“Is it objectively wrong to force someone to eat their own child?”

That is the question that I asked one of my co-workers.  She and I have a really good friendship, which might surprise some since we agree on almost nothing.  Sure, we would both admit to the label “Christian,” but what we each mean by that word differs significantly.  On this particular day, it differed on the issue of objective morals.

Simply put, the question is: are there things that are morally wrong always, in every circumstance?  Is there anything that is wrong in and of itself?  Not because of bad motives, bad methods, or poor outcomes?  Is there anything that is wrong regardless of who does it, why they did it, how they did it, or what came about because they did it?

My answer: yes.

I’ve read a lot of philosophy on both sides of the debate.  I know that very smart, even very moral people, would claim that objective morals don’t exist, that at some point everything that we call “wrong” is only wrong because our community, society, or species has collectively decided to call it wrong.  Given the right circumstances, every “wrong” might actually occasionally be “right.”

I used to think this was a debate between Christians (or theists) and atheists.  But I’ve learned that there are Christians and atheists on both sides of the issue.  Traditionally, many atheists or secularists have indeed been moral relativists.  However, there are atheists who do claim a belief in moral absolutes.1

As odd as it may be for some of us to hear of moral absolutist atheists, what strikes me as particularly odd is that there are moral relativist Christians!  What?!  Surely not!  I know, right?

Now, to be fair, most of these folks would not actually call themselves moral relativists.  They actually tend to be the sort of people that fervently decry moral relativism.  However, if one holds to the notion that every account of God in the Bible is a 100% accurate reflection or representation of Him, then it seems to me that one is forced to adopt a kind of moral relativism.

Here’s what I mean…

The Immoral God of the Old Testament

Throughout the Old Testament, we find God doing, commanding, and condoning all sorts of heinous things.  He is often petty, calling for the execution of those who fail to observe certain religious rules (Num 15: 32-36).  He is genocidal, commanding the slaughter of whole people groups (Deut 7:2; 1 Sam 15:1-9), even the slaughter of children and babies (Deut 13:6-10; Ps 137:9), and even at one point the entire human race (Gen 7:21-23) or very nearly.2

As the famed atheist Richard Dawkins puts it:

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”3

One of the most disturbing images of God that we find in the pages of the Old Testament is that of God causing parents to cannibalize their children (e.g. Lev 26:28-29; Jer 19:9; Ezek 5:10).  In fact, I think this is a good case study for the issue as a whole.  Getting back to the question at the beginning of this post: Is it wrong to force someone to eat their own child?

I think all of us would say, “yes, of course that is wrong.”  We know it to be wrong.  It isn’t simply that it makes us feel icky inside, but that, even if someone (or everyone) felt good about it, it would still be immoral.  On some gut-level, our moral intuition cries out that forcing someone anyone to eat their own children is inherently wrong, regardless of who is forcing them to do this, regardless of why they are forcing them to do it, and regardless of any other factors.  In fact, every single person I have asked has agreed – making someone eat their own children is objectively morally wrong… always!

And then there’s this passage where God says:

I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they will eat one another’s flesh in the siege and in the distress with which their enemies and those who seek their life will distress them.” (Jer 19:9, emphasis mine… obviously)4

This is part of the judgment that God is pronouncing on Judah for their religious idolatry.  My aforementioned friend tried to argue that it isn’t God making these people eat their children, but rather “their enemies and those who seek their life.”  But, let’s be honest about what the text actually says.  Yes, Judah’s enemies are the means by which God enacts His judgment on them.  But the cause of their punishment is clearly stated as God.  Moreover, it isn’t as though God says, “I will allow them to eat the flesh of their children.”  He says, “I will make them…”

No matter how you spin it, unless we are trying to say that the passage doesn’t actually say what it actually says, we are left to deal with a biblical text where God is claiming that He will force parents to eat their children.

Because He says so?

At this point, I think it is difficult for anyone who takes the Bible in a literal, straightforward manner to not resort to moral relativism.  You see, although these same folks might claim that there are moral absolutes, they can’t really point to any.  Is genocide morally wrong?  Apparently not if God commands it.  Is forcing parents to cannibalize their children morally wrong?  It’s in the Bible, so I guess not.  Is raping a little girl morally wrong?  Thankfully there are no passages where God either commands or condones this;5 however, I have a sneaking suspicion that if there were such a passage, then many of my self-proclaimed moral absolutist friends would say, I guess in some circumstances that’s actually a good thing.

