"...but try the spirits whether they are of God..." (1 Jno. 4:1)


Volume Four, Number Four Winter 1996

THE MCDONALD-SMITH CORRESPONDENCE


EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is the correspondence that I had with a socalled freethinker from Sherman Oaks, California between the months of July and December 1994. This correspondence was prompted by a letter that Mr. Smith wrote Dennis McKinsey which was published in the July 1994 issue of Biblical Errancy in which he criticized Christians very heavily even calling us "intellectual cowards." On July 13, 1994 I wrote a letter to Mr. Smith inviting him to debate, but he apparently did not understand what was meant by the word "debate." So he sent me another letter informing me that I could publish our correspondence as the debate if I would allow him to send it to any atheistic paper he desired. I, of course, gave him permission and now I am publishing this correspondence as our debate. I still wish to have a formal debate with Mr. Smith and hold the invitation open, but if correspondence is all that he desires, he has the opportunity to respond to these exchanges. I will reprint Mr. Smith's letter to McKinsey from Biblical Errancy. I believe that this letter shows just how easy it is for an atheist to write a letter to one of his own publications, but how hard it is to respond to someone's objections to that letter.

Reprinted from Biblical Errancy...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Letter # 585 from RS of Sherman Oaks, California. Dear Dennis, Just want to say hello and thanks again for your great publication. It is a great contribution to intellectual integrity, exposing, as it does, the fantasy world of Christian apologetics where two plus two equals five and red is green. It's about time someone attacked the head of the snake and exposed the appalling befuddlement underlying Christian "scholarship." Anyone who takes the time to study Christian apologists and their writings will eventually see the convoluted web they weave. It's truly amazing how they can off load such drivel onto an unsuspecting public. Their apologies are really a cut below medieval science and scholarship at best.

If we were forced to believe the arguments of apologists, we would eventually become rambling imbeciles, forever forcing facts to fit fallacies. I often hear Christians regurgitating apologetic denials like magical incantations to ward off Biblical errors. For example, when shown a contradiction in the scriptures, some of them will say the verse has been taken out of context, or the verse is better in the original Greek or Hebrew, or some other such obfuscating nonsense. But in every case when you call their bluff and read the actual verse in the context and analyze the original Greek or Hebrew so that there can be no mistake about it, their argument collapses for sheer lack of support. Eventually, they are wrestled to the mat with their own spurious information and have to take the "faith" amendment. Really, they must reexamine the false information of their apologetic sources if there is to be any light on the matter. Then, maybe, just maybe, they will see how apologists work with shadows and smoke to effect their miscreant sophistry.

Christians rarely think independently, and, more often then not, rely on some "expert" with a new "magic bullet" against the innumerable problems of the Bible. They'll read apologetic drivel till the cows come home, yet rarely will they review scholarly critiques found outside of Christian bookstores. The reason for this shameful farce is simple. They are not looking for truth; they're looking for a bandaid to cover their selfdeception. They have no real faith to begin with. If they did, they would not fear getting a second opinion from independent scholars. In my mind, most Christians are intellectual cowards. They'll die at the stake for their beliefs, but run like hell when the silver bullet of reason flies at them.

I have encountered similar subterfuges as you have in apprehending apologetic criminals like Carl Johnson. I recently talked to a Christian who had Zondervan books up the kazoo and still he couldn't answer the question: "Why does God create evil?" He gave the same response as Johnson so I had him look up the Hebrew word used in the verses in which it is stated that God creates or causes evil. The meaning of the word includes "calamity" but it most certainly also includes "iniquity." I told him that if the verses were intended to mean "calamity" only, then they should have used the Hebrew word for "calamity" rather than using a word that means "iniquity," especially since the word clearly means "iniquity" wherever it is used in the Bible. Finally I asked him how can anyone trust a God who creates evil. There was no response.

