Monday, November 29, 2010

Atheists: The Bible is HOPELESSLY CONTRADICTORY!!!!11!!11oneone!!1eleven

I saw this a little more often this week in the uh-mazing atheist blogosphere. Of course I rarely see any passages put forward as being hopelessly contradictory. The last one that someone was actually able to point out was Exodus 20:5 and Ezekiel 18:20. Apparently atheists don't know how to apply contextual hermeneutics to what they read. Well, they get by in everything but the Bible, so maybe they're cherry picking.

Of course Exodus 20:5 is a part of the 10 commandments and is speaking of the covenantal consequences of idol worship for the Israelites. Ezekiel 18:20 is recounting the law of the Pentateuch which is dealing with individual punishment for breaking the law. One speaks of the consequences of God removing Himself from Israel for their breaking the covenant. The other is the immediate judicial punishment for breaking a law. This is even evident today. Children may suffer from consequences of their parents breaking the law, but we don't charge those children with breaking the law their parents actually broke.

But what did the inerrancy skeptic do here? He took two separate verses from two books written hundreds of years apart by different authors in different situations. You can't do that with literature and have anything make sense. I'd love to see the stuff atheists write held to this ridiculous standard.

67 comments:

Onesimus said...

What should we expect from fools? (ps 53:1)

Tony-Allen said...

You have to always be careful with proof-texting that, as you say, takes two passages from entirely different books of the Bible and tries to draw them together. Dispensationalists do the same thing and have similar problems.

In any case, "context" seems to be a word all but forgotten these days.

David said...

So, you're saying that if an individual worships an idol, his children will not be punished?

bossmanham said...

Not as an individual for that crime, no. Rather, in the context of Exodus, child will suffer consequences brought about by God removing Himself from Israel because of their violation of the covenant. This stuff already happened. You can see it played out in the Old Testament; and in the new with the destruction of Jerusalem foretold. God removes His covenantal protection thus visiting calamity on Israel.

bossmanham said...

Which is a punishment, but not one for individual crimes but a breaking of the covenant.

David said...

I understand what you are saying, but the act of worshipping idols is an indidividual act. Each individual decides whether or not he or she will worship idols. And you're saying that the fourth generation would not be punished for individual acts.


Does the rule about punishing the later generations also apply to violations of the other commandments? For example, there's a commandment against murder. Does God punish the fourth generation for murder, too? Or does the fourth generation rule strictly apply to idol worship?

Musing Mama said...

I read once where an atheist picked up a Bible and flipped it open. The first thing he read was "there is no God." So he shut the book and told everyone that the Bible says there is no God. What the verse really says is, "the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God." Context makes a big difference sometimes.

David said...

I'm looking at the context, Mama, and in the context of the Ten Commandments, violations will result in punishment unto the fourth generation.

I'm also trying to figure out if God into the concept of collective guilt.

Onesimus said...

The 10 Commandments were part of a national (collective) covenant that God made with Israel.

Any understanding of scripture has to take that covenental context into account.

Individual punishment for individual's breaking any of the law was the responsibility of the overall community. It wasn't up to God to strike down every individual law breaker.

The collective guilt came from the national failure to maintain the law as God commanded. They failed to hold individuals accountable and lawlessness spread throughout the community. Individual idol worship left unchecked led to corporate idol worship.

David said...

"The 10 Commandments were part of a national (collective) covenant that God made with Israel."

I understand what you are saying, but doesn’t this mean that murder, theft, adultery, ect., is also to be punished to the fourth generation? It’s all part of the same package, isn’t it?


“Individual punishment for individual's breaking any of the law was the responsibility of the overall community. It wasn't up to God to strike down every individual law breaker.”

Well, if communities are punishing individuals, and God doesn't strike down every lawbreaker, how does this “punishment down to the fourth generation” thing work? When does the fourth generation thing kick in? Does this penalty apply in any case when a given individual breaks a given law?


“The collective guilt came from the national failure to maintain the law as God commanded.”

But relatively few individuals would be directly involved in maintaining the law. It’s easy to say “national guilt”, but what does this really mean?

As an example, women and children were not responsible for enforcing the laws, right? And yet, they are to be punished, too? What about the individuals that continued to obey the law? Why should they be punished unto the fourth generation? And why should the fourth generation be held accountable for things they did not do in the first place?

At what point, in terms of percent lawbreakers, does collective guilt kick in? What if 10% of the population worships the odd idol? Is the whole society now guilty and does God then punish the great-great grandchildren of this generation in which 10% worshiped idols?

I'm really not trying to be difficult, I'm just interested in practical matters. You see, I’m not sure that collective guilt really works.

Onesimus said...

God made a covenant with a nation.
That nation was held corporately responsible for maintaining the law God had given them and to which they had agreed.

Obedience to the law led to blessing: health prosperity, safety and security in their land
Disobedience to the law led to curses: sickness, poverty, calamity and ultimately exile from their land.

Punishment extended to subsequent generations showed that their actions didn’t only affect themselves and their nation in the short term. Generations following would suffer for the disobedience of the present generation.

It also comes down to the example given by one generation to the next. Disobedience and lawlessness are easily passed on by example. One generation’s disobedience makes it difficult for the next generation to do the right thing, leading them to receive the judgement required for their inherited disobedience.
Individual disobedience that goes unchecked does not only affect the individual.

Rather than get stuck on this point of perceived injustice – take a look at how things worked out in the history of Israel.

