Is God Evil? A Response, Part 1 (Adam and Eve)

Daniel Florien over at Unreasonable Faith has begun a series entitled, “An Evil God?:  A Journey Through the Dark Parts of the Bible.”  It’s a bold undertaking and I admire him for taking on the challenge.  There are definitely some dark parts of the Bible that those who are so inclined can use for their atheistic cause.  The problem comes when they must put their morality upon God and must interpret Scripture through their Western thinking minds, with no heed to context, in order to heighten the absurdity they hope to prove.

Daniel breaks up his article into sections;  I will follow these sections and respond to him point by point.

The Bible’s Answer

According to Daniel, the story of Adam and Eve is meant to explain why the world is so bad.  Right there, Daniel reveals his starting presupposition that the Bible is NOT accurate in it’s story telling.  That is, the Bible claims that this narrative of Adam and Eve happened in the beginning, but by saying . . .

The Bible, like many myths, begins with answering how the world came to be and why it’s so screwed up.

The Bible is, at the outset and a priori, treated like a compilations of myth-stories whose sole purpose is to explain phenomena.  The idea that the Bible might be just recording history is never considered.  Taking into consideration that no archaeological find has EVER contradicted Biblical accounts, and have only helped to strengthen the historicity of Biblical texts, this might not be a rational assumption. 

He created Adam out of dust, and Eve out of Adam’s rib. (Woman, being the property of man, doesn’t get the dignity of her own mud spawning.)

Daniel takes exception to HOW God created Eve.  Really?  I guess I just don’t understand the arrogance, even on a hypothetical basis as I’m sure Daniel is speaking from, it takes to tell the creator of the universe that YOUR idea of how woman should have been created is better than His.  Just as importantly, this betrays the Western, post suffrage, filter Daniel is using to judge the moral fiber of God. 

Well, as you know, the snake tempts Eve, she eats the fruit and then Adam eats some too — and what do you know, they’re still alive.

It becomes clear that Daniel isn’t interested in discovering what the Bible is actually saying.  The passage Daniel is referring to is Genesis 2:17, “but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”  What is translated as “surely die” comes from the Hebrew phrase (mwuth-mwuth).  It literally means “dying, die”.  A more literal translation would be “dying you shall die.”  However, the way the NIV translates it, “you WILL surely die” works too.  At the moment that they ate of the fruit, Adam and Eve began to die.  That’s what God was saying, and that’s what happened.

Soon after, God shows up, asking, “Where art thou?” (Come on, God, do you really not know?)

Again, Daniel makes no attempt to treat the Scriptural accounts fairly.  Adam and Eve are the ones that think they can actually hide from God!  God can’t use alittle sarcasm to show them how silly it is that they are hiding from an all-knowing being?  But there is a deeper layer to this.  Earlier in the Genesis account it tells us that Adam and God used to walk the Garden in conversation.  Adam has now sinned.  What a contrast  that Adam, instead of being open and searching after God, is now hiding from him!  Can’t you see that since God really isn’t asking where they are, He is instead asking, “Why are you hiding?”

And that’s the explanation for why the world is the way it is — our ancestors ate some forbidden fruit, God got angry, and now everything is screwed up.

Daniel seems to have an inability to see the big picture.  I’m sure that this is a false failing, as it makes it easier for him to mock a Biblical story.  God creates the world out of nothing, creates Adam out of nothing and gives him life.  Not only does He give Adam life for no reason except that He wanted to, He gives Adam dominion over the entire earth, and every livestock and plant to fulfill his needs.  When that is STILL not enough God gives Adam a companion suitable for him, God gives Eve life. 

Not only has God, out of nothing but love, given Adam and Eve life, He has also given them choice, free will, relative autonomy.  All He asks in return is ONE simple thing.  Adam and Even can eat of EVERY tree and vine in the Garden except ONE.  It’s a simple request.  There is only ONE rule.  That’s it!  And they can’t follow it, they listen to a serpent and disobey God.  God has given them everything, and they disobey Him.  God has no choice but to kick them out of the Garden (or destroy them and start over, but He chooses not to do that) or He violates His own Righteousness and Justice.