The more I talk to persons of the Christian persuasion, the more I realize what a foul mess of sloppy thinking they have gotten themselves into. If the propensity to believe Christian apologists reflects the intellectual development of the Christian millions who populate the earth, then we are definitely headed for a grave decline in moral and intellectual achievement. B.E. provides the only "review board" that examines apologetic authors and exposes their intellectual depravity at the root. By the way, your tape transcripts were excellent. (Roy Smith's address is 15237 Sutton St., Sherman Oaks, CA 91403)


97 Florence St.
Sullivan, MO 63080
July 13, 1994


Roy Smith
15237 Sutton St.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

Mr. Smith:

I am a subscriber to Dennis McKinsey's publication Biblical Errancy. I read your letter to the editor on pages 4&6 of issue 139 in which you are very critical of Christians. You stated, "(i)n my mind, most Christians are intellectual cowards. They'll die at the stake for their beliefs, but run like hell when the silver bullet of reason flies at them." Do you really believe that garbage? Do you honestly think that we are cowards who run from you people? I have been defending the Bible in debate for 15 years now. To date I have had eight written and oral debates and exchanges with atheists like Farrell Till, Adrian Swindler, Ernie Brennaman, and yes, even your beloved leader "Dennis McKinsey." And I have yet to run from any of them. As a matter of fact I am in negotiations with Farrell Till and Dan Barker for future debates on the historicity and resurrection of Christ, and the inspiration of the Bible. I was just telling a friend of mine, the other day that I needed to get another written debate going with an atheist, but I didn't know who to ask. Well, it seems that providence has smiled upon me for when I read your statement, I decided to ask you. You ought to be willing to debate an intellectual coward who will run when the silver bullet of reason flies at him. So say "yes" and make my day.

You charge us with reading apologetic drivel till the cows come home, but rarely will we review "scholarly critiques found outside Christian bookstores." You say that the reason for this is because we have no real faith to begin with. Well, go ahead and accept my challenge and see just what kind of faith I have to begin with. I know your arguments better than you do. I have read from Joseph Wheless; Bertrand Russell; Robert Countess; Steven Hawking; Richard Elliott Friedman; Ian Wilson and other atheistic philosophers past and present. And I have never seen anything that any of them have ever said that would cause me to even be concerned about my belief in God and his word.

So the time has come. Either "put up or shut up!" I am tired of atheistic propaganda about how intellectually weak we Christians are. If you think you have a "sense of total control over [your] interchanges with Christians," then you ought to be willing to debate me. Since you believe yourself to be "a competent spokesperson" for the atheistic cause, I will gladly open the pages of my publication Challenge to you and let you preach to my readers, who are mostly Christians. You see, I have a quarterly debate journal which allows both sides of the issue on the Bible inerrancy doctrine to be heard. If your argument on the word "evil" is any example of the kind of arsenal that you have against us, we certainly have nothing to fear. I would like to see you "call my bluff" when I charge you with taking verses out of their context or not understanding the Greek or Hebrew. You say: "It's about time someone attacked the head of the snake and exposed the appalling befuddlement underlying Christian 'scholarship'" Ok, let's debate. You should have nothing to fear, after all I am nothing more than a "rambling imbecile" who forces facts to fit fallacies. What have you got to worry about? After all I will eventually end up taking the "faith" amendment, according to you. So go for it, what do you have to lose?

I await your response, if you have the intestinal fortitude to respond at all.

I await, Jerry D. McDonald.


15237 Sutton St.

Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

July 16, 1994
Jerry McDonald
97 Florence St.
Sullivan, MO 63080

Mr. McDonald:

Congratulations for being one of the few to come out of the closet to defend the lost cause of fundamentalism. Its [sic] to find your breed after the beating you took at the Scope's Monkey Trial, and it's a wonder the head of the snake is still alive and kicking. Yet, here you are in all of your cockiness, ready to do battle against the indisputable findings of science, reason and scholarship that have long since laid your case to waste. I doubt you can make even a small dent in the growing wall of facts arrayed against you.