What God revealed about his justice was not only a warning about what could happen – it was a prophetic insight into what WOULD happen, a foresight into the path Israel would take.

God is patient and He delays judgement to allow people the time and opportunity to repent of their disobedience. He does not punish the innocent.

Onesimus said...

The answers are in scripture for those who desire to find them.

Read scripture but don't get caught up by things you don't initially understand. God's revelation unfolds as it progresses. One thing builds on another adding to our understanding.

If you don't understand at first, put it aside and see what further reading reveals.

See how God's relationship with Israel and His response to their disobedience worked out in history.

David said...

"He does not punish the innocent."

But God does punish the innocent. Those who didn't worship idols were punished along with those who did worship idols. The great-great grandchildern was also punished, regardless of their worship practices.

Still trying to figure out if murder leads to punishment unto the fourth generation.

Onesimus said...

David,
give an example of any innocent person who was punished by God for something they didn't do.

An example based on biblical evidence and not presumption and based on God's revealed standard of righteousness and not man's.

David said...

Correctin...

The great-great grandchildren were also punished, regardless of their worship practices.

David said...

"Give an example of any innocent person who was punished by God for something they didn't do."

You already gave examples. God punished "the nation" when it's extremely unlikely that everyone in the nation worshipped idols. At least some of those punished must have been faithful to the commandments. Then there's the bit about the great-great grandchildren who are punished regardless of their actions, all because their great-great grandparents worshipped idols.

This isn't punishing the innocent?

Onesimus said...

"At least some of those punished must have been faithful to the commandments."

That is assumption - and a wrong assumption. Scripture reveals that throughout Israel's national disobedience, God maintained a faithful remnant.

"Then there's the bit about the great-great grandchildren who are punished regardless of their actions"

And again what evidence have you got to say they were punished regardless of their actions? That is another assumption you have made.

David said...

"That is assumption - and a wrong assumption. Scripture reveals that throughout Israel's national disobedience, God maintained a faithful remnant."

Well, it's true that I don't have individual stories, but it's hard to see how the innocent would spared when the nation was invaded and conquered. Can't prove it, of course, but invaders are rarely that picky about those they kill and enslave.

"And again what evidence have you got to say they were punished regardless of their actions? That is another assumption you have made."

Isn't this what God said that he would do? Are you suggesting that God didn't deliver on his promises?

David said...

Can anyone tell me if murder leads to punishment unto the fourth generation?

Onesimus said...

David again you ASSUME their innocence and in doing so accuse God of injustice.

And my advice again is to turn to scripture for your answers regarding the outworking of God's relationship with Israel.

Asking for isolated specifics is meaningless outside of their context.

Onesimus said...

Tony-Allen,
dispensationalists are not the only ones to rely on proof texting. I have yet to find a theological system that is NOT built on out of context proof texts.

The church seems to encourage such an approach. Take note of the majority of sermons which usually start with a "text" and then spin off into whatever topic the preacher chooses, whether it is relevant to the "text" or not.

The bible is rarely considered in context and at face value. We have been taught to "interpret" scripture (meaning parts of scripture) instead of accepting its clearest and plainest meaning within its proper extended context.

We tend to examine scripture according to verse selections rather than according to books.

David said...

"David again you ASSUME their innocence and in doing so accuse God of injustice."

Yes, I assume that at least one person out of a population of tens of thousands living in a land dominated by a monotheist religion in which all are instructed to not worhip idols...did not worship idols.

Aren't you assuming that 100.000% of the ANE Jews worshiped idols of other gods? Which assumption is more reasonable?

"Asking for isolated specifics is meaningless outside of their context."

I'm not asking for isolated specifics outside of their context. I've tried very hard to keep context in mind and have referred to that context.

Onesimus said...

David,
your assumption is that God punished any innocent who didn't worship idols.

As I said earlier scripture reveals that God always had and kept a faithful remnant. Your assumption is that He punished that faithful remnant.

You say that invaders aren't picky about who they kill and enslave - you are assuming their ability to kill and enslave is greater than God's ability to keep them safe no matter what circumstances they are in.

The examples of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego show God protects the faithful. Read their stories.

Also they may have been taken into captivity but they were placed in positions of privilige by their captors.

David said...

"Your assumption is that God punished any innocent who didn't worship idols.

It's not an assumption. I'm going by what the Bible says. It says that great-great grandchildren will be punished for the idol worship of their great-great grandparents. There is no indication that these offspring will be spared, REGARDLESS of their behavior. They are to be punished for the sins of their ancestors. Period. It actualy doesn't matter if the offspring worship idols or not. Innocent or not, they will be punished. This is what the Bible says.

"You are assuming their ability to kill and enslave is greater than God's ability to keep them safe no matter what circumstances they are in. The examples of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego show God protects the faithful. Read their stories. Also they may have been taken into captivity but they were placed in positions of privilige by their captors."

In speaking of Daniel, et al., we are literally talking about a handful of people out of thousands and thousands of captives. What is the fate of the vast, vast majority of those living in invaded lands? Do you think that thousands were "placed in positions of privilige"? I think we know their fate, but you can take advantage of the lack of historical records if it comforts you.

I'll say this for you. you do have great faith.

Now, how about tackling that murder and the fourth generation question?

Onesimus said...

David I perceive you have your own agenda to push.

If you want to know the truth about God and His relationship with Israel you would go to scripture as I've suggested and read the WHOLE lot to get the WHOLE story instead of picking a few selected verses that you perceive create problems.