If you want to see a biblical literalist do mental gymnastics, I think this is one of the best ways to motivate them.  People can be surprisingly imaginative… and selective.

But what does it mean for something to be morally right or wrong?  Is something right or wrong by virtue of who is doing it?  We don’t usually see that as very good morality.  Isn’t something like rape or genocide wrong regardless of whether it is committed by you, me, Jeffrey Dahmer, Barack Obama, Adolf Hitler, or Taylor Swift?  In fact, the characteristically “Christian” notion that morality is different when applied to God is arguably the quintessential example of moral relativism!

Now, many will retort, we can’t know the mind of God.  His ways are not our ways.  And, yes, God’s morality is loftier than ours.  But it isn’t entirely other than ours.  In fact, unless our moral intuitions have some sort of validity, we don’t really have a basis for saying anything is good or evil.

Saint Jack himself points this out in no uncertain terms:

“[I]f God’s moral judgement differs from ours so that our ‘black’ may be His ‘white’, we can mean nothing by calling Him good; for to say ‘God is good,’ while asserting that His goodness is wholly other than ours, is really only to say ‘God is we know not what’. And an utterly unknown quality in God cannot give us moral grounds for loving or obeying Him. If He is not (in our sense) ‘good’ we shall obey, if at all, only through fear – and should be equally ready to obey an omnipotent Fiend. The doctrine of Total Depravity – when the consequence is drawn that, since we are totally depraved, our idea of good is worth simply nothing – may thus turn Christianity into a form of devil-worship.”6

If Christian morality is to mean anything, it cannot be the case that God’s morality is entirely obscure and unknowable.  And if we are to avoid a kind of divine moral relativism, or worse “devil-worship,” then we cannot maintain that something that is heinously wicked suddenly becomes good and virtuous just because God says so.  This is called the Divine Command Theory, the notion that God makes something good by fiat.  If God can do whatever he wants, including genocide, and it is good just because He is God, then things that are “good” or “evil” are only so because the biggest bully on the playground says so, but they aren’t actually so.7

And all of this makes the notion of morality inconsistent at best, or else wildly capricious and meaningless.

I think, however, there’s a better way.

The God Who Gets Blamed

What if the best way to understand passages like Leviticus 19:9 is to say, “You know, I don’t think that’s true”?

Now, hold on a minute.  I can already hear some of you typing away your defense of biblical authority.  But hear me out.

What if those passages were never meant to be an accurate representation of God (at least, not by God Himself)?  As any first year Bible college student can tell you, the Bible is made up of all sorts of different genres – history, parable, poetry, wisdom, letters, apocalypse, mythology, etc.  And what exactly a piece of literature is is itself difficult to describe, even if we know the genre.  After all, the poems of Dr. Seuss, Emily Dickinson, William Shakespeare, and King David are all incredibly different from one another.  So when we talk about whether or not something is “true,” it is not entirely clear what makes something true.

In our literate, post-Gutenberg mindset, it is often tempting to equate truth with literalness, or even historical or scientific accuracy.  But is that it?  Does that cover truth in all its vast expressions, nuances, and complexity?  Is that how the biblical authors would have understood truth, or how they would have communicated it?  What about God?  Does God think that truth is best represented by straightforward propositional statements?

Now, the child of the Enlightenment in each of us might quickly respond, yes.  But think about that?  Think about your most deeply held convictions, the ideas and impressions that make up the central parts of your identity?  Did you come by those because of propositional statements?  Did hearing someone tell you “dogs make good pets” do more to convince you of this than the joy you had owning and playing with a dog?  Is it not the experience of your marriage, not the words you spoke on your wedding day, that has most effectively convinced you of your spouse’s love for you?  I think when we examine our most deeply-held beliefs, the stuff that fills us with purpose and gets us out of bed in the morning, it is really very seldom the result of straightforward facticity.