In your letter you stated that you've gone head to head with Til [sic], Swindler, Brennaman, and McKinsey; that you've read, Wheless, Russell, Countess, Hawking, Friedman, and Wilson; that you have a publication called Challenge, that purports a free forum for debate, etc. I suppose you think yourself an informed debater though you failed to mention the countless numbers of other scientists, scholars and researchers who have long since undermined the credulity of your backward doctrine. What's more, you haven't said anything that even remotely convinces me you've won any of your arguments, and this is suggested by the way you sidestepped the issue of my letter which pointed out the fact that the Bible states that God creates evil. Are you conceding the point?

Perhaps, we are already seeing an example of your ability to debate here, and that it was never your intent to debate on the issues in the first place, but rather to spew out a rambling series of statements as to how great you are in the field of debate and in defending your unworthy cause. Or, will you answer here and now why anyone should believe in a god who creates evil:

(Judges 9;23, 1 Sam. 16:23, 18:10, Lam. 3:38, Ezek. 20:2526, Micah 2:3, Jer. 23:6, 18:11, 19:3, 19:15, 36:3, 32:42, 11:11, 14:16, 23:12, 26:13, 35:17, 36:31); deceives (2 Chron. 18:22, Jer. 4:10, 15:18, 20:7, Ezek 14:9, 2 Thess. 2:912); lies (Gen 2:17, 2 Sam 7:13); tells people to lie (Ex 3:18, 2 Sam. 16:2); makes false prophecies (Gen. 35:10, Jon 3:4); causes adultery (2 Sam 12:1112); sanctions slavery (Ex 21:2021, Deut 15:17); practices injustice (Ex 4:2223, Josh 22:20, Rom 5:12); punishes many for the acts of one (Gen 3:16, 20:18); punishes children for the sins for their fathers (Ex 12:29, 20:5, Deut. 5:9); prevents people from hearing the word (Isa 6:10, John 12:3940); supports human sacrifice (Ex 22:2930, Ezek 20:26); orders cannibalism (Lev 26:29, Jer 19:9); demands virgins as part of war plunder (Num 31:3136); sanctions the violation of enemies [sic] women (Deut 21:1014); excuses the beating of slaves to death Ex 21:2021) [sic]; requires a woman to marry her rapist (Deut 22:2829).

Mr. McDonald, you've sidestepped the issue of my argument and that's a good example of intellectual cowardice, rambling, dodging the silver bullet of reason, and how you have no real faith to begin with. Second, you refer to me as an atheist although I haven't stated my position; that would seem to suggest a propensity to force facts to fit the fallacy, as well. I support Biblical Errancy [sic] because it exposes the appalling befuddlement underlying Christian "scholarship," not because of a particular philosophy. Mr. McDonald, your bluff has been called and you have failed to answer. Are you taking the "faith" amendment now?

I await your response if you have the intellectual integrity to respond at all.

sincerely, Roy Smith

P.S.: You have my permission to publish my letter in Challenge if you give me permission to publish your letter in Biblical Errancy or other publication [sic] of my choosing.


CHALLENGE 97 Florence Street, Sullivan, Missouri 63080, 314/8602821/4684991

December 5, 1994
Roy Smith
15237 Sutton St.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

Mr. Smith:

Is your letter dated 7/16/94 what you want me to print in Challenge as your part of a debate? When I challenged you to a debate, I was in hopes that we might have a real debate. I was in hopes that we might have something like Brennaman and I had. In that debate we did not spend time talking about how great we were, instead we spent our time discussing the issue under consideration. I do not feel that you fully understand what a debate is. However, if exchanging letters is what you want printed, I will gladly oblige you. You, of course, have my permission to print my letters (in their entirety) in any atheistic publication you choose.

Let me say that I have not come out of the closet, I have never been in the closet. Your problem is that you are too arrogant to see that the socalled devastating results of the socalled "Monkey Trials" were not so devastating as you atheists would like for the rest of the world to believe. If those results were so devastating against the Bible inerrancy doctrine, then why is it that your beloved leader Madilyn Murray O'Hair boasted that 10% of the U.S. population were atheists. She seemed to think that such was a pretty good percentage. That meant that 90% were not atheists.