I have more than adequately dealt with all of your questions.

No my faith is not great - it is merely directed towards God instead of myself.

bossmanham said...

David,

I've fallen behind apparently. But you actually say something that illuminated part of the text there. God does work in mysterious ways. You asked, "Does God punish the fourth generation for murder, too? Or does the fourth generation rule strictly apply to idol worship?" This is an interesting question. It does seem that this is really only applied to idolatry in the passage. So that could be an additional or alternative explanation; that as it applies to breaking laws against other human beings the Ezekiel 18:20 verse applies, but idolatry is something that God does carry on punishment for quite a while. That could very well correlate with what I'm already defending, or be argued from a completely different way. Thanks.

I'm also trying to figure out if God into the concept of collective guilt.

Not really hard. Hitler was individually guilty for what he did, but the consequences, which were punishing, flowed down to those who hadn't committed those crimes.

But God does punish the innocent. Those who didn't worship idols were punished along with those who did worship idols.

Punishment in the form of the removal of the protection of God from a people group which will have consequences for those who didn't actually commit the sin is not a direct judicial punishment of an individual for what someone else did. I think it'll become quite clear if you read the contexts of the passages in question.

I think something that may be helpful is the concepts of direct punishment and consequential punishment. Direct punishment is done with one person in mind for a specific thing they did. Consequential punishment is the result of another action and the punishment isn't necessarily primarily in mind. God punishes the nation for its idolatry and the consequences are far reaching, but individuals aren't singled out for that specific sin.

That's really all there is to say here.

David said...

"This is an interesting question. It does seem that this is really only applied to idolatry in the passage."

Could be. I agree that this is one way to interpret this.

But I thihk that this would run contrary to the notion that the Ten Commandments are collectively a part of a "national (collective) covenant that God made with Israel." Further, there are several other commandments that apply to breaking laws against God. Would these also carry the fourth generation penalty?

It seems inconsistent to conclude that there is to be punishment unto the fourth generation is solely for idol worship. What about having other gods before God? Why would this not have a fourth generation penalty, too?


"Idolatry is something that God does carry on punishment for quite a while."

Thus, punishing the innocent.

"I think something that may be helpful is the concepts of direct punishment and consequential punishment."

I understand the concept, and I believe that this is what the military refers to as "collateral damage". Thing is, collateral damage is unavoidable when humans act against other humans, but God is not as limited as humans, right? Further, we feel morally obligated to limited collateral damage as much as is humanly possible. The wording in the Ten Commandents does not reflect a desire to limit collateral damage. It seems clear that the fourth generation punishment really is a direct punishment, and at a minimum, God will make no effort to limit collateral damage across generational lines.

bossmanham said...

It seems inconsistent to conclude that there is to be punishment unto the fourth generation is solely for idol worship. What about having other gods before God? Why would this not have a fourth generation penalty, too?

That's the same commandment. Another God is an idol.

Why should God limit collateral damage when He warned the people not to worship other gods? And in removing His protection, the people were subject to the freely chosen actions of other nations to attack Israel, and God can't control what people freely choose to do.

David said...

"That's the same commandment. Another God is an idol."

No, I think it's a different commandent. The idol commandment is about graven images, including images of God Himself ("whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above"). If it's the same commandment, then it would be the Nine Commandments, not the Ten Commandments, right? If we're lumping together all of the laws concerning humans and God, then there are two more God Commandments to consider(name in vain, keep the sabbath). What's the rule here with respect to the fourth generation?

Again, if all of these rules (all of the Ten Commandments) are about a convenent with a nation, then I would expect the same penalties apply to all violations. All violations damage or break the conenent, risk the wrath of God, risk withdrawal of protection, etc. Yes?

"Why should God limit collateral damage when He warned the people not to worship other gods?

Um, to protect those who didn't worship idols like the innocent of later generations? To make a distinction between those who obeyed and those who didn't? To reward good behavior? Lots of good reasons, I would think. Beside, look at the wording. It looks like the punishment of later generations is a DIRECT punishment and not just collateral damage.

Think about why WE try to limit collatoral damage when we attack nations that were warned not to do this, that or the other thing. Why do we do this? Maybe it's because we can distinguish between the actions of political leaders from the actions of random civilians. Maybe it's because we do not hold entire populations responsible for the actions of leaders or of sub-popultions. Why didn't we kill all of the Germans after World War II? God can't do something similar to what we humans do?

"And in removing His protection, the people were subject to the freely chosen actions of other nations to attack Israel, and God can't control what people freely choose to do."

God is not in control? Wow. Didn't know that.

bossmanham said...

It doesn't matter if you think it's a different commandment. It isn't. Anything placed above the true God is an idol.

Again, if all of these rules (all of the Ten Commandments) are about a convenent with a nation, then I would expect the same penalties apply to all violations. All violations damage or break the conenent, risk the wrath of God, risk withdrawal of protection, etc. Yes?

It doesn't really matter what you expect. God's the one that gets to set up His own judicial system. But if you remember, my initial reconciliation of the passage can have included this punishment in violation of all the commandments.

Um, to protect those who didn't worship idols like the innocent of later generations?

Again, why should God want to limit that collateral damage? He told people what the consequences were of sinning against Him, ie the removal of His protection. They broke the covenant, not Him. God can take care of individuals that He deems necessary to take care of. See the prophets and the remnant that Oneismus spoke of.

Think about why WE try to limit collatoral damage

Not really relevant. WE aren't God and don't have the same prerogatives as God.

