deconstructing dawkins




deconstructing dawkins

I feel led to counter what is probably dawkins’ most famous and venomous tirade against the God of the Bible and creator of the universe.

this is the quote I will be answering, from his book “the god delusion”

“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.” – “the god delusion”

1. “Jealous.”

God does describe himself as Jealous in the Old Testament, He is jealous for the fellowship and union with his creation and the people he has chosen. This type of jealousy is love and not a greedy and inconsiderate type of jealousy as humans often display. There is a difference here.

God’s jealousy is a result of the zeal of his love for creation, and in the Old Testament’s case, the hebrew’s whom he took pity on. His jealousy is not really selfish either, as he seeks our union with him, for our benefit. Of course He wants our fellowship, but the real loss from a disconnection with God is for us. So it is in our interest that God seeks our union.

So God’s “jealously” is really a loving zeal which desires that we do not become lost. His jealousy is a care, a care about us and our relationship with him. God is not indifferent, he wants us to be connected with him.

With human jealousy we are completely self centred, we want the company of another for our own enjoyment. But the type of Jealousy God has is motivated by his awareness that we are blessed in his presence and only his presence. He is jealous for us for our own sake ultimately, and he knows that by “sharing” humanity with any other false god or idol, we become spiritually lost and dead, because we become disconnected from His living Spirit.

2. “Proud of the jealousy”

God declares he is jealous as a declaration of His zeal for his creation, and as a serious warning of the consequences of disconnecting from him, and going after other gods, which are false.

When God declares he is jealous He is declaring his love for the people of israel at the time, and warning them of the spiritual dangers of disconnecting from His living spirit, and going after idols who are not really God.

It is a bold declaration and warning, rather than an example of “pride”.

3.  “Petty”

God is never petty in the Bible. Everything that is done has a very good reason, and is always based on justice and love overall. Even the judgments are based on retribution and the punishment of wickedness. What seems petty to some readers is usually due to their lack of consideration of the reason for things or their preconceived agenda to dismiss the Bible.

Here are some scriptural examples of how God is not petty, but rather considerate, patient and merciful.

Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that they should turn from their ways and live? – Ezekiel 18:23

Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel? – Ezekiel 33:11

Again, though I say to the wicked, “You shall surely die,” yet if they turn from their sin and do what is lawful and right – if the wicked restore the pledge, give back what they have taken by robbery, and walk in the statutes of life, committing no iniquity—they shall surely live, they shall not die.  – Ezekiel 33:14-15

As we examine these scriptures we begin to get a very different version of the God of the Bible from the one depicted by dawkins in his books. Here God is stating clearly that he does not enjoy the destruction of the wicked, but would rather that they turn from their unjust ways and life.

According to dawkins and his ilk God acts destructively upon a whim and with petty reasons, from reading deeper into the Bible we can see that God acts justly to remove unrepentant evil and that he would rather not have to, but instead that the wicked would change their ways.

This is the consideration, reason and pleading of a loving God who wants his creation to live in peace, according to His ways, but will act to remove injustice, if it becomes unrepentant and cruel.

So Gods actions are considered and based in reason, the opposite of petty and reactionary.

It is intact dawkins who is being petty in his superficial reading of the scripture and depictions.

4. “unjust”

A complete study of the Old Testament would make anyone with a sound mind come to the conclusion that God’s motive is always just. Even his harsh punishments of groups are in just retribution towards unrepentant evil deeds.

In fact the whole message of the Bible is about establishing justice in the land and that it is God’s will for justice to rule. God’s judgments, which are deemed petty and vindictive by people like dawkins are mete out for precisely the reason of establishing justice in a land or group which has become unjust, corrupt and evil.

The same scriptural references mentioned in the previous point can be reviewed here to show that God is actually the pinnacle of all justice and desires his creation to turn from injustice and live rightly.

The Old Testament makes it clear over and over again that God commands justice and seeks it to be done and that his actions of judgment are in fact justice in action.