You say that here I am in all of my, "cockiness, ready to do battle against the indisputable findings of science, reason and scholarship that have long since laid your case to waste." Right. What science has laid my case to waste? Would you care to elaborate on that? Also, I know of no group of people more cocky than atheists (Oh, I'm sorry, you haven't made the claim to be an atheist. What are you, then? Surely you are not one of those people like Ron Labbe who claims to be a Christian theist while rejecting the only book that tells him how to be a Christian? Just what are you?). If "scholars" have laid my case to waste so terribly, I have yet to see the evidence. Just who are these scholars? Dr. Antony G.N. Flew? He debated Dr. Thomas Warren in 1974 and before the debate was over he was saying that he would not be writing any more saying that there is no God. Who, Dr. Wallace Matson? He took the agnostic position (after signing an atheistic proposition with Dr. Warren) in 1978. Just who are these scholars?

You listed the scholars and scientists that I told you I had read from and state: "I suppose now you think yourself an informed debater though you failed to mention the countless other scientists, scholars and researchers who have long since undermined the credibility of your backward doctrine." Does that mean that you don't think that Hawking, Countess, Russell, Wheless, Friedman, and Wilson have been able to do that. Hawking, as Farrell Till puts it, is one of the worlds foremost authorities in theoretical physics. I chose those names because they are pretty well known by all. But since you don't think they are very reputable, just who do you think has put my "backward doctrine" to rest? What about Dr. Robert Jastrow, who stated:

"For the scientist who has lived his life by faith in the power of reason, the story (the quest for origins) ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries" (God and the Astronomers).

Dr. Robert Gange, a research scientist, engineer, and professor and who has been repeatedly honored by NASA, states that God did create the world:

"The awesome splendor of a 30 billion lightyear wide universe so precisely balanced that a butterfly can stay perched at the edge of a flower petal points not to chance, but to cause; not to matter, but to maker; and more than that, to a maker who matters"(A Scientist Looks At Creation).

Maybe these men aren't known to you, but they are known to most. Jastrow is a famed astronomer and agnostic. Gange used to be a skeptic until he began looking at the evidence, now he is convinced that there is a God.

You say that I have said nothing to convince you that I have won any arguments. I didn't know that I was suppose to convince you. Convincing you is not a very high priority on my list of things to do. I just want to debate you to expose your anemic doctrine. I have not set myself to do the impossible task of convincing you (or any other atheist ?) of anything. So I'm not real concerned with whether you are ever convinced or not.

My reason for not dealing with your argument on the word "evil" in my letter is because I wanted you to make that argument in the debate so it could be dealt with there. However since you seemed to have missed the entire idea of what a debate is, and since you think that I am unable to deal with your argument, I will deal with it in this letter.

In your letter to McKinsey you made this statement:

I have encountered similar subterfuges as you have in apprehending apologetic criminals like Carl Johnson. I recently talked to a Christian who had Zondervan books up the kazoo and still he couldn't answer the question: "Why does God created evil?" He gave the same response as Johnson, so I had him look up the Hebrew word used in those verses in which it is stated that God creates or causes evil. The meaning of the word includes "calamity" but it most certainly also includes "iniquity." I told him that if the verses were intended to mean "calamity" only, then they should have used the Hebrew word for "calamity" rather than using a word that means "iniquity," especially since the word clearly means "iniquity" wherever it's used in the Bible.

The English word "evil" is translated from the Hebrew word "rawah" or "rah". The word has several meanings. It means to be displeasing, to be sad, to be injurious, to be wicked, to suffer hurt/injury, to break, to be broken into pieces, to be wicked, misery, distress, calamity, adversity, distress, and so on. You cannot arbitrarily take only one meaning, and place it on the word "evil" every time you see it. There are some times the word "evil" is referring to iniquity, and some times it is referring to calamity. If you doubt this notice the following example.