The world is not screwed up because Adam and Eve ate a fruit, as Daniel so purposefully narrow-mindedly suggests, the world is screwed up because man disobeyed God, the creator of the world.  It’s not a stretch to conclude that disobeying the Creator of the world, denying the purpose He has for it and humanity, would have an adverse affect on the world. 

The Blame Falls on God

This is the title of Daniel’s next section.  It’s going to be interesting to see how he shows this.

Man was doing what he does best — eating things that look delicious and disobeying rules for which he has no reason to obey.

Adam and Eve were given any number of OTHER things that looked delicious.  They were given the whole Garden save ONE item.  When God talks to you every single day, you can audibly hear His voice, and He created everything around you JUST FOR YOU; there needs to be no explanation for a rule God gives you.    God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and he obviously loves Adam and Eve because of all He gave them. “Because God said so” is the MOST rational explanation you can recieve.

As an illustration, I have a nine month old son.  Pretty soon he is going to start crawling.  Once that happens, and he becomes increasingly aware of the world around him, it’s going to be increasingly important that he understands the word “no”.  He’s not going to understand the rules I give him.  He won’t understand the danger of fire, of table corners, of class windows, of the road.  But he doesn’t need to, all he needs to understand is the rule.  Is it rational to attempt to explain rules and reasons to a child?  Isn’t it enough that all I want is his safety because I’m his father and I know better?  Aren’t we at least equal to children in comparison to God?

Only the snake gave an explanation, who said man’s eyes would be open, and they would know good from evil — that they would be like God. And you know what? The snake was right!

How does Daniel figure this one?  The snake flat out lied to them.  Genesis 3:4-5, “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.  “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

If by “knowing evil” Satan meant committing an evil act (disobeying God), then the snake was right.  However that’s not how he portrayed it.  Man’s eyes were opened to their own evil, their own sin, and to their own nakedness.  Was this a good thing?  The snake portrayed disobeying God as a good thing, this is the ultimate of lies.  Satan also portrayed God as lying to them, as having alterior motives for forbidding the fruit.  Another lie.  Satan also told them they wouldn’t die.  Another lie.  For when they ate of that fruit they began to die.  Adam and Eve also died a spiritual death when they ate of that fruit.  They now needed propitiation to have a relationship with God. 

God was the one who man made with a nature that is suspectable to temptation.

God gave man free will.  That man allows this free will to be tempted with disobedience and lust is not the fault of the one who gave them the free will, it is the fault of the one with the ultimate control over the will, the man himself.

God made the tree look delicious and tempting.

Or was it Eve’s temptation and desire that made the fruit look tempting?  And it was a fruit, the same as the other fruit around it.  It was fruit.  There is no indication that it was any MORE delicious and tempting than any of the other fruit in the Garden.  This is you reading into the text what you want it to say Daniel.

God made man to require reasons — and didn’t give him any.

If God spoke to you in an audible voice, would you really require a reason from Him?  And if you did, is that God’s fault that you have a lack of faith and trust, that you’re so arrogant to think you know better than what God just commanded of you?

God created the snake and let him into the garden.

Uh, the snake was Satan.  An angel of his own will.  Again you are attempting to blame God for what others do with the free will God gave them.

And God knew all this would happen, yet still setup things so man would disobey him!

It’s unfortunate that Daniel commits this common logical error.  Forknowledge is not the same as causation.  Especially if the alternative is to destroy all free will.  Is that would you would have God do Daniel, create moral zombies who have no choice but to serve Him?  Wouldn’t you also be mad at God for this?

This myth does not get God off the hook for what a crazy, screwed up world we live in — it would make him responsible for it.

You are flat out ignoring that man is responsible for the will that was given to him.  By this logic, every parent would be responsible for the acts of their adult children. 

What kind of God would punish so many innocent people and animals throughout history because of one sin that he orchestrated to happen?

You are defining “innocent” how you want to define it, not how God and the Bible define it.  Who are you to put your definition of “innocent” upon the Bible?  The second you disobey God once, you are no longer innocent.

Daniel spends the rest of the section questioning why God did things the way that God did them.  Again, it just seems the height of arrogance to question how an all-powerful, all-knowing God did things, no matter how hypothetical He is to you. 

Two Ways

There are two ways to view the world around us: the natural and the supernatural.

