Thursday, March 08, 2007

Good God?

This challenge came from an atheist on another podcast...

Except from the act of creation, can you (the reader of this blog) give chapter and verse for any 'good' act of God, as recorded in the bible, that did not have negative consequences for someone?

For example, God was good when he helped the Israelites escape from Egypt, but the effects of God's goodness towards the Israelites resulted in bad experiences for the Egyptians.

Does God not play 'win-win' game theory?

According to the atheist guy, there are only three instances of God's goodness being good to all involved in the old testament. Can we prove him wrong?


Anonymous said...

I guess most of Jesus' miracles, although I don't know if they count.

The same could be said for life now, if you take the same attitude. Every penny you earn at work could have gone to the other guy who applied for the job. Every time you receive blood for an operation, someone has had to suffer for that to happen.

Chris Hamer-Hodges said...

The atheist has redefined the rules of the challenge with flawed logic. One must first define what it means to be "good".

Is a judge good if he lets the guilty go free, because he is not doing "bad things" to the poor ickle cwiminals?

God's goodness has two sides - he loves all that is righteous and hates all that is wicked. So it is not a contradiction at all if God's benefit to some is also retribution to others.

He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord. Pr 17:15

Ricky Carvel said...


Yes! And having listened to too many theist vs. atheist debates over the past year or so, I am fairly fed up with atheists defining morality according to their own rules, and then declaring themselves as being 'more moral' than God.

But the guy had a point when it came to the 10th plague - the firstborn of everyone in Egypt! That included the newly born baby of the poor farmer who had done nothing wrong...

And what is more, with regard to Pharaoh, the bible says that God 'hardened his heart' - inclining him to resist - and then punished him, essentially, for the hardness of his heart! Does that sound like goodness?


Chris Hamer-Hodges said...

Ricky, the death of infants is a tricky an emotive issue however you look at it. But God's goodness must be viewed from an eternal perspective. If this life is all there is, then death of any kind is the greatest tragedy, and it matters little whether we experienced good in this life or not. But Christ's victory over death, by his resurrection, points to hope beyond the grave, where every score will be settled and every wrong recompensed.

The resurrection is central to the Gospel (Good News). As Paul says, "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men."

Regarding Pharaoh. You are touching the mystery at the very heart of sovereignty and free-will. I'll not pretend there are any easy answers here either, other than to offer what Romans says on this very matter:

You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Ro 9:19-20

Anonymous said...

God just defeated Heisenburg! By hardening that persons heart he was able to preview his punishment and so show that it was his, while not changing the persons mind. Hard-heartedness doesn't have to be generic badness,hard things refuse to change. But should he have changed the Pharoes mind anyway? Well that would of been nice, but it could be said that he didn't have to give pharoe any second chances, so unlike with Jonah, he didn't.

Anonymous said...

It is true that God did harden Pharaoh's heart. However, if you read the passage in it's entirety, Pharaoh hardened his own heart before God hardened it. Each individual is responsible for their own actions. When one disobeys God's Word then they themselves are responsible for the consequences of their own actions. Had Pharaoh done what God had wanted him to do, then no plaques would have come upon Egypt. Including that of the first born being killed.

I will close my comment with a verse of scripture from the book of Revelation. In Revelation chapter 2, Jesus is speaking to the church at Thyatira. He says: "I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling." (Revelation 2:21) The King James Version says: "I gave her time to repent, and she repented not." In other words, if people are unwilling to repent, which without no man can be saved the bible says, then they will indeed reap what they sow. Thank You for your time,