Atheists have often said that God cannot exist because evil exists. One of the things that they call evil is natural calamities. They say, as Brennaman did: "Not all of the evil in the world is caused by men. Nature also causes evil" (McDonaldBrennaman Debate, Brennaman's Fourth Affirmative, p.4). Now, was Brennaman saying that nature causes iniquity or calamity? I think that anyone who honestly reads this will have to admit that Brennaman was using the word "evil" to mean calamity. Iniquity is not even implied in the the statement. Nature does not cause iniquity, but rather calamity.

Now it is admitted that sometimes the word "evil" does mean "iniquity," but such is not the case, "wherever it's used in the Bible."

The Bible tells us that God creates "evil." The Bible tells us that God allows "evil." And the Bible tells us that God cannot behold "evil." Now how can God create and allow that which he cannot behold? One has to look at the word "evil" in the context that it is in and then determine how it is used. In some contexts "evil" refers to "wickedness." In some contexts the word "evil" refers solely to "calamity." Let's take your passages one by one and see just what they say.

  • 1. Judges 9:23: "Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech." This in your mind means that God creates evil. This says nothing about God creating evil, but rather that God sent this evil spirit to go between Abimelech and the men of Shechem so the men of Shechem could deal treacherously with Abimelech. Like so many atheists (or whatever you are) you did not read all of the context. You took just what you wanted to take and left the rest and now claim: "See, God creates evil". Abimelech had killed his brethren (with the aid of the men of Shechem) and now God is punishing Abimelech by causing the men of Shechem to fight against him. However, according to verse 20 Abimelech was also to devour the men of Shechem. So this is a case where God was pitting them against each other and he sent an evil spirit to work them against each other. The word evil here, gives the connotation of distress and injury. It does not mean iniquity as you suppose, and had you been honest enough to read the context you would have seen that to be the case.

  • 2. 1 Sam. 16:23: "And it came to pass when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well , and the evil spirit departed from him." Again, you chose not to look at the context. Verse 14 plainly says: "But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him." Here the word "evil" has reference to misery. In other words, Saul was a miserable person. Saul had disobeyed God and was now being punished for his disobedience. His servants asked if they could seek out someone who would play for him so that God would take the evil spirit (spirit of misery) away from him and Saul allowed it. They chose David to do that. There is nothing here about the word "evil" having any reference to iniquity. 1 Sam. 18:10 is the same spirit which came upon Saul at a different time, and he was taken away by the very same method.

  • 3. Lam. 3:38: "Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?" Where does this necessitate iniquity? As a matter of fact, where does this say that God creates evil (iniquity)? This says that God can speak both evil and good of a person. Evil here, again, has to do with distress and injury. God can speak injurious of a person who disobeys him, and bring evil upon him; evil meaning injury.

  • 4. Ezek. 20:2526: "Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgements whereby they should not live; And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the Lord." In 2 Thess. 2:1012 Paul wrote: "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God sent them strong delusions that they should believe a lie: That they might all be damned, who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." God will not make anyone obey him. Man has a choice to make (Josh. 24:15), either obey God or disobey him. It's up to us. If we obey, he will help us overcome temptation (1 Cor. 10:13), but if we do not obey him, then he will not help us, he will even allow us to believe a lie. The figure of speech "anthropopathea" where human attributes and characteristics are applied to God (Oh, I forgot, atheists (?) don't believe in figures of speech, do they?) so God can condescend to man's level so man can understand him. God, in allowing men to believe a lie, is said to have sent strong delusions to these people. Actually, all he has done is to allow them to believe the lie as strongly as they want. He will not make a way of escape for them, as he does those who are faithful to him.

  • In Ezek. 20:2526 the word "evil" is not used. However the passage does say that God polluted them in their own gifts. This is the same thing as is found in 2 Thess. 2:1012. God allowed the children of Israel to be polluted in Idolatry because that is where they wanted to be. They began worshipping the god Molech and sacrificed their infants to him by putting them in the belly of the idol which was filled with hot coals of fire. God allowed them to go off as far off into idolatry as they desired before he punished them for their evil works.

  • 5. Micah 2:3: "Therefore, thus saith the Lord; Behold against this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks; neither shall ye go haughtily: for this time is evil." