Did God Make A Mistake With The Law?
A good friend of mine who is an atheist continues to have dialog with me about my beliefs in God and asks some really thoughtful questions. Below we were talking about why I do not live as those in the Old Testament, where stoning was a regular occurence for disobedience to God.
ATHEIST FRIEND: In other words, God made a mistake by telling people in the old testament to stone sinners, and then corrected the mistake by sending himself / his son to earth in the flesh. Without resorting to the standard excuse of "God works in mysterious ways", why didn't he get it right the first time around?
THE STRONG WATCHMAN: Well aside from God working in mysterious ways. There actually is order to the plan. It was not an accident. It was planned. Believe me I have thought very long on this matter. Deeper than you are going at this moment.
If God is who He says He is...essentially the creator of the universe and the designer of mankind, then God occupies a unique position. He IS the only Creator. He made everything good to begin with...but He also knew that it would go bad. God is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all powerful), and omnipresent (exists everywhere), and he knows the beginning from the end, seeing all things in time...at the same time. SO this begs the question...if He knew that everything would go terribly wrong, and that human kind would fall into sin and the knowledge of evil which would bring death and destruction at every level of existence...then why did He let it continue?
The other side of the coin is this... IF God knew all this would happen...and He has the power to stop it...from happening...what would be the result of God stopping this fall into evil?
God put the tree in the garden to begin with. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil and then he said...(whether it was a real tree or not...not sure) but God said...you may eat of every tree in the garden...except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. For in the day that you eat of that tree you will surely die. GOD knew that they would eat of this tree...or else why would he have put it there? This begs another question? Why did God put the tree there....intentionally....if He knew we would eat of it and fall?
The short answer is this...it was HIS PLAN. WHY??? Why would God want to do that? TO define HIMSELF. If there is no evil...in the universe...than there is no contrast between good and evil. There is no definition that can be understood. This does end up sounding mysteriously like the yin and yang....good and evil....that defines the universe. The only difference is...God is the good.
He wants us to know HIM. It is HIS universe, HIS plan, HIS decision, and if we have a problem with that...it's really not our business to tell God what to do. Is it? We either accept that God is the creator and be thankful that we understand His nature and are called to know Him...or we rebel against the knowledge of God and throw a temper tantrum because we don't like how God runs the universe that HE created.
In the end there is only one choice. Accept who God is...and acknowledge his authority and power as the creator or live without God which amounts to everything that is the opposite of life and light.
God is HOLY, RIGHTEOUS, JUST, PURE, LIGHT, LOVE, and ALL POWERFUL. If you turn away from HIM you turn to your own death, by your own choice. Understanding the law, the prophets, and salvation through Jesus Christ is dependent on having the correct view of the ULTIMATE AUTHORITY.
Once we get off our little imaginary pedestals where we are lecturing God about making mistakes, or how to run the universe, we can accept the RAW NATURE and POWER of HIS CREATIVE BEING. That's when everythnig starts to make sense. It can not be empirically explained....it must be understood in the heart and soul of a man. I hope that answers your question somewhat ATHEIST FRIEND...because that is my point of view, as small or as big as you consider it to be...I am utterly convinced in ways you can not begin to imagine as an empirical evidence bound atheist. Cheers my friend.
ATHEIST FRIEND: But why would God choose to condemn old testament sinners to death by stoning, while for the same crimes, new testament sinners are merely admonished not to do it again? Were the old testament sinners worthy of greater punishment than we for committing precisely the same crime? Does God love us more than he loved the old testament people?
THE STRONG WATCHMAN: That's a good question my ATHEIST FRIEND. As soon as you realize that God does everything according to the "good pleasure of His will" then you will realize it would be best to be on His side. From what I can tell of God's character and authority His pleasure is to do whatever He wills for the purpose of demonstrating His power, authority, and unique position as God. When we try to understand from our perspective (which is very small) what God is doing or has allowed to happen in the past, we are in the midst of a futile effort. My attitude towards God is hopefully as faithful as Job's. "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." Because it is not this life that matters compared to eternity. If God sees fit to take my life for the purpose of His glory, then I submit. But I have an assurance in the Spirit that I will know God is with me and not against me. What is really important about this entire question and discussion is to realize that GOD is unique...He is the only creator. If you reject God, it is not doing God damage. It is rejecting life and light. It is turning away from light and life towards the opposite, which is death and darkness. If you reject God on these grounds, I will plead with you to change your mind. If you reject God on any other grounds I will argue logically for the existence of God. By His creation. By his plan. By his prophecies. By the death of Christ. By the history of the world. All of which point to Jesus Christ.
ATHEIST FRIEND: Me personally, I find it easier to believe that all the mistakes and inconsistencies in scripture are the result of the writings of fallible (and corruptible) human beings, rather than try to come up with a whole series of excuses why an infallible being feels that he must play games, or resort to long-winded explanations in an attempt to square the circle. As usual, the obvious explanation is usually correct, just like 9/11 and the World Trade Center, just like the moon landing that wasn't faked, etc.
THE STRONG WATCHMAN: The Bible and God are not concerned with technology or the progress of man in the physical realm. It's a spiritual book. Until you realize that this temporal life is not the only life we will live...but that rather we are eternal souls...with a destiny in eternity....the Bible and God will mean nothing to you.
The Strong Watchman