And when it comes to the Bible, in a very ancient, non-scientific, unrefined sort of way, I think one of the foundational things that indicates whether or not a text is “inspired” is not what it says, but what it does!8

In this sense, I think the most incredible thing the Bible does is invite us into a relationship with God, the sort of God who loves us in the midst of our brokenness.  My friend, Greg, in what looks to be a much more robust treatment than I could offer here, is writing a book where he makes the following argument:9

Jesus is the standard picture of God’s character.

Jesus most reveals God’s character to us when he is self-sacrificially dying on the cross, looking like a criminal, taking on the sins of people, and being punished for crimes he never committed.

And if that is what God is like when He is most clearly revealed, then that is what God has always been like, being self-sacrificial, looking like a criminal, taking on the sins of His people, and being blamed for crimes He never committed.

Always.  Even in Leviticus 19:9.  Even in every other passage where God does the sort of things that we know at the core of our moral intuition are wrong.

Thanks for reading!

1: For an example of an ardent atheist arguing for a non-theistic foundation for moral absolutes, see Sam Harris, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values (Free Press; New York, NY, 2011).

2: For more on this, check out Seven Images of God’s Disturbing Behavior in the Old Testament.

3: Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (Mariner Books; Boston, 2008), 51.

4: Do I even have to say "emphasis mine" when quoting the Bible?  After all, I'm only quoting an English translation of the Bible.  Even if there were italics in the version I'm referencing, at best I would have to say "emphasis theirs" in reference to the translators, since none of the biblical manuscripts themselves have anything in italics.  Anyhow, it seems like a trite and largely meaningless thing to have to say.

5: Although there are admittedly some passages that raise the question (e.g., Deut 22:28-29).

6: C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (HarperOne; New York, NY), 29. Regardless of whether or not you think Lewis has an accurate understanding of the doctrine of Total Depravity, I think his point regarding morality still stands.

7: For more on Divine Command Theory, the Euthyphro dilemma, and deontology, check out “Hate One Another as I Have Hated You”? (The Problem with Divine Command Theory).

8: If you're at all interested in the notion of language itself "doing things," I highly recommend that you look into Speech Act Theory.

9: Greg Boyd, The Crucifixion of the Warrior God: Reinterpreting the Old Testament’s Violent Portraits of God in Light of the Cross (InterVarsity, forthcoming).

| Theodicy | 38 comments so far

Ready for another article?

Rocky Munoz
Jesus-follower, husband, daddy, amateur theologian, former youth pastor, nerd, and coffee snob. Feel free to email me at almostheresy@gmail.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstarmunoz)

38 Comments

  1. Osa McDonald, December 21, 2015 at 12:13 am:

    Regardless of whether a person calls them self “Christian” is irrelevant. An unregenerate person is blind to the Truth. The fall of man gives us the illusion of discerning right and wrong, when that only belongs to the Most High. Go back to the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve thought it was bad that they were naked, and God said “Who told you that is bad?”

    And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
    Genesis 3:10-11 ESV

    God does as He pleases, and what He does is ALWAYS just and fair. We are evil at heart, and deserving of every part of the beating, cross, and judgment of God that was poured out on Christ. Anyone who does not understand these things is either unregenerate or a bane in Christ. The more we come to know our Lord, the more our sin is evident.

    • Rocky Munoz, December 21, 2015 at 12:02 pm:

      Hey there, Osa! Thanks for commenting on here.

      From the sound of it, you believe that the Fall has so thoroughly corrupted mankind that we now have absolutely no concept of right or wrong. For all we know, our up is God’s down and our black is His white. However, if this is the case, how then do we know that God is actually good? Just because He says so. If our basic moral intuitions are entirely capricious, and anything God does is good just because He’s God, then (as Lewis said) for all we know God is just an “omnipotent Fiend” and Christianity is just “a form of devil-worship”.

      • Osa McDonald, December 21, 2015 at 12:17 pm:

        Here is the fact of the matter sir. God is who He is, regardless of what we think. He does not change, and He will not change. We know He is good because we see the Father in Jesus, and Jesus showed us His mercy and compassion. We also know that God is just and righteous.

