didn't God promptly put a stop to Lucifer's nefarious behavior when he first rebelled against Him? The longer God procrastinates in ending Lucifer's reign of terror, the greater will be the number of people who will be tempted into sin and disbelief, as will be the number of people who will suffer the never-ending torments of hell. What is God waiting for?
11. Why didn't God selectively eliminate those people He found undesirable instead of subjecting virtually all the animals on the face of the Earth to the torment of drowning in the Flood? (As a corollary to that question, if the Flood was intended to rid the world of evil individuals and discourage aberrant behavior in the future, how did that plan work out?)
12. Why does God not intervene to prevent occurrences (floods, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, droughts, tidal waves, mud slides, disease epidemics, starvation, childhood cancer, birth defects, acts of terrorism by religious fanatics, etc.) which cause untold suffering and take an immense toll of human lives on a daily basis?
13. More to the point, why would a God who is "abundant in goodness, truth, and loving kindness" purposely create evil (cause calamities) such as that (those) listed in question 12? (See Isa. 45:7 and Amos 3:6)
14. Why did God purposely create a world in which He knew many people and other animals would suffer greatly during their lives and devise a scenario which would compel Him to eventually torture billions of people (maybe more?) in hell for an eternity? (Presumably, He could have just as easily created a kinder, gentler version, i.e., something more comparable to heaven.)
15. Why did God create a situation in which He would find it necessary to offer a blood sacrifice of an anthropoid clone of Himself to Himself to appease His wrath concerning a scenario that He orchestrated and knew full-well (before He set the whole process in motion) would eventually play out?
16. Why would a God with even a modicum of compassion conceive of a penal system in which the detainees will be subjected (for and infinite period of time) to the most horrific conditions imaginable for any transgressions (of finite duration) they may have committed, because they refuse to worship any tyrannical deity who would dream up such a diabolical scheme?
17. According to the Bible, all we have to do to obtain a "get out of hell free" card, no matter how sinful we have been throughout our life, is to repent and accept Jesus as the divine Savior who died to atone for our sins. How could God not have known that this handy-dandy copout would, in practice, serve as little more than a license to sin with impunity?
18. Why does God purposely obscure His teachings in confusing parables (Matt. 13:10-11; Mark 4:10-12; and Luke 8:9-10), selectively withhold the "truth" from some individuals (Matt. 11:25-27 and Matt. 13:34-40), close some peoples' minds (Isa. 6:10 and John 12:39-40), make them stubborn (Rom. 9:18), and delude them into believing what is false (2 Thess. 2:11-12) in order to prevent them from being saved from the everlasting flames of Hades?
19. Why would a compassionate, caring God condone the slaughter of children and the evisceration of pregnant women (Num. 31:17 and Hos. 13:16), not to mention the practice of dashing babies to death against rocks (Ps. 137:9)? (As a corollary to this question, why would a caring, compassionate God encourage/condone the practice of committing total genocide against one's adversaries, including the slaughter of innocent children, women, the elderly, and animals showing no mercy whatsoever (Deut. 7:1-4, 7:16-24, 20:13-17; Judg, 1:1-8; 1 Kgs. 16:9-13; 1 Sam. 15:3; Josh. 8:1-29; Ezek. 9:5-7, etc.)?
20. Why would a God "abundant in goodness" purposely create wicked individuals whom He knows He will ultimately subject to the never-ending torment of hell (Prov. 16:4 and Rom. 9:18-22)?
21. Why would anyone with a shred of personal integrity worship such a merciless, deranged, psychopathic deity, even if it existed?
22. If you dismiss any of the Bible verses in these questions as being irrelevant or archaic, what criteria do you use to determine which verses are relevant and currently applicable and which are not? (Remember, according to the Good Book, "...one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments...he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven..." (Matt. 5:17-20) "The law and the prophets were until John..." "...And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail." (Luke 16:16-17) (See also Deut. 4:2 and 12:32) Furthermore, we are also informed that God does not change his mind (Num. 23:19 and 1 Sam. 15:29), or anything else for that matter (Mal. 3:6; Ps. 102:25-27; and Heb. 13:8), and that He has revealed his law and we and our descendants are to obey it forever. (Deut. 29:29 and Ps. 119:51-52)
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