Now Daniel is setting up false dichotomies of his own creation!  There can’t be any middle ground Daniel?  Science was started by Bible-believing, young earth creationist Christians (Kepler, Descartes, Bacon, Galileo, Newton, Copernicus), who believed that God was in control but wanted to understand the natural processes that caused everything.  The two are not mutually exclusive as you would like them to be. 

Christians believe that God created the world and is in control of it, so they must find a scapegoat for all this evil that goes on.

Are we really in desperate need of a scapegoat as you suggest, or can we easily look within ourselves and find the source of all evil?

Yet is the Bible’s answer really satisfying? As I have argued, it would make God responsible for this mess.

The only way this argument works is if you deny the existence and responsibility of free will.

On the other hand, we have the natural answer. We see that there are natural laws and can predict many natural disasters . . . We can study disease and see it is not demonic or a superstitious curse. And as we have progressed in science, we have been able to cure many diseases.

Are you suggesting that Christians deny these things, that we don’t recognize the natural causes and solutions to our problems?  Can you see the ignorance this position requires?  Christians founded the Red Cross, Christians founded the first hospital, the first schools . . .  do Christians really stay in their houses and pray while the world crumbles around them?  Come again?

The natural explanation makes far more sense than a supernatural one, and has the advantage of having an abundance of evidence. Why cling to old superstitions and supernatural boogeymen when we have a better natural explanation?

Have you really ever talked to a Christian that wouldn’t offer natural solutions to the problems the world faces?  You’ve got to better than this Daniel. 

The real problem with this is that Daniel is not answering the question.  The question he claimed the Bible was attempting to answer was “why” the world is so screwed up.  All of Daniel’s natural explanations aren’t answering “why” at all, only “how”.  Natural explanations, like diseases and how to cure them, natural disasters and how to avoid them, hunger and famine and how to prevent them, are only “how” answers.  In fact, “why” is completely outside the perview of science and solely in the perview of metaphysics.  Atheism, by definition, has no “why” answers only “what” and “how” answers.  For atheism, there is no “why”.

Conclusion

In order to call God evil, Daniel must deny human and angelic free will and responsibility, falsely portray Biblical accounts, ignore context, and judge God’s actions according to his own ideas.

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25 Comments on “Is God Evil? A Response, Part 1 (Adam and Eve)”

  1. B Says:

    This was a rather good post! I had a big discussion with my Dad about this last night! When it comes down to it (my dad and other atheists, or people that are nonbelievers that pretend to know the Bible) DO NOT want to take responsibility for humanity’s (personal) choices and it is much easier to blame others for their actions.

    By Daniel’s logic, anything that God created that could have allowed for humanity to sin is always God’s fault. Does this make sense? If a mother has 10 children and half of them become murderers and the other half priests (ala Good, Bad, and the Ugly) does that mean the Mother is to blame for the murderers and we should get rid of her? I believe Free will and humanity’s decision to say “I want to do what I want to do” is the real problem here. Not because God gave us the ability to have Free Will and make decisions, but because WE humans ABUSED what we have!

    To add to your illustration about your son earlier, it is similar to parents telling their kids not to eat tons of junk food and say, “only one candy bar.” Then later on the child, while making sure the “coast is clear” comes back and eats all of them. Then what do you know BLAGH! The child throws up and is sick from too much sugar and you now what happens? Daniel and people like him would say, “that’s a sign of bad parenting.” I just don’t understand the irrational process that comes into the mind here.

    Just my 2 cents.

  2. Eric Kemp Says:

    B

    Yea, I am curious how such an argument such as men aren’t responsible for what they do with their free will sounds rational to a guy as smart and well read as Daniel. But I guess it boils down to what he must do to call God evil.

    Thanks for the comment.


  3. Thanks for taking my post seriously. Though I disagree with you as much as you disagree with me, I appreciate you reading and considering what I had to say.

  4. Eric Kemp Says:

    Daniel

    Like I said, I truly look forward to exploring this issue with you.

  5. krissmith777 Says:

    God being evil is a concept I just could never swollow.
    I don’t see why God has the blame for the evil in the world. He isn’t because he gave humanity the choice.

    One could make the argument that God being all-knowing would have known a head of time what would happen.

    The only answer I can give is that to know it is not to make it. He allowed it so there would be freedom.