        From birth we are guilty of breaking the greatest of all the commandments because we do not keep our minds focused on God in full and constant worship. Nobody can do this, but God commands it. The violation of God’s law is death. Physical and spiritual. He is just to condemn all to eternal torment, for all are guilty.

        I would be willing to bet you are unregenerate, and reject the Word as a whole. At least you would have to be in order to deny any part of the Word. The logical end of your thought process is either universal salvation, which is heresy, or open theism, which is not Christian.

        The Word
        The difference between a Spirit filled believer and the rest of the world is that a believer is in complete submission to the Word as absolute Truth, evidencing that Jesus Christ is Lord, and interpret scripture with scripture.

        The spirit is the Word, Jesus is the Word, the Word is truth, Jesus is the Truth, we are sanctified by the truth, which is the Word. I am not confining Jesus to the written Word, as He is in a physical body right now in Heaven, but as scripture interprets scripture, the written Word is absolutely a part of Him. (1 Pet 1:2; Jn 1:1; 6:63; 14:6; 17:17; Mt 4:4; Jer 15:16; Rev 10:8-11 NKJV)

        • Rocky Munoz, December 21, 2015 at 2:44 pm:

          So…. are you saying then that things like genocide, rape, murder, and cannibalism are all perfectly okay (even good) as long as it is God doing them? Like I mentioned, that seems like the epitome of moral relativism. Even if you say that morality is grounded in God, that view of God is itself capricious.

          • Osa McDonald, December 21, 2015 at 2:47 pm:

            When God allows them, it is for a reason beyond us, and is just. Have you ever read the book of Job? Maybe you should.

          • Rocky Munoz, December 28, 2015 at 12:03 pm:

            I have read Job, several times. I’m afraid it’s a far more nuanced and ambiguous book that you’d probably think.

  2. Osa McDonald, December 21, 2015 at 12:29 pm:

    Do you think God will be unfair when He slays His enemies and cast them into eternal torment? Do you think God changes? Who do you think will be cutting the unbeliever in two and casting him into Hell fire? (Deut 32:39-42; Isa 66:22-24; Rev 19:11-16 NKJV)

    It is Jesus who executes the wrath of God. Be not deceived. Do you know what God says about that great and terrible day? (Joel 2:5-11 NKJV)

    • Rocky Munoz, December 21, 2015 at 2:42 pm:

      No offense, Osa. But I think you are assuming your interpretation of those passages is the only viable interpretation.

  3. Osa McDonald, December 21, 2015 at 2:49 pm:

    No offense taken. I take God at His Word every time, and those verses mean EXACTLY what they say. No interpretation necessary sir.

    • Rocky Munoz, December 21, 2015 at 5:15 pm:

      If you believe that you are only reading those passages, and not interpreting them at all, then I am afraid that you are blinded to your own interpretive filters. Everyone interprets, including you, my friend. If you interested, I would highly recommend reading The Blue Parakeet. It might be eye opening.

      • Osa McDonald, December 22, 2015 at 12:47 pm:

        Sola Scriptura. The Word is sufficient, and it interprets itself. Nobody needs to read anything outside of the Bible. Period. Human perception is the flaw, not the Word. Jesus says His words are spirit, and the Holy Spirit leads us into ALL Truth. You to not teach “Almost heresy”. You teach flat out heresy, and thankfully the sheep will know the difference. Your corruption will not go without cost, and you will indeed be held accountable in that day.

        • Rocky Munoz, December 22, 2015 at 5:23 pm:

          As I mentioned before, your assumption that you are merely reading Scripture without any interpretive lens is sadly mistaken. Even the simple fact that you are reading the Bible in English, and not in the original languages, is itself a filter that colors how you understand many (if not all) passages. Moreover, you seem to have a sorely impoverished understanding of Sola Scriptura (click here to learn more).

          I do, however, want to applaud your enthusiasm. You certainly are passionate about your convictions, and I think that’s great. But please be careful not to allow your zeal to be an excuse to dismiss opposing perspectives offhand. Be passionate, but also be willing to consider the evidences that support other views. As the apostle Paul wrote, “examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thess 5:21). Until you’ve fully examined my perspectives, until you know my views as well as I do (or close), you are being to hasty to condemn me for them.

