Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dawkins' Bitter Idolatry: Control Freak

“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.” -- Atheist Professor Richard Dawkins

Quite a demeaning statement, flashy rhetoric, but is it true?

I read this statement, and first I am saddened.

Like many people in the world, they have a hard, false impression of God.

What is the first glimpse we receive of God recorded for us in the Bible?

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." (Genesis 1: 1)

God created the world, then He recreated it:

"And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

God did not look at the mess created before Him (by rebelling then fallen angels ), but went to work restoring everything:

"And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." (Genesis 1: 3)

God is Light, and God is Love.

He created a wonderful world for man to enjoy, and man He made in His own image:

"26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." (Genesis 1: 26-28)

This God does not sound like an unforgiving control freak.

If God created a perfect world, then how did it all fall apart into the broken world we struggle with today?

Sin, which is the transgression of God's law.

Now God outlined two very simple commandments for the first man and woman:

"15And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Genesis 2: 15-17)

God gave him everything, including the freedom to choose. Love and liberty mean nothing without choice, and the consequences for those choices.

Man chose poorly -- that was  never God's fault:

"8And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 9And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? " (Genesis 3: 8-11)

A simple choice, and men fell.

Now, many then charge that God cruelly cast the two out of the Garden of Eden. He sent them away to protect them from a worse fate: eternal death:

"22And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. " (Genesis 3: 22-23)

He prophesied of a serpent-slayer, too, who would help restore mankind to Himself (Genesis 3: 15-18).

God is not a bad guy, but for the fall of man, God was ready for this perfect world to benefit mankind perfectly.

Not a control freak, but a God in love with His creation, who sent His Son that we would all be redeemed and even promoted in His Son to be seated in heavenly places and reign in life through Him.

Then again, critics charge that God is unfair, in that the entire human race is cursed because of the sin of one man.

Yet God's Way out of this tragedy is all the more glorious for us:

12Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)"
What God had offered to Adam, God offers much better to all of us.
When God asked Adam not to eat from the wrong tree, God merely asks us today to believe on His Son Jesus (John 6: 29).
Does that sound like a control freak to you? All God asks us to do is believe on Him.
And what does He do for us?
"10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8: 10-12)
Whatever God referenced by Richard Dawkins, he is not describing His true nature as witnesses to us in the Bible.

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