God is not in control? Wow. Didn't know that.

Not of free choices. If He controlled them, they wouldn't be free choices.

David said...

"It doesn't matter if you think it's a different commandment. It isn't."

I admit that this a minor point of semantics, but why don't we call the list of commandments "The Nine Commandments"?

"But if you remember, my initial reconciliation of the passage can have included this punishment in violation of all the commandments."

I do remember. So, now we're back to all of the commandments having the fourth generation penalty attached. So, which is it? Does the penalty only apply to idol worship or does it apply to all commandments?

"WE aren't God and don't have the same prerogatives as God."

Ok, so the answer to most of the questions is basically that God gets to do what God wants to do, thus rendering any independent test for logical consistency inoperative. So, why bother with all the millions of words of apologetics? It really just comes down to "God does what God wants to do". It only takes a sentence, and anything else is superfluous.

David said...

("Not of free choices. If He controlled them, they wouldn't be free choices."...This is where you can Calvinists part ways, yes?)

bossmanham said...

I do remember. So, now we're back to all of the commandments having the fourth generation penalty attached. So, which is it? Does the penalty only apply to idol worship or does it apply to all commandments?

I don't think this matters. If it extends to all of them, then all of them.

Ok, so the answer to most of the questions is basically that God gets to do what God wants to do, thus rendering any independent test for logical consistency inoperative.

No one's eliminating logical consistency in saying God gets to set up His rules and judging as He chooses in His universe. How is that eliminating anything?

The topic is the passages I dealt with. The passages aren't contradictory and, therefore, it poses no issues for the inerrantist. You've been wandering off on irrelevant tangents here.

David said...

"If it extends to all of them, then all of them."

Ok, so the fourth generation penalty applies to violations of any of the commandmenets.

In Exodus, violations of the law, including theft and shedding of blood, are to be punished unto the fourth generation. If the great-great grandfather is guilty, then the great-great grandchildren shall be punished.

In Ezkiel, it's clearly stated that the son will not share the guilt of the father. The son is not to be punished for the sins of the father. The son shall NOT die for his father’s iniquity. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. Guilt, punishment, etc., is not trans-generational.

I believe that at the time of Ezekiel, the Jews are still operating under the original covenent with God, yes?

I think that this is what some would consider a contradiction.

bossmanham said...

Ok, so the fourth generation penalty applies to violations of any of the commandmenets.

I don't think you understand what's going on here, David. It doesn't matter either way. Both ways what I said is still valid.

In Exodus, violations of the law, including theft and shedding of blood, are to be punished unto the fourth generation. If the great-great grandfather is guilty, then the great-great grandchildren shall be punished.

What on earth are you talking about? Did you completely miss how I already handled this?

In Ezkiel, it's clearly stated that the son will not share the guilt of the father

Yeah, see the original post. Did you even read it? I've said what needs to be said on the issue.

David said...

"What on earth are you talking about? Did you completely miss how I already handled this?"

No, I didn't miss this. You tried to duck behind the notion of "consequential punishment". You also tried to waffle with respect to which laws are covered by the fourth generation rule.

But this doesn't solve the problem. First, the wording in Exodus does not sound like we're talking about consequential punishment at all. It sounds pretty direct to me. It says that the great-great grandchildren are to be punished for the sins of the great-great grandparents. Period.

It doesn't say that the fourth generation will be punished as result of God letting the nation be invaded. There is nothing here about "consequential punishment". And if the nation is invaded, the passages in Exodus do not include protection for the innocent. The fourth generation will be punished for the sins of the great-great grandparents. Period. The guilt or innocence of the fourth generation is irrelevant with respect to punishment.

Second, Ezekial clearly and explictly states that the sons will LIVE. There will be NO punishment, consquential or otherwise. The guilt of the father does NOT affect the son. Ever. Period.

In Exodus, trans-generational punishment for violations that specifically include theft. Call it consequential if you wish, but it's still punishment.

In Ezekiel, the sons will LIVE. No punishment, consequential or otherwise, for violations that include theft.

Contradiction.

(I mention theft, because this sin is clearly named in both Exodus and Ezekiel.)

David said...

By the way, I'm still trying to figure what the percent cut off could be for withdrawing protection. If 10% worship idols, does the nation lose protecton? 20%? 30%? This is a serious question. There must be a threshhold somewhere, a point at which we go from protection to no protection. Where is that line?

Onesimus said...

I said earlier that David was pursuing his own agenda. And that agenda does not include finding and understanding the truth.

He merely wants to hammer home a point he thinks he is making - but he makes it out of ignorance.

Ignorance of God and ignorance of scripture.

Like so many people he thinks that refering to a couple of out of context verses is sufficient to "prove" his point.

David said...

"I said earlier that David was pursuing his own agenda. And that agenda does not include finding and understanding the truth."

Not true. I'm sorry, but it really appears to me that there is a contradiction here. Ezekiel is explicit. Father's guilt does not affect the son. Son is not to be punished. Son is to live. Exodus is clear. Father's guilt means punishment for the son. Son will pay for father's guilt.

"He merely wants to hammer home a point he thinks he is making - but he makes it out of ignorance."

Care to explain?

"Ignorance of God and ignorance of scripture."

I've been reading and re-reading these scriptures. How am I ignorant?

"Like so many people he thinks that refering to a couple of out of context verses is sufficient to "prove" his point."

How am I failing to consider "context"?

By the way, how many generations separate Moses and Joshua?

Onesimus said...