The heart of God on the matter of justice can most distinctly be surmised in the following scripture from Deuteronomy;

Pursue justice and justice alone, so that you will live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you. – Deuteronomy 16:20

So the Bible, and the God of the Bible makes it explicitly clear that his will is justice and for justice to be carried out.

Again the injustice here seems to be dakwins misrepresentation.

5. “unforgiving control-freak”

To accuse the God of the Bible of being unforgiving again shows dawkins’  lack of scriptural knowledge. With God’s commands came severe warning, that there will be blessings if there is obedience to his will (which is righteousness), but also curses and punishment for disobedience and evil.

What dawkins appears to have done is focused again on some of the harsh judgments and consequences God made, without considering why they were made, and jumped to a false conclusion.

The very fact that adam and eve were able to sin and become disobedient is an example of how God is not a control freak, but rather that he allowed them to disobey. It is the same with the children of Israel and for every human today. God has given us the freewill to follow him or reject him. There is punishment and consequence for disobedience, but there is also the freewill choice to disobey.

Even though we sin and adam and eve disobeyed, they were not immediately destroyed by God either, further debunking the notion of God being a terrible dictator type figure.

God even had patience and mercy on Cain, the first murderer, and allowed him to continue to live, even though he had committed one of the worst crimes possible.

God even allows us to reject him eternally, a control freak would force everyone to obey him. God does not force, he has given everyone the choice to accept him or reject him. Although the spiritual consequences for rejecting the source of all Spirit and life are hellish.

Here are some scriptures that discredit dawkin’s portrayal of God as unforgiving;

For I will not accuse [you] forever, and I will not always be angry; for then the spirit would grow weak before Me, even the breath [of man], which I have made. Because of his sinful greed I was angry, so I struck him; I was angry and hid; but he went on turning back to the desires of his heart. I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, creating words of praise.” The Lord says, “Peace, peace to the one who is far or near, and I will heal him. – Isaiah 57:16-19

Go, proclaim these words to the north, and say: Return, unfaithful Israel. [This is] the Lord’s declaration. I will not look on you with anger, for I am unfailing in My love. [This is] the Lord’s declaration. I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt- you have rebelled against the Lord your God. You have scattered your favours to strangers under every green tree and have not obeyed My voice. [This is] the Lord’s declaration. “Return, you faithless children”-[this is] the Lord’s declaration-“for I am your master, and I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. I will give you shepherds who are loyal to Me, and they will shepherd you with knowledge and skill. – Jeremiah 3: 12-15

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love. He will not always accuse [us] or be angry forever. He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offences. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him. – Psalm 103:8-11

6. “vindictive”

here dawkins mistakes God’s just retribution for selfish human revenge. A cursory reading of the Bible could result in taking away many false interpretations of God. In no sense of the word is the Creator, recorded in the Bible vindictive. To be vindictive infers a petty irrational desire for retaliation, but the God of the Bible, the creator of the universe is in fact the opposite of this. The large scale harsh punishments are all after many years and sometimes generations of individuals behaving in terrible immorality.

God is in fact shown to be very patient, even with the wicked, but does bring about severe destruction and punishment upon those who have no desire to end their evil ways, and this is just. God’s judgement is always reasoned and based on justice and a thirst to see righteousness.

A passage that exemplifies God’s heart in the matter of human sin and punishment is Ezekiel 18:23;

“Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked?” [This is] the declaration of the Lord God. “Instead, don’t I [take pleasure] when he turns from his ways and lives?”

So God is not interested in a hot headed irrational retaliation, but actually would prefer the wicked would live, if only people would end their misconduct.

7. “bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser”

I suppose this would be in reference to God’s command for Israel to enter into and wipe out the pagan tribes, in the land he gave to them. The first major error with this misrepresentation is to imply God somehow enjoys death and bloodshed. This could not be further from the truth is further scripture was studied.