  6. Eric Kemp Says:

    Kris

    The answer is that the alternative to free will is God creating a bunch of moral zombies who have no choice but to follow Him. Is this fair? Of course not.

  7. Eric Kemp Says:

    Oh, and I am interested, I will go through those as soon as I have time.

    Thanks for the links.

  8. alfaarooq1 Says:

    Brother / Sister in Faith,

    The Almighty is much misunderstood by many, some claim to believe and yet believe not.
    I’ve touched on the Topic “Who is The Almighty Allah” See:
    http://thetruereligion.wordpress.com/2008/11/20/who-is-allah/

    I’ve also touched on Topics such as “The True Religion” I will soon be posting a new article taking from the Blessed Holy Bible…
    It will be called “Islaam in the Bible” giving reference and very indepth answers.
    All over the world Priests, Missionaries, Rabbis are reverting to Islaam…
    Some may Question but why are all our religious scholars becoming Muslim.
    The Answers might just be in my blog posts.
    Find out More from Former Christian Priests, Missionaries, Rabbis etc…
    Search for the names listed from my blog posts and you’ll get their details should you have any questions.
    With love to all for the pleasure of Allah.
    Al-Farooq


  9. Muslim evangelism on a Christian evangelist’s blog? Hilarious.

    Well, let me just say God is indeed misunderstood, but I have been touched by his noodley appendage. He has revealed himself to me, alone, on top of a mountain and told me that I am to lead the people of His Worship to the One Truth. I have much evidence for this, but if I revealed it to you, you wouldn’t need faith. So you must trust me.

    Praise his Monsterness!

  10. Eric Kemp Says:

    Daniel

    You know, I’m as surprised and amused as you are. I honestly don’t know how to respond to him yet.

  11. Eric Kemp Says:

    Al-farooq

    I’m a “brother” in gender, but not in faith.

    I’m curious to your motives here. As I’ve experienced from other followers of Islam, criticizing anything to do with Islam or Muhammed is tantamount to blasphemy, hence no rational discussion can take place. If you’re going to attempt to show me that Allah is the one true god, Allah and Muhammed are going to incur some criticism from me. Are you ready for such an outcome?

  12. alfaarooq1 Says:

    Are you ready to debate your own beliefs is my question to you?
    Well I don’t debate people debate themselves in my world I leave it all up to you to do the search and not taking critics but your own personal life and heart then look at the Scripture…
    My next post will shock you…
    Answers umm I think not… the Bible will speak for itself.

  13. Eric Kemp Says:

    Al-farooq

    I’m sorry, I’m having a hard time understanding you with the punctuation and sentence structure you are using.

    Are you saying you don’t debate?

    Are you talking about a post on your site or a comment on mine?

    I’m willing to debate anyone rationally but only if you’re willing to allow Muhammed and the Qu’ran to be criticized.

  14. Eric Says:

    You said:

    “no archaeological find has EVER contradicted Biblical accounts”

    and then you go and link to some garbage over at AIG (the same group that believes the Earth is roughly 6,000 years old).

    At this point, you’ve shown your hand and I’m about ready to stop reading. Seriously??!? You’re a YEC?!? How shameful.

    There are plenty of archaeological finds that SEVERELY cast doubt if not outright REFUTE what’s in the bible.

    Start here:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bible/

  15. Eric Says:

    I went ahead and finished reading your rebuttal…

    I just want to clarify something before I post my response. Do you believe the creation story in Genesis (either of the two versions, it’s up to you to choose your favorite one, maybe you like Eve from a rib or Eve from dust… the choice is yours!) as what really happened or do you believe that they are an allegory?

    Why did God allow the talking snake into the garden in the first place?

    Where there other animals that talked or just the snake?

    Who created the talking snake? Did God create it? Was it at one time a good snake that went bad (you know… free will and all…)?

    What beef did the snake have with God?

    Are you insinuating that the snake was an incarnation of “the Devil” (aka Satan)?

    You’re aware that Satan is largely an invention of Christianity and there is absolutely NO mention of Satan in the book of Genesis?

    The amount of mind-bending required to reconcile reality, history and relative sanity with Christianity is MIND BOGGLING!?!?

    And finally… you’re final statement:

    “Natural explanations, like diseases and how to cure them, natural disasters and how to avoid them, hunger and famine and how to prevent them, are only “how” answers. In fact, “why” is completely outside the perview of science and solely in the perview of metaphysics. ”

    JUST BAFFLES MY SMALL LITTLE MIND COMPLETELY?!?!?

    You’re right… science has no idea WHY horrible birth defects occur in otherwise innocent babies (the sins of their fathers vs genetic defects caused by chromosome problems). Science has no idea why Tsunamis ravage poor countries and kill thousands of people (it’s because we accept homosexuals as people vs meteorology), and Science has no idea why there aren’t dinosaurs around like there were millions of years ago (meteors, intense cooling and lack of sunlight VS the dinosaurs were sinners and god wanted to give them a lesson).

    OK, so maybe there isn’t 100% consensus on that last one, but I think it’s safe to say that the reasons that the Brontosaurs is not around is NOT because Noah couldn’t fit him on the Ark.

    BTW, Your cherished “creation myth” is borrowed and stitched together from various other creation methods from earlier periods. It’s nothing special. Please tell me why your particular fable is any more valid than the Sumerian tale of Gilgamesh?

  16. Eric Kemp Says:

    Eric

    “and then you go and link to some garbage over at AIG (the same group that believes the Earth is roughly 6,000 years old).”

    You’re so blinded by your naturalistic dogma that you can’t even see what I was quoting from. Are you denying the evidence of a 40 year, well respected archaeologist just because he was interviewed by AiG? Are you really that ignorant?

    “At this point, you’ve shown your hand and I’m about ready to stop reading. Seriously??!? You’re a YEC?!? How shameful.”

    Yup, saying this definetly makes your position more credible.

    “There are plenty of archaeological finds that SEVERELY cast doubt if not outright REFUTE what’s in the bible.”

    You discounted a man who’s dedicated his entire prolific and successful career to the study of archeaology without evidence just because he was interviewed by AiG. Do you honestly think that you have no bias? That your evidence must be taken at face value because you say so?

    “Do you believe the creation story in Genesis (either of the two versions, it’s up to you to choose your favorite one, maybe you like Eve from a rib or Eve from dust… the choice is yours!) as what really happened or do you believe that they are an allegory?”

    Oh yea, the two versions canard, very original. If I thought for a second you’d like to hear how it isn’t two versions, I would defend that statement.

    Yes, Genesis was written by Moses after God told Him what happened at Creation. You know, cause God was there and all. Would you like to give me a reason for why Genesis is an allegory, or just plain wrong? Eventhough I know what atheists usually say, I’d like to hear it from you.

    “JUST BAFFLES MY SMALL LITTLE MIND COMPLETELY?!?!?

    You’re right… science has no idea WHY horrible birth defects occur in otherwise innocent babies . . .”

    You again gave me nothing but “how” answers. You are equivocating the word “why” to fit your argument. “Why” is a metaphysical question outside the perview of science. “Genetic defects caused by chromosome problems” is HOW there are genetic defects in babies. Why do these chromosomes change? You can’t answer that question and you know it.

    “meteors, intense cooling and lack of sunlight”

    Now I’m laughing because you’re attempting to pass off scientific conjecture as observable science.

    These are the only quotes I found worthy of a response. Your entire post is nothing more than incredulous, condescending sarcasm. Do you honestly think that this makes your position more valid? Or does it just make you feel better about yourself since you have no real argument in refutation of a silly YEC.

  17. krissmith777 Says:

    Eric says:

    “I just want to clarify something before I post my response. Do you believe the creation story in Genesis (either of the two versions, it’s up to you to choose your favorite one, maybe you like Eve from a rib or Eve from dust… the choice is yours!) as what really happened or do you believe that they are an allegory?”

    You’re obviously confused. ADAM was created from dust. EVE was created from a rib. So if you are insinuating the story contradicts itself you are wrong.

    “Why did God allow the talking snake into the garden in the first place? Where there other animals that talked or just the snake? Who created the talking snake? Did God create it? Was it at one time a good snake that went bad (you know… free will and all…)?
    What beef did the snake have with God? Are you insinuating that the snake was an incarnation of “the Devil” (aka Satan)? You’re aware that Satan is largely an invention of Christianity and there is absolutely NO mention of Satan in the book of Genesis?”

    God did create the snake — But it was posessed by the devil.