          • Osa McDonald, December 22, 2015 at 5:35 pm:

            No. No misunderstanding of Sola Scriptura. Scripture interprets Scripture, and the Holy Spirit leads us into ALL TRUTH. Why would you look at anything that opposes the Truth? That would be silly. Trust the Lord with ALL your heart. (1 Jn 2:26-27 NKJV)

            As I said before… I have no desire to convince you. I am simply commanded to speak the Truth, so I do. I do not seek applause of men. ANYTHING that denies the Word is antichrist. Period.

          • Rocky Munoz, December 22, 2015 at 10:15 pm:

            I’m afraid that I must simply disagree with you on this point, Osa. Your understanding of Sola Scriptura is not the traditional understanding, but more along the lines of what is sometimes called solo scriptura. Since you hold CARM.org as a reliable source, it might be worth noting that even they concede that “Sola Scriptura does not negate past church councils or traditions. Those who hold to Sola Scriptura are free to consider past councils, traditions, commentaries, and the opinions of others.”

  4. Osa McDonald, December 21, 2015 at 2:52 pm:

    The fall gave us the illusion that we have the ability to discern right from wrong when only God has that right. Surely you have things turned around. Shall the Potter be esteemed as the clay? (Isa 29:16 NKJV)

    • Brad Magyar, December 21, 2015 at 3:52 pm:

      Well done Osa, you shut him right down!

      Let’s allow Romans 9 to speak for itself. If Paul is not to be taken at his word here and this passage is not intended to be taken at face value, then the meaning of ALL scripture is in question. It could not get any clearer, that God is free to do as He wills and that His sovereign intent is for the good of His children and for His own glory!

      • Rocky Munoz, December 21, 2015 at 5:21 pm:

        I’m afraid Osa hasn’t shut anyone down, Brad. I get the sense that you too believe you are only reading Scripture and not interpreting it at all. Regarding Romans 9, might I recommend another of my blog posts where I highlight the flaws in your interpretation of it.

      • Osa McDonald, December 22, 2015 at 12:43 pm:

        Amen Brad. Sola Scriptura. Interpret Scripture with Scripture, and it removes human perception which is tainted and fallen. The Word is sufficient.

        • Brad Magyar, December 28, 2015 at 11:32 am:

          Roland, who cares what it “seems like to you?” You are a sinful, depraved creature, why does your opinion hold any weight in divine matters? You cannot “follow Jesus” and simultaneously refuse to worship and glorify the Father. Jesus is one with the Father. If you dispute any of those points and yet claim to be a follower of Christ, then I’m sorry, but you are sadly mistaken.

          • Rocky Munoz, December 28, 2015 at 12:05 pm:

            I think Roland actually had a really great question, Brad. Your response seems less like an attempt to answer it, and more like an attempt to shut down questioning (which is the better approach).

      • Roland Lindgren, December 26, 2015 at 5:58 pm:

        I’ve heard Christians say the Father wants us to glorify and worship Him. Why would he want that? That seems like egotism to me. He just wants us to follow Jesus, do the Commandments and care for one another doesn’t He?

        • Rocky Munoz, December 28, 2015 at 12:00 pm:

          You raise an excellent point, Roland! Throughout much of human history it was believed that God (or the gods) wanted sacrifices and ceremonies in their honor. This assumption is clearly present in the religion of the Old Testament Israelites. However, as things progress we find that God is not so much interested in such things for their own sake, but rather (as you said) our devotion to Him, particularly in how we treat others. This is why God rejects the worship of those who treat others unjustly (Isa 1:11-17; Hos 6:6; Amos 5:21-24). Jesus repeats this emphasis on mercy over sacrifice (Mt 9:13; 12:7).

          So, it isn’t that we should worship God through religious practices, or that we should cease to worship God and instead simply work for social justice. Rather, the best way to worship God is through serving others! This is what Jesus meant when he said that the second command (“love your neighbor”) is like the first (“love the Lord your God”; Mt 22:34-40). This is also why the apostle John says that you cannot love God without acting lovingly toward others (1 Jn 4:19-21), and James writes that a true religion is one that takes care of the poor and marginalized (Jas 1:27).