For example God prevented David from constructing a temple to him because David had so much blood on his hands from warfare. War  and violence is never God’s ideal will, but sometimes it has been necessary in order to remove unrepentant evil.

The reason God commanded the pagan tribes to be destroyed was due to the depth of their depravity and unrepentant wickedness. They were living in complete lawlessness, deceit, violence, abuse and hatred. Practicing things like child sacrifice to pagan idols and never living with any integrity or honesty between each other.

So eventually when such a group becomes as unjust and cruel as that, and has no intention of changing, but rather to perpetuate further generations of corruption, the righteous thing to do is step in and end it. In fact to allow unrepentant evil to continue without end would be evil and cruel, but is what is being argued by those who ignorantly accuse God of being wrong in His interventions.

8. “misogynistic”

God does not hate women, nor do his laws demean women. There is a difference between God’s way and man’s way, between God’s design and man’s warped version of equality.

The truth of the matter is men and women are designed differently and are better suited to different tasks. The male is generally physically stronger and better suited to leadership roles, while the female is more adept at nurturing and being emotionally sensitive. It was designed like this so the women could be especially sensitive during child birth and in upbringing, and so that the male could offer greater strength of support to the woman and child.

This is God’s created system and order, as reflected in Adam being made first, and then Eve made second. It is not that the women is inferior or less precious, but that her role physically is different in the earth, as attested to in the undeniably objective physiology.

Because man was made first and is designed with greater strength physically and emotionally, in representation of the Father, He is the lead or head. The female is the compliment and more attuned to nurturing. This is why the female should not take the lead spiritually, as it reverses God’s created order and design. This role reversal began when Eve was beguiled by the serpent and then led Adam astray.

It is not misogynistic to recognise men and women have different designs and are better suited to different roles. In a secular world system these boundaries and natural distinctions are being denied and the system is attempting to blur the differences. It is almost a hate crime under equality laws now to recognise that women are the child bearers and men are not, or that we have differing genitalia. However God’s design order physically, emotionally, and mentally is objectively real and no amount of political correctness and denial will change that.

9. “Homophobic”

Homosexuality is a type of lust – and God does hate perverted types of lust and inclinations. So yes God does hate the sin of homosexual lust, in the same way He hates the sin of bestiality, necrophilia or zoophilia. It is natural and right to be repulsed by homosexuality or any other perverted lust and lifestyle. But God does not hate the individual who has identified themselves with the deviance, rather He wants them to repent.

Humans can develop many perverted inclinations and desires. Infants have no lust, so no one is born with a lust for animals, children, dead people or same sex. Sexual desire develops around the time of puberty, and if the process is not corrupted, a natural desire for the opposite sex will develop.

God’s design order and will is clear in the objective biological design of the sex organs. They are designed male and female, same sex organs are incompatible. It is clear that the sane, natural, respectful and loving way to engage in sex is between the sex organs, as they are designed, male and female to fit together. They even have the outcome of producing new life when they are used in right order.

So God wants us to live in right order and sanity, according to His will of respect and goodness, and this is why homosexuality or any other type of sexual deviance is an abomination to him, because it directly violates His intent and design order. It is a serious act of rebellion to God and abuse of life, regardless of consent. As Love involves respect for the body and the one who designed it.

10. “racist”

There is no racism from God in the Bible. The hebrew tribe were not a race or of a particular skin tone, but rather made up of several. So this just shows a misleading desperation.

However if you want to falsely say the hebrew tribe were a race, God made it very clear that he did not favour them on the basis of their race or superiority, in fact He makes that very clear, and states the reason the pagan tribes were being removed was due to the depth of their wickedness, rather than any special aptitude of the jews.

Much of racist thought stems from evolutionary ideas about the black man being a savage and a sub-human intermediary only suitable for menial tasks. This type of thinking was promoted by darwin in his book the descent of man, where he talks about the evolutionary gap between man and ape widening if the negro and gorilla are extinguished.

11. “infanticidal”

God killed the first born of egypt as punishment for Pharaoh killing the first born Israelites. Children were also killed during the wars to remove pagan groups, however this was a consequence of the level of corruption of the society and the wickedness of the parents. Many of these children would have been burnt to idols and endured lengthier torments at the hands of their pagan parents, or even worse, brought up and brainwashed into similar acts, making them turn away from God and losing their spiritual connection to the Creator. Through such intervention and destruction of pagan groups, any untainted innocent children would enter God’s presence upon death and be saved.

God never targets innocent human life or children, but rather they are killed as a consequence of the removal of the greater evil and groups they have been born into. So it is a sad consequence, but infants, being untainted by intentional wickedness would not go to hell, so in the greater spiritual sense, they are being saved.

12. “genocidal”

This accusation has already been covered and addressed really, as I notice many of these accusations overlap. Here dawkins again is relying on the ignorance of his readers to cherry picks Bible verses out of context not considering the reasons for Gods actions. God did not just think “I think I’d like to kill some innocent humans today”. The reason God does intervene to destroy or punish is for very good just reasons, because of wickedness and evil. So God judges and acts to destroy unrepentant evil and to restore justice and peace.

13. “filicidal”

If this is in reference to Jesus’s death, then dawkins has the wrong thinking here. Christ really is one with God and part of the Father, in the mystery of the trinity. So it is not the same as God sending a completely distinct entity to die on earth, but rather that an aspect of God Himself entered into the world and died in order to show his love, truth and way, inspite of humanities hatred of that truth.

14. “pestilential”

Plagues again were sent as a just punishment and retribution for human sin and injustice. They were not thrown around randomly with malevolence as is implied by the accusation.

15. “megalomaniacal”

The implication of this is that God was acting errantly under a power trip. However if you study the Bible and consider the reasons why things were done, and also the answer God gives as to why, you would never come to the conclusion God is in any way megalomaniacal.

Rather God is very patient, even with those engaging in wrongdoing. He permits us freewill, but if the sin is prolonged and unrepentant, then it is the just and right thing to do to intervene. This is not mania or megalomania, but rather merciful justice.

16. “sadomasochistic”

The verse again that deal directly with this accusation and shows it is a lie is Ezekiel 18:23

Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that they should turn from their ways and live? – Ezekiel 18:23

17. “capriciously malevolent bully”

Many of these false accusations repeat and intersect. This last three word assessment basically sums up the whole of dawkin’s tirade.

God is not capricious, as a careful study of the Bible will show a great deal of patience with individuals and groups before the eventual judgments. God punishes injustice and sin in hope that the individual or group will change and turn. However if the behaviour continues to the point of no return, and beyond any interest in change, then it would be wrong to let that continue for endless generations.

His actions of intervention and judgment are not motivated by pettiness or malice, but rather by the desire for justice, righteousness and peace to prevail and exist in life.

God allows humanity freewill in order to make mistakes and learn. The evidence of human error, sin, recorded in the Bible is proof that God has the patience to allow people to mess up, and is not continually wiping everyone out. So that also puts pay to the mischaracterisation of God as a bully. Even today the world us full of injustice and humans making mistakes. In fact some atheists use the seeming lack of intervention from God as a reason to doubt his existence.

People such as dawkins want to accuse and blame God when He does intervene, and malign him as a dictatorial bully, but then at the same time accuse him of not existing or being irresponsible if He does not intervene. So God and truth cannot exist in some peoples eyes, they are only looking for ways to try and deny God.

The reality is, God is patient and allows us freewill. However eventually He does step in to bring judgment on a large scale if the problem amasses to a great level. We are reaping what we sow each moment and groups have also reaped what they have sown in the past.

Soon there will also be the final judgment for humanity and the world in which all things will be brought into truth and justice.



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