    And even though it is true that Satan himself is not mentioned in the book of Gebnesis, it is true that he is still mentioned in the Jewish Bible, in the Book of Job. So being in the Hebrew Bible itself it cannot be said that Satan is a Christian invention.

    “BTW, Your cherished “creation myth” is borrowed and stitched together from various other creation methods from earlier periods. It’s nothing special. Please tell me why your particular fable is any more valid than the Sumerian tale of Gilgamesh?”

    This claim is popular, but out of date. Here’s a good link: http://www.christian-thinktank.com/gilgymess.html

  18. Martin Says:

    I find the whole notion of ‘death’ fascinating when used in the Bible. What is death to someone that believes in an afterlife?

    Adam and Eve were in the garden of Eden, eternal bliss, they sinned and ‘began to die’ what happened when they died? Did they go to heaven? Hell? Or did they actually die and cease to exist all together?

    If they went to heaven then why go through the pointless task of sending them to their deaths since they are going to end up in heaven anyway? Surely the short lifetime’s of Adam and Eve is an insignificant amount of time when compared to an eternal being (that would be god btw)?

    I just don’t get why Christians ever use the word ‘death’, there is no death in your life, you will exist and live forever. That is right isn’t it? I appreciate that ‘life’ in heaven or hell is supposedly completely different to life on earth but since you ignore scientific understanding of life then your definition of life must encompass the afterlife. What do you call this part of your existence if not life?

    Excuse a little digression here; you, Mr Kemp, criticize others for discounting ONE man’s testimony but then ignore the wealth of scientists, astronomers, biologists, archaeologists, geographers, historians, physicists, chemists, biochemists, evolutionary biologists, need I go on, that all have independent evidence that the earth is over 10,000 years old because it disagrees with a book written a couple of thousand years ago and have the cheek to call them ignorant and blinded.

    You’re a bully Eric who chooses to belittle individual’s arguments with clever rhetoric and flawed logic. You avoid dealing in cold hard facts because when faced with the facts young earth creationism falls flat on its ugly face.

  19. Eric Kemp Says:

    Martin

    “I find the whole notion of ‘death’ fascinating when used in the Bible. What is death to someone that believes in an afterlife?”

    That’s actually a good question. I can’t speak for all Christians, but I know that, Biblically, God puts each human being on this Earth for a purpose. It is our choice wether or not we follow that purpose, since God gave us free will, but that purpose it out there none-the-less. This life is our ONE chance to follow God’s purpose for us. Once we die, that chance is over. Sure, heaven is in our future, but that doesn’t mean any Christian should WANT to die. But, because of heaven, we also shouldn’t fear death like an atheist should.

    Along those lines, I would like to ask YOU a question. What is life to someone who has no choice but to be annihilated?

    “I just don’t get why Christians ever use the word ‘death’, there is no death in your life, you will exist and live forever. That is right isn’t it?”

    C’mon now. Our bodies die just like anyone elses. But you’re right, our souls never cease to exist like you believe yours do (you don’t really have a soul in your belief system do you?). But here’s the problem Martin, if I’m right, which is a possibility, you’re soul doesn’t cease to exist either at death.

    ” . . .you, Mr Kemp, criticize others for discounting ONE man’s testimony but then ignore the wealth of scientists, . . .need I go on, that all have independent evidence that the earth is over 10,000 years old because it disagrees with a book written a couple of thousand years ago and have the cheek to call them ignorant and blinded.”

    Uh, I’m assuming you are referring to my recent conversation with Eric. I never said that the archaeologist I linked to was a YEC, nor was I trying to provide proof of a young earth, so your strawman dies there. What really happened was this: I made the claim that archaeology has never found anything that has disproved Biblical accounts, and actually has only found support for them. In order to very briefly support this claim I linked a well respected man in the field of archaeology who said as much. What’s wrong with this?

    Your bias shines through when you call this man, who’s been in the field for like 40 years or something, as having “testimony” and all the other scientists who agree with you have “evidence”. Very telling.

    Also, are you saying that because “most” scientists believe in an Old Earth, therefore it’s true?

    “You’re a bully Eric who chooses to belittle individual’s arguments with clever rhetoric and flawed logic.”