      • Brad Magyar, December 28, 2015 at 11:27 am:

        We are suppressing our own sinful desire to create and worship idols and instead allowing scripture to interpret itself. All of the answers are there. Theological liberals enjoy darkening the waters and making it seem incomprehensible, but it’s really not that complex if you are reading it honestly. You are not reading it honestly and allowing the text to speak for itself, and that is sin. Your abysmal and hapless analysis of Romans 9 in the blog post you referenced only underlines this point… it’s one of the clearest examples of eisegesis I’ve seen to date.

        As Augustine rightly pointed out, by rejecting the parts of scripture that you don’t like, you are believing in yourself, not the gospel.

        • Rocky Munoz, December 28, 2015 at 12:08 pm:

          Perhaps you didn’t give my blog post a fair read. I wasn’t rejecting Scripture, I was interpreting it by reading it in context. Perhaps it seems like I am rejecting Scripture only because I am rejecting your interpretation of it. It isn’t that I am trying to darken the waters of theology, but as I have studied Scripture more and more, I have found the sort of clichéd answers you give to be less and less convincing (and not actually as “biblical” as I had been told initially).

          • Brad Magyar, December 28, 2015 at 12:42 pm:

            That’s nice, unfortunately it has no connection to reality. I read your entire blog post carefully and you (I suspect intentionally) left crucial elements out of your exegesis of the text (such as mentioning Jacob and Esau only in passing, but then only dealing with verse 11 by completely rejecting its explicit premise). I need to ask you a few questions, if you wouldn’t mind answering them for me. You’re all for open dialogue, right? Let’s have one the .

            1) If, for the sake of argument, God did elect some unto salvation and left the rest to damnation, what would you believe about God? Would He be unjust?

            2) Do people need to be saved? If so, from what?

            3) How can I be saved?

            4) Who is Jesus?

            5) Is He the only way to the Father?

            6) What was Jesus’ view of scripture?

            7) Is Jesus the eternal creator of the universe?

            8) Does He have authority over all flesh?

            Just a few starter questions. I’m sure I’ll have some more after you respond.

          • Rocky Munoz, December 28, 2015 at 1:55 pm:

            Hi there again, Brad! I hope you had a great Christmas. I didn’t reject what Romans 9:11 said about Jacob and Esau. I placed it appropriately within the context of Paul’s argumentation. Like I mentioned in the post, Paul is showing that he understands where his fellow Jews are coming from and their line of thinking, not that he agrees with it. Again, if you miss the transition that he makes in verse 20 (“on the contrary”), you will misunderstand the point he was trying to make leading up to it.

            I do love a good open dialogue. But I also think that the conversation you are wanting to have might best take place over an email correspondence, since if this gets too lengthy it will clutter up the comments section here. Anyhow, I’ll go ahead and give my short answers to the questions you posed, and if you would like to ask more questions, get clarification on my answers, or offer a point-by-point critique, please feel free to send me an email at rocky@almostheresy.com.

            1) If God did elect some unto salvation and left the rest to damnation, what would you believe about God? Would He be unjust? Yes, I think so. Of course, if that were how God chose to do things, I would just have to accept it. My obedience, however, would come out of fear, not love. I would certainly have every reason to be afraid of that God, but also every reason not to love Him.

            2) Do people need to be saved? If so, from what? I do think people need to be saved, but not from God. Rather, people need saving from Satan, sin, and death.

            3) How can I be saved? I believe that salvation comes by following Jesus. That doesn’t mean reciting a prayer of some such incantation, or merely mentally accepting a prescribed set of doctrines. Rather, that means following Jesus’ teachings and example. In this way we live into the salvation that he won on the cross.

            4) Who is Jesus? I believe that Jesus was and is the second Person (the Son) of the divine Godhead, and that he became a Jewish human being approximately two thousand years ago. I believe that he was both fully God and fully man.

            5) Is He the only way to the Father? Yes, I think so (although I might mean something different than you do in this regard).

            6) What was Jesus’ view of scripture? From what I can tell from the Gospels, Jesus saw the Old Testament as divinely inspired. However, this does not mean that he ascribed to it the same sort of historical-scientific inerrancy that modern Christians are prone to. In fact, there are good reasons to believe that Jesus’ understanding of divine inspiration actually conflicts with that.

            7) Is Jesus the eternal creator of the universe? Yes.

            8) Does He have authority over all flesh? In the most non-coercive way possible, yes.

            These are great questions, Brad. And I am excited for the following conversation!

        • Roland Lindgren, December 28, 2015 at 7:57 pm:

          I am not disputing anything Brad. I can’t speak for anyone else and neither can you. but I don’t worship idols. I think if one has a picture of Jesus on the wall that’s idolatry too. I consider myself a sincere seeker of Truth and so I have questions to seek answers to. I have never been a blind believer. Did Jesus say “Awake sleep not”? In my experience, to awaken means question everything until I have been given or shown. It means much more but that’s all I will say for now about that. Many years ago I sincerely asked “God, if you are really there would you please show me”? I was shown. and have had many revelations since then.

          What is a Theological liberal?

          I don’t think I am in sin because I believe that homosexuals can’t help it, that they are born that way. or that women are not created as the man’s help mate but both are created as help mates for each other. which means equality in The Father’s eyes. Does the Father favor the male? I don’t think so.

          I sense anger in your response Brad. Am I correct? if so I don’t think you are in Jesus’ favor that way. Love has nothing to do with anger. Maybe we both have a lot to learn yet eh.

  5. stegokitty, December 21, 2015 at 4:18 pm:

    God didn’t open their mouths, put their babies therein, move their jaws up and down to chew them, nor moved their muscles to cause them to swallow their babies. Your forced use of “make” is absurd. God is in the midst of righteously punishing Israel for their rebellion. He warned them years before that they would indeed eat their own children IF they rebelled, but they wouldn’t listen. So He, being the good, just, righteous, and truthful God that He is, came through on His promise. Nothing wrong with that at all.

    The Father also foreordained the crucifixion of Christ. Are you going to call Him a criminal for that one? And remember, God doesn’t merely foreordain something out of thin air; all of the thoughts, words, and actions of each and every person involved were themselves foreordained, yet God was not guilty of DOING them, nor of FORCING anyone to do them. THEY were guilty of doing them.

    “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men … Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.” (Acts 2:23 … James 1:13 ESV)

    You might want to take your friend’s advice:
    “And if that is what God is like when He is most clearly revealed, then that is what God has always been like, being self-sacrificial, looking like a criminal, taking on the sins of His people, and being blamed for crimes He never committed.”

    You’re very busy accusing the revelation of God in the OT as being that of a criminal. You might want to take a step back, and realize you’re on extremely dangerous ground.

    • Rocky Munoz, December 21, 2015 at 5:26 pm:

      Hi there, stegokitty(?). Thanks for chiming in. I get that you are wanting to absolve God of any guilt in Jeremiah 19:9 by saying that He didn’t actually make people eat their children (which is what the text actually says), but only allowed them to do it as a result of their wickedness. To that I would say, congratulations! You apparently are not a biblical literalist, since you are willing to take a non-literal interpretive step. I don’t have a problem with this. It’s just something I think we need to accept and be honest about.

      I certainly do and have taken my friend Greg’s advice on a good many things. However, unless you believe the God of the OT is actually threatened by my questioning, I don’t see how I’m on any kind of dangerous ground. After all, it’s not God Himself that I am questioning, but rather how some people (such as yourself) interpret and understand Him. And those two are not the same thing.

    • Osa McDonald, December 22, 2015 at 12:42 pm:

      Well said stegokitty. Amen.

  6. Osa McDonald, December 22, 2015 at 5:37 pm:

    I do say though Rocky… If you deny the wrath and holiness of God, what is it that we are saved from? Furthermore… If you think the things in the OT are confined to the temporal past you are missing huge truths to the spiritual. The wrath of God is being poured out CURRENT TENSE. Search out what that means.

    osamcdonald.blogspot.com

  7. Osa McDonald, December 22, 2015 at 6:44 pm:

    Another great source for Christian apologitics, the non-heresy kind, is carm.org.

    • Rocky Munoz, December 22, 2015 at 10:18 pm:

      Thanks for sharing resources, Osa. I am quite familiar with CARM, and quite unimpressed by their particular self-proclaimed version of orthodoxy. In general, I find it to be poorly researched, hardly nuanced, and pitifully argued.

  8. Austin Bazil, March 10, 2016 at 9:35 pm:

    You need to look up all your questions at ICR.org. And watch quest4truth till your eyes bleed. Your lack of Biblical knowledge is present because of the secular humanist you revere. You points are endlessly debated but unarguable because you last answer is trust in a person who is usually trying to dissuade people from a belief in God. I will gladly let you bring whom ever you choose to a video debate with Douglas Hamp or Rob Skiba. You can tell me secular humanist don’t respect them, however I see little how that matters. I believe you bend your doctrine and faith because you desire is to be considered intellectual. You will someday arrive where Steven did unless you are not being honest at all. Is your purpose to dissuade people from the truth that Jesus is the Christ? You are either completely ignorant of many truths of the Bible and its claims about its self or you are intent. Your influences have somehow convinced you that you can tell which parts of the bible are correct and which are not based off of people who are opposed to the Living God. Written debate is endless but I will offer many to do a live recorded debate or discussion with whomever you choose to bring. You cannot defend many positions you take, I would like people to see that demonstrated.

    • Rocky Munoz, March 13, 2016 at 7:28 pm:

      Hi there, Austin. Thanks for the invitation. I’m afraid I have to decline a debate with your friends. I simple don’t have the bandwidth or interest right now. But I’ll let you know if that changes in the future.

      I will say, however, that if Douglas and Rob employ the sort of ad hominem or genetic fallacies that were prevalent in this last comment of yours, I don’t think there is anything to be gained in trying to dialogue with them.

      • Austin Bazil, March 14, 2016 at 10:02 am:

        Well you can say that however I will pay to increase your bandwidth for a month so you can do it. I am open to have you bring whomever represents your faulty thinking. I am not sure how you constantly insult people who believe the Bible and shrink into victim mode. Is it the bigger person who is constantly making insulting articles while unable to defend a position. So the logic is walk a way from a debate and call it an ad hominem and that will cover it. There would be a great deal for you to gain if you want to discover some truth. You lack of linguistic and doctrinal training are shocking while posting many areas you are obviously ignorant to. As I am sure you may be a nice person the endless way you insult without any measure of truth those who believe the Bible, apparently seems nicer and more worth your time in endless written bickering. Taking the position that people have just not the understanding or taken the time is probably true at 24 years of age. What becomes shocking about that position is how illogical your positions become when you realize the Bible is all true and accurate. I see that being demonstrated to you as really valuable in live debate form as it can be recorded and replayed. Walking away from a productive talk is what people will not look at the other side. I come from your side and it is pure nonsense because you cannot trust your truth source. Maybe it would be more comfortable in panel form, maybe live and you can recruit some people that could help you. Anyway contact me when you feel confident in your position you could reach many more people if you feel you are correct.

        • Rocky Munoz, March 14, 2016 at 11:17 am:

          Well, hey there again, Austin! Thanks again for the invitation, but I’m afraid I’ll have to decline. When I say that I don’t have enough bandwidth, I didn’t mean my internet connection. I meant that I have too many responsibilities and commitments, and I just wouldn’t be able to give a debate the sort of attention it deserves right now.

          As for the ad hominem statement, again you haven’t actually dealt with anything that I’ve said in the article. Claiming that I have a lack of training is a really shoddy substitute for actually engaging the ideas I’ve presented. You can say I’m ignorant all day, but until you can actually demonstrate my ignorance, you’re just targeting me and not my article or ideas. I get that you would prefer a live conversation to a written one, and there are certainly many benefits to that. But, like I said, I just can’t right now, and I’m not entirely convinced that the conversation would be fruitful. I’ll let you know if that changes in the future though.

          Thanks again for the invite, and God bless!

  9. Austin Bazil, March 14, 2016 at 10:06 am:

    typo’s present. I should have waited until I was out of that meeting. Anyway. My last post. Until a productive, live debate can happen. Thanks and sorry for the typo’s in that last post.


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