Man, that 20-minute limit on edits is brutal. It takes me longer than that to append new material! And I lost everything I wrote.
Perhaps it is an American phenomina that we’ve created God in the image of a “Disney Dad” that is erroneous and inconsistant.
Agreed. Sentimentalism is a disease of American Christianity. But it is consistency which is precisely at stake in this conversation. It is not about God not being “nice enough”; it is about God not being self-contradictory. No amount of nuance or maturity applied to the notion of “love” makes it easy to reconcile with the order to kill children, whether of the Canaanites or, what is even more troubling, of Achan. (I didn’t notice the ‘rape’ part though)
There is an imbalance of “God is Love” statements made vs. “God is almighty” statements.
Again agreed. Yet what is needed is not so much a balance between these statements as a deeper understanding that these two qualities are not distinct in God at all. It is in their separation that we get into trouble.
Yes, God’s freedom and might transcend finite moral reasoning. Yet finite moral reasoning, when it is done rightly, nevertheless stems from God’s infinite goodness as its font and source. An individual instance of reason can be incorrect, yes, but not the whole business of reasoning itself. By definition, God cannot contradict right reason without contradicting himself; and that is the only thing that God is not free to do; however, this is not an “unfreedom” in the true sense. It only means that God IS and cannot not be.
Yet, curiously, there is a human desire to align ourselves with power and might. I suspect that is why young teen boys adorn themselves Heavy Metal T-shirts. They get a power trip out of making themselves appear to be angels of Satan.
Again agreed, but this is not so much an essential evil as the corruption of something which is good, that is, the virtue and the desire for fortitude and strength in the face of adversity. C.S. Lewis talks about this a bit in his essays on chivalry and equality. There is a hint of truth in the periodic iconoclasms that delight in smashing the porcelain idols of bourgeois standards of politeness.
Also, when you think how God might think, death is a doorway, not an end.
Also agreed. This is why Sodom and Gomorrah and similar things do not present a logical problem.
Or, perhaps, when you think like the people thought back then, enemy captives were given the same level of dignity as animals. Therefor, when God told the Israelites to destroy all, even women and children, perhaps this wasn’t something that flew in the face of the Israelites innate sense of mercy; but rather this order flew in the face of the Israelites sense of greed. There would be no slaves, no concubines, no plunder, no wealth. Just making room for the Israelites to set up home. Maybe this was God’s way of telling the Israelites to “take only what you need”.
Again agreed, but you must admit this analysis puts some distance between God’s perfect vs. his permissive will. What Hahn touches on, and what I certainly believe, is that God does not do violence to the free wills of his vehicles of action by miraculously imposing on them enlightened understandings of moral theology; that is, he does not make his people arbitrarily more good than the rest of the broken world.
Thus one may believe, for example, that the inclusion of Achan’s wife and children in the stoning and burning for his crime was something that was tolerated, rather than willed by God.
Instead, people seem to use these instances in the Bible to prove that God is not “all good”.
I do not think people with this question necessarily set out to prove that God is not good; rather, anybody reading these texts without a deep understanding will naturally be confused. I think that for most people this confusion is innocent rather than nefarious.