    I assume you are again referencing my conversation with Eric. If you were being honest, you would have to admit that Eric used nothing but condescending sarcasm in any of this comments. While I’m not going to return the condescension in kind, I’m also not going to back down from the challenge. I’ll return snark for snark (up to a point), would you really begrudge me sticking up for myself?

    Also, making sweeping claims of “flawed logic” without support isn’t conducive to rational discussion, could you show me?

    “You avoid dealing in cold hard facts because when faced with the facts young earth creationism falls flat on its ugly face.”

    Actually, my point is that cold hard facts don’t exist, and any atheist who says they do can’t see past their own metaphysical nose. Evidence is interpreted through our human brains, which have biases based on our already decided upon philosophical assumptions. I’ll admit my biases and assumptions freely, why can’t atheists do the same? Once they are admitted, we can discuss them, but to attempt to discuss some “brute facts” that don’t exist while ignoring the biases through which they are filtered is foolishness.

  20. Eric Says:

    Oh come on…

    Your bias and assumptions are that the religion you happened to born into (largely due to geographic location and date) are the irrefutable truth. The only way to approach science without bias is to approach it from an atheistic viewpoint. You’re only doing mental gymnastics in an attempt to reconcile a 3,000 year old explanation of the Universe with what we know today. I don’t expect someone who believes in a talking snake to ever comprehend this.

    What “brute facts” or “cold hard facts” support the claim that the Moses described in the Torah actually existed? I’ll even accept facts that support his historical existence (as opposed to his supernatural existence — parting the Red/Reed Sea, direct line to God, etc.).

    Keep in mind that if you use the bible as your sole piece of evidence, I’m allowed to argue that Gandalf existed by using the LOTR books 1-3.

  21. krissmith777 Says:

    Eric Says:

    “There are plenty of archaeological finds that SEVERELY cast doubt if not outright REFUTE what’s in the bible.”

    “Start here:
    “http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bible/”

    Oh yes, Nova’s latest anti-Christian series.

    I love how it makes several oversimplified suggestions such as “Several Hebrews worshiped another god along side of YAHWEH so that must have been the official relious belief.” — It gives the impression that the Bible actually hides the fact that several ancient Jews worshiped other gods, which it does not. — The Bible actually records that that happened and then also records God’s punnishment of them.

    Another oversimplification the NOVA series makes is that “There is no Egyptian inscription of Moses and the Exodus. If it happened it would have been a much more minor event than the Bible claims because of the lack of inscriptions.”

    — You don’t have to be a scholar to know the faltiness of this argument that NOVA makes. IT IS A KNOWN FACT THAT THE EGYPTIANS HARDLY EVER (IF EVER) RECORDED EVENTS THEY WEREN’T PROUD OF. For example, did you know that Egyptians NEVER recorded any war or battle they lost? So if a Bearded prophet, with God’s help, came to Egypt and brout on ten catastrophes that Egypt to its knees, the likelihood of the Egyptians recording it would be ZERO. — They never recorded anything that reflected negatively on themselves. Therefore Moses, whether a major figure in Egypt or minor, would never have been recorded in any inscriptions. The Egyptians would have wanted to forget him.

    This is just a couple of oversimplifications and logical fallacies that are provided in NOVA’s “The Bible’s Burried Secrets.”

    Sorry to break it to you but NOVA does a very poor job of trying to disprove the Bible.

  22. Eric Kemp Says:

    Eric

    “Your bias and assumptions are that the religion you happened to born into (largely due to geographic location and date) are the irrefutable truth.”

    You are moving goalposts and attempting to distract. I don’t need to prove any particular all-powerful creator, just ANY all-powerful creator. This is a favorite tactic of Dawkins when asked about God, he just goes “which God?”. It’s a great tactic, but it ignores the point.

    ” The only way to approach science without bias is to approach it from an atheistic viewpoint. You’re only doing mental gymnastics in an attempt to reconcile a 3,000 year old explanation of the Universe with what we know today.”

    That’s the point, you are deluding yourself into thinking that I’m the only one with biases. Come now. Science is BASED ON philosophical assumptions. I gave those clearly on my latest article.

    “What “brute facts” or “cold hard facts” support the claim that the Moses described in the Torah actually existed? ”

    Brute facts don’t exist. All evidence my be interpreted through your subjective mind, filled with biases and assumptions. We call do it and only atheists delude themselves into thinking they don’t.

    “Keep in mind that if you use the bible as your sole piece of evidence, I’m allowed to argue that Gandalf existed by using the LOTR books 1-3.”

    You just completely destroyed your own position. Isn’t the existence of the LOTR trilogy evidence that J.R.R Tolkein existed? We have manuscripts of the Pentateuch (Moses wrote the Pentateuch, not the Torah), that are thousands of years old. Aren’t the existence of documents that have claimed to be written by Moses evidence that Moses existed?


  23. Eric,

    I presume that in your supoprt for the notions of God benig omnipotent and humans having free will you have overlooked the fact that the concepts are contradictory.

    If god knows everything and he is infallible, he knows exactly what is going to happen, without the possibility of error. How then, if every action by every agent from the inception of the universe is predetermined can anyone be said to have free will. Even God himself would be constrained by this knowledge. God even appears to change his mind a couple of times in the bible. Do you a slight problem with the idea of an all knowing entity, with perfect knowledge of the future changing its mind?

    As was pointed out by daniel too, God knew before he ever created anything exactly what adam and eve would do.

    There were actually two special trees, the tree of life must not have been off limits but oddly they did not choose to eat from that one. Wonder why and were they immortal beforehand anyway?
    Why would god transmute the knowledge of good and evil into fruit form and engineer it in such a way that the knowledge could be ingested by humans by merely eating the fruit. What a truely bizarre thing to do. Knowing what could and would result, the act of putting the tree in the garden is morally comparable to putting a nuke in a playground and telling the children not to touch it. Hardly a loving and responsible act.

  24. Eric Kemp Says:

    Celtic Chimp

    “If god knows everything and he is infallible, he knows exactly what is going to happen, without the possibility of error. How then, if every action by every agent from the inception of the universe is predetermined can anyone be said to have free will.”

    Who ever said that every action is predetermined? You are, of course, correct that God knows everything before it’s going to happen. However, forknowledge does not make causation.

    “Even God himself would be constrained by this knowledge. God even appears to change his mind a couple of times in the bible. Do you a slight problem with the idea of an all knowing entity, with perfect knowledge of the future changing its mind?”

    Not at all. Where does it say in the doctrines of infallibility and omniscience that God can’t change His mind?

    “As was pointed out by daniel too, God knew before he ever created anything exactly what adam and eve would do.”

    Forknowledge does not make causation.

    “Knowing what could and would result, the act of putting the tree in the garden is morally comparable to putting a nuke in a playground and telling the children not to touch it. Hardly a loving and responsible act.”

    If you are asking me why God did what He did and are expecting me to have an answer, I find that a bit disengenuous of you. It would be like me asking you why biology used DNA instead of some other information storing biological tool. It’s just a question you can’t answer. If you’re attempting to ask that question so that when I don’t have an answer you can say, “I asked a Christian why God acts the way He does and the Christian couldn’t give me an answer, therefore God doesn’t exist” would be exactly like me saying, “I asked an atheist why everything in the world works the way it does, and he couldn’t give me a a naturalistic answer to everything, therefore God exists.”

    However, I have two questions and a challenge as an answer:

    #1: If God gave us free will, but there was no choice to be made, did He really give us free will? That is, if I have free will but there is no opportunity for me to choose a different path than I’m currently on, isn’t my free will an illusion? More specifically, if God gave Adam and Eve “free will” in a perfect place but didn’t provide a way for them to choose evil, did He really give them free will? Doesn’t God have to provide that choice so that the free will actually exists?

    #2: What was God’s alternative? To create moral zombies that will always follow Him no matter what? This would be the only way that God good ensure that bad things wouldn’t happen with His creation. Wouldn’t you be bad at God for forcing you to follow Him?

    The Challenge: As an atheist, you believe that only the material exists. For this particular discussion, that means that our brain is nothing but biology and chemistry. Our decisions are governed by nothing but the biochemistry in our brain. How can you say that the atheist has free will? Any study into psychology/psychiatry will tell you that the chemical interactions govern us. Then aren’t your decisions just a product of cause and affect, just a product of action/reaction, stimulus/reaction? Can you change the chemical interactions in your brain? How, then, do you have free will?


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