David said:
“I've been reading and re-reading these scriptures. How am I ignorant?”


my reply:
Which scriptures have you been reading? Just the two small sections you keep referencing?

How about the hundreds of years of history and revelation that comes between them? THAT is what I mean by context.

I am not meaning the verse or two either side of those you reference.

Scripture is a continuing revelation of God through real life experience and real life history, showing how God relates to His creation. It is not a compilation of individual texts that can be plucked out at will to give understanding.

Consider all of your selected texts in the light of their continuing historical context and God’s unfolding relationship with Israel.

bossmanham said...

No, I didn't miss this. You tried to duck behind the notion of "consequential punishment". You also tried to waffle with respect to which laws are covered by the fourth generation rule.

Right...someone didn't get a judicial punishment for the sins of someone else. Of course the consequences of other's punishment can still affect many people. That's just common sense, and you said nothing to defuse it.

It does solve the problem.

It doesn't say that the fourth generation will be punished as result of God letting the nation be invaded

The Bible also never explicitly says "God is a single being yet tri-personal" yet it's inferred from studying *gasp* THA CAWNTEXT!

Second, Ezekial clearly and explictly states that the sons will LIVE. There will be NO punishment, consquential or otherwise.

Which is DIRECT JUDICIAL PUNISHMENT. You added the whole "consquential or otherwise." It would be dumb to say that punishing a father isn't going to have a consequential effect on the son, or vice versa. Please. Think this through beyond your desparate atheist dogma.

By the way, I'm still trying to figure what the percent cut off could be for withdrawing protection. If 10% worship idols, does the nation lose protecton? 20%? 30%?

Waiiiiittt for ittttt.......IRRELEVANT.

Oneismus,

It's nothing new, believe me.

David said...

“Right...someone didn't get a judicial punishment for the sins of someone else.”

How do you know that the fourth generation ISN’T receiving a “judicial punishment”? How do you know what the word “punishment” means here? You’ve adding something that isn’t there. If I’m not allowed to add anything to the verses, then why are you allowed to do this?

“Of course the consequences of other's punishment can still affect many people. That's just common sense, and you said nothing to defuse it.”

The Bible doesn’t say that one person’s punishment “affects” many people, and oops, sorry about that. The word here is not “affects”. There is no hint that those “affected” in later generations are innocent.

Instead, the Bible says quite clearly and explicitly that that the great-great grandchildren WILL BE PUNISHED. Sounds like direct, judicial punishment to me. You’ve read “consequential” into these passages, but again, if you’re going to criticize me for adding “consequential or otherwise”, then it seems to me that you shouldn’t add stuff either. If I can’t invent, then neither can you.


“The Bible also never explicitly says "God is a single being yet tri-personal" yet it's inferred from studying *gasp* THA CAWNTEXT!”

Or…maybe there is no context here. Maybe people have just read into events or accounts of event something that isn’t really there. Maybe the trinity is just the kludge needed to reconcile monotheism with the desire to turn Jesus into God. Maybe your CAWNTEXT doesn’t exist. It seems clear to me that if you say the Jesus is God, then you are a ditheist.

You said it yourself. It’s not explicitly stated. Don’t you find that quite shocking? Here is a central tenet of the faith, and yet it’s not explicitly stated?! It’s not clear unless you look at the text sideways and squint just right to get the CAWNTEXT? Very, very strange.



“Which is DIRECT JUDICIAL PUNISHMENT. You added the whole "consquential or otherwise." It would be dumb to say that punishing a father isn't going to have a consequential effect on the son, or vice versa. “

Consequences, yes. But consequential PUNISHMENT? Again, there is no reference to punishment in Ezekiel. There IS explicit reference to PUNISHMENT in Exodus. Punishment is the word we’re looking for here. Punishment. It’s not here. Don’t add it.

“Think this through beyond your desparate atheist dogma.”

“Desparate atheist dogma”? Oh, give me a frickin’ break. This isn’t about any dogma on my part. It doesn’t take an atheist to see the obvious problems and contradictions here. Folks of any number of different faiths can see this, too. It’s not about dogma. Believe me, this particular contradiction is not the thing that gives me pause when it comes to your version of God.


“Waiiiiittt for ittttt.......IRRELEVANT.”i

No, it is relevant. If you’re going to claim that everyone suffers “consequential punishment” when the actions of a few lead to the withdrawal of God’s protection, then my question seems quite relevant.

You see, it’s easy to say something like “if someone worships an idol, then the nation loses protection”, but what does that really mean? How does that actually work? Can it really work at all in such a way as to avoid punishing the innocent? We humans have generally rejected the notion of collective guilt because it really doesn’t work if your goal is to punish the guilty and spare the innocent.

bossmanham said...

Of course Exodus 20:5 is a part of the 10 commandments and is speaking of the covenantal consequences of idol worship for the Israelites. Ezekiel 18:20 is recounting the law of the Pentateuch which is dealing with individual punishment for breaking the law. One speaks of the consequences of God removing Himself from Israel for their breaking the covenant. The other is the immediate judicial punishment for breaking a law.

David said...

"One speaks of the consequences of God removing Himself from Israel for their breaking the covenant."

Here's your problem. "Consequences" does not equal "punishment". God does not say that there will be "consequences" unto the fourth generation. He doesn't speak of the unfortunate trans-generational collateral damage. He says that there will be "punishment". See the difference? For example, if a woman drinks alcohol when pregnant, and her baby develops fetal alcohol syndrome, the FAS is a consequence of the mother's sin, but is the baby being punished?

You like CAWNTEXT? Look at the CAWNTEXT of Exodus 18:20. It says that the punishment is a result of God's jealousy. It doesn't say that God is a loving God, sympathetic God or understanding God. It doesn't say that God feels bad about the inevitable "consequences" of one generation's sins.

No, it says that God is jealous, implying anger and rage. If you sin, God will mess you up. And then he'll mess up your kids, grandkids and great-grandkids. He will PUNISH trans-generationally. You've invented this "consequential punishment thing" to avoid reality, but it doesn't fly.

Also, since you again speak of "consequences" for a nation that are a result of individual actions, one has to ask what percentage of individuals must break a law before an entire nation is punished? How exactly does this collective guilt thing work?

David said...

One other puzzle.

If God is going to use "consequential punishment" to nail the fourth generation, and if that consequential punishment is what results when God removes his protection from the nation of Isreal, how do you punish the fourth generation during periods of time when Isreal IS under protection? Now, surely there were some worshiping idols during the protection years, and we still need to pound the great-grandkids. How is this done without invading armies? How do we get the "consequential punishment" or collateral damage ball rolling in the absence of a withdrawal of convenental protection?

Does God always punish the fourth generation? Were there times when someone worhipped an idol, but God did not punish the fourth generation?

bossmanham said...

Consequences can be the punishment for certain choices. I'm surprised you don't see that.

The Bible says many times God is a loving God. It describes many of His attributes. And His jealousy is borne out of love for His people. Wow, somebody's dense lately.

Individual actions done by many individuals in the nation. You still haven't acknowledged the remnant of people God keeps, but I don't expect you to be fair in debates anymore, David.

David, you need to learn to read the Bible. Till you can do that, I can't help you.

David said...

"Individual actions done by many individuals in the nation."

I see that you're still promoting collective guilt, a concept rejected by most humans, and for good reason. Again, if this is the way God operates, then it's important to know the point at which collective guilt kicks in, in terms of percent individuals committing the sin. Your inability to answer the question demonstrates a major flaw in the collective guilt concept.

"Consequences can be the punishment for certain choices. I'm surprised you don't see that."

Are we talking about consequences for the guilty or consequences for the innocent? So, it's ok to punish those who did not commit the crime? The baby with FAS is being PUNISHED? Really? This is consistent with a notion of justice?

I think that you've expand the definition of "punishment" as a means of escaping obvious problems and contradictions, creating artificial categories like “consequential punishment”. There is direct punishment (punishment of the guilty) and there are consequences that affect the innocent. “Consequential punishment”? I’m not so sure that this exists or has meaning. It’s a kludge.


"You still haven't acknowledged the remnant of people God keeps, but I don't expect you to be fair in debates anymore, David."

Um, I did acknowledge them. See my comments on Daniel, et al. Maybe you missed this. Maybe you should read more carefully before you accuse me of being unfair.

Showing that a few were favored does not tell us what happened to the vast majority of the innocent during invasion, exile, etc. Now, I know that you’ll believe what you need to believe to make this work, but I think it’s reasonable to be skeptical of the claim that all of the faithful are protected during national calamities. This is not how calamity works.

In any event, this does not account for the great-grandkids who are both innocent and "unkept". If God can protect the good people (the remnant), what’s up with punishing the innocent fourth generation? God CAN prevent the “consequences” of a national covenant breaking from harming the “faithful remnant, but God CAN’T prevent the “consequences” from harming the innocent fourth generation? You seem to swing back and forth, in terms of God’s power and influence in the world.

"And His jealousy is borne out of love for His people."

It's loving to punish the innocent great-grandkids? Wow, somebody's dense lately. And I don’t know about you, but the word “jealous” usually has far more negative than positive connotations. In this case, it appears that an angry god is DIRECTLY punishing the fourth generation. There is no suggestion that God is just mad at the first generation, and oops, this just happens to harm the fourth generation. The CAWNTEXT says that the fourth generation punishment is a direct punishment.

David said...

Looks like you didn't address all of my questions…

You’ve excused the collateral damage and trans-generational punishment on the grounds that this is a part of what happens with the nation breaks the convenient and the nation is punished. ("Of course Exodus 20:5 is a part of the 10 commandments and is speaking of the covenantal consequences of idol worship for the Israelites.”). You’ve asserted that this is just an unavoidable consequence of the withdrawal of protection.

But how does this work in those times when the covenant has not been broken at the national level? Idol worship at these times would appeart to be cases of individual sin, not a national faiture, so how does the “covenantal consequences” thing work under those conditions? Does God still punish the fourth generation?

And more broadly, does God always punish the fourth generation? Were there ever cases or times when God doesn't punish the fourth generation for idol worship by the first generation?

“David, you need to learn to read the Bible. Till you can do that, I can't help you.”

Bossman, you need to consider the possibility that the Bible is a mess. It's like bad software in constant need to substandard patches. Sometimes, the Sunday school answers really don’t work when you really examine them closely.

bossmanham said...

Or, David, you're just being stubborn and not accepting the obvious reconciliation from these two verses which were written in two entirely different contexts, one individual sin one a corporate handling of national sin, because of your little beef with the God of the Bible. You may not like what the Bible says, but it's ridiculous to take such a scrutinized book that most who read it come out recognizing as completely consistent and say that YOU have found the ultimate defeater of that consistency.

Sorry, it just doesn't work that way. The verse is easily reconcilable, and I do it here and others do it too. It's just a testimony to your lack of reasoning capability, poor reading skills, or utter stubbornness that you aren't conceding the point. But it's understandable because it's borne out of your sinful rebellion to the Supreme One. You can keep pushing your silliness, but I have the same response. Any more posts and I will just cut and paste various responses to this silliness.

Ryan Anderson said...

Nice work David. That's as close to a concession as you'll get from Brennon.

David said...

“You may not like what the Bible says, but it's ridiculous to take such a scrutinized book that most who read it come out recognizing as completely consistent and say that YOU have found the ultimate defeater of that consistency.”

Didn’t claim to have found the “ultimate defeater”. Just said we had an inconsistency here. As for “most who read it” goes, most who read it don’t think about it very much. Those who do read it closely often find major problems with it.


“Sorry, it just doesn't work that way. The verse is easily reconcilable, and I do it here and others do it too.”

Well, yes, if you make stuff up like “consequential punishment”. It’s easy to reconcile if you don’t really address the many questions that I raised.

“But it's understandable because it's borne out of your sinful rebellion to the Supreme One.”

Oh for crying out load. I’m not trying to rebel against anything. I just don’t think that it is consistent or makes sense. Why is it that Christians always have to play the “sinful rebellion” card when someone disagrees with their philosophy or theological positions? I just don’t agree with you. That’s it. No rebellion. Can't I just disagree? If we had political differences, you would not say that I was in "rebellion", would you?

David said...

“You're just being stubborn and not accepting the obvious reconciliation from these two verses which were written in two entirely different contexts, one individual sin one a corporate handling of national sin, because of your little beef with the God of the Bible. “

It’s not obvious at all. “Corporate handling of national sin”. Neat phrase, but you totally failed to explain how this works. What percentage must worship idols before sin is handled “corporately”? Is the fourth generation always punished following first generation idol worship? How does “consequential punishment” differ from just “consequences”? So many unanswered questions.

People aren’t “corporations”, people are individuals. This is demonstrated by the fact that God allegedly granted protection and “kept” individuals in the “faithful remnant” AFTER covenantal consequences” were operational. Regardless, the innocent fourth generation descendents of the first generation idol worshipers were still punished.

Let’s review. An undefined percentage of first generation Israelites worship idols. Corporate or national punishment kicks in. Four generations later, the descendents are being punished “consequentially”.

You say, this is not directed at the individual. It’s not personal. It’s just business. Can’t be helped. This is just what happens when a nation or corporate body is abandoned by God and is subsequently invaded. You say, this is not direct punishment of the fourth generation, instead, it’s consequential punishment. (Whatever that means.)

But wait. Not all of the fourth generation is punished. Just the descendents of the idol worshipers are punished, whether the fourth generation individuals worship idols or not. Only those individuals who did a poor job of picking their great-grandparents are punished. Other individuals are “kept”, protected and even given cushy jobs in the administration of the conquering kings. That is, God is, in fact, distinguishing among individuals in the fourth generation.

We do NOT see inevitable, unavoidable corporate punishment of ALL fourth generation Israelites as a result of covenantal issues. In the fourth generation, we have a distinction made among INDIVIDUALS. Some INDIVIDUALS are punished because of what their great-grandparents did, but other INDIVIDUALS are potentially protected because they picked their ancestors with more care. Yes, those who are protected have to behave, too, but at least they have a chance. The descendents of idol worshippers have no chance at all.

God DOES differentiate among individuals in the fourth generation when it comes to direct punishment for acts of the ancestors. Punishment is NOT an inevitable consequence. The descendents of idol worshippers are punished, regardless of their personal behavior, but this punishment is NOT inevitable. God is clearly in control as demonstrated by his protection of the faithful remnant. God CAN protect individuals in the fourth generation, even after covenant protection is withdrawn. That means that God CAN protect anyone in the fourth generation, even if their ancestors misbehaved, and even with “corporate handling of national sin”. God is not as limited as you seem to think.

God could protect, but God choose not to protect. The effect is to punish the descendents of idol worshippers. God is CHOOSING to punish the fourth generation on an INDIVIDUAL basis for the actions of the ancestors, regardless of the behavior of the fourth generation. This is DIRECT punishment, and not just some unavoidable “consequence” of what happened three generations back. This isn’t a case of, oops, collateral damage.

The notion that this contradiction with Ezekiel can be explained away with phrases like “consequential punishment” or “corporate handling of nation sin” is not valid.

bossmanham said...

Unless I actually concede, you can't consider anything I said a concession.

And you're still being silly, David. It's easy to understand what I'm speaking of here. We ourselves hold nations responsible for the sins of a few. Not everyone in Nazi Germany committed the crimes of killing Jews and homosexuals, but everyone had to deal with the consequences of the punishments that the world governments dealt out to the nation of Germany. But guess what, when individuals in Germany broke laws, THEY were individually held responsible and judged, not others.

It's pretty clear to me, and all I said still holds. You can continue to be as difficult and obnoxious as you want, but your inability to grasp this simple concept, or unwillingness to, is pretty aggrivating. You can keep throwing the canard around, but it's been answered.

bossmanham said...

Final

post

David said...

Ok, I see you've opted to not address the specific points that I've raised.

And the key sentences in your links would be....


"The verse in question is Exodus 20:5, which says in reference to idols, “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.” This verse is speaking not so much of punishment, but of consequences. It is saying that the consequences of a man’s sins can be felt generations later."

The Bibles says PUNISHED. The individual who wrote the article reached by the link CHANGES the work punishment to CONSEQUENCES. And that's how you create a psuedo-consistency. Just change the words as needed, interpret as needed, and it all works out. Gotta love theology. It's soooo easy.

Onesimus said...

Round in circles we go - and maybe its time to revisit my very first comment:

"What should we expect from fools?"(ps 53:1.

And apart from saying there is no God - what is another characteristic of a fool?

I would say it is one who relies upon his own intellect and his own reasoning to come up with THE answer without taking into account ALL the data.

The whole argument being presented here by David relates to sections of scripture separated by several hundred years of history.

Remove those centuries (as David continues to do)and you remove the context.

David has shown he is unwilling to read the whole context.

I would say leave him alone in his delusion that his intellect and sense of justice is greater than those of the Creator.

Ryan Anderson said...

The whole argument being presented here by David relates to sections of scripture separated by several hundred years of history.

God is supposedly timeless.

Onesimus said...

And you're an expert on God?

Whether God is timeless or not is irrelevant. Scripture is an account of His relationship with mankind IN time.

Onesimus said...

…what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools

bossmanham said...

David, many translations say that God visited iniquity on the children, or that God simply dealt with them. The passage is not easily translated, as shown here. It can even be understood as saying the children acquired these sins from their parents and God continues punishing them for it because they keep doing it.

But, I think the example I gave is quite clear. We punish Iran today as a nation by placing sanctions on them. We're not punishing the individual citizens in any direct sense at all.

So it is easily reconciled, even if translated as harshly as possible. Only a dogmatist with something to gain would continue an uncharitable interpretation.

Onesimus said...

The most important case of "visiting iniquity on the children..." was when the iniquity of the whole world was "visited upon" the Son of GOD.

When Jesus (God Himself) willingly took upon Himself the sin of all of mankind.

David said...

"What should we expect from fools?"

Yes, when in doubt, say that the Bible says that if someone disagrees with your view, he's a fool. Very effective way to keep the sheep in line and deny the validity of any contrary views. An ad hom backed up by the Creator of the Universe himself. Well, can't argue with that, can I?

"David has shown he is unwilling to read the whole context."

I've been happy to deal with the context and the centuries of times separating events. I love the way the perfect rules of are constantly changing. Very amusing.

Even with "context", the arguments that I've been given still don't make sense. You and BMH want to turn these commandments into rules that somehow apply to a nation as a corporate unit. But you can't explain how this collective guilt thing works.

Does the following sentence make any sense? "The nation of Isreal shall not covet its neighbor's ass". All of the attempts to distract with the word "context" will not solve the problem that "sinful" acts are the acts of individuals, not nations, and the rules of the Ten Commandments address individual behavior.

If you think the commandments address national behavior, then please state the percentage of individuals that must commit which sin before "corporate punishment" applies. How does collective guilt work? If a nation is punished, why are some within that punished nation still favored while others are punished for simply picking the wrong ancestors?

"David, many translations say that God visited iniquity on the children, or that God simply dealt with them. The passage is not easily translated, as shown here. It can even be understood as saying the children acquired these sins from their parents and God continues punishing them for it because they keep doing it."

Lovely. So now your argument is that no one really knows what Exodus is saying? After telling me that I'm a fool and fail to consider context, now you say that this is "difficult to translate"?

Regardless, it looks to me like most of these variations on a theme still say that God is PUNISHING the great-grandkids for something that they did NOT do. And the stories of Daniel, et al., demonstate that this punishment is quite unnecessary and is not inevitable. It's God's choice, and God choses to punish those who did not commit the crime...in contradiction to Ezekiel.

"But, I think the example I gave is quite clear. We punish Iran today as a nation by placing sanctions on them. We're not punishing the individual citizens in any direct sense at all."

And I already responded to this type of argument. Humans do not have the power to prevent or avoid all collatoral damage. God does. Are you suggesting that God is limited in his power?

I think the example that I gave is also quite clear. Is the child with FAS being punished by God?

David said...

I'll grant you one thing. The humans who wrote the words in Exodus probably had a different agenda from the humans who wrote the words in Ezekiel. This is why the nature of God as described in the Bible changes over time. Human culture has changed over time, so God has to change, too.

Onesimus said...

David said:
"Does the following sentence make any sense? "The nation of Isreal shall not covet its neighbor's ass". All of the attempts to distract with the word "context" will not solve the problem that "sinful" acts are the acts of individuals, not nations, and the rules of the Ten Commandments address individual behavior. "

---

Yes it makes perfect corporate sense. The nation of Israel was held accountable for maintaining God's law among its people.

The nation had to ensure that its citizens were keeping the law and punishing them when they did not.

When the nation stopped maintaining God's law then the nation fell short of its national covenant with God and suffered national consequences.

I'm not calling you a fool because you disagree with me. Scripture identifies those who deny God as being fools.

bossmanham said...

Heh, yeah David, and you would know that cause you've spent oogles of time reading the Bible. Fact is, the Bible is 100% reliable, historical, and consistent, and it's the dumbest place to attack Christianity for those reasons.

David said...

"Fact is, the Bible is 100% reliable, historical, and consistent."

Heh, heh, good one.

Ok, I see that I'm not really getting answers to the points and questions that I've raised. Not much more to add.

bossmanham said...

Yeah, cause that's what's happened here. When you answer someone's question and they continue to ask it, something has to give. I'm not going to continue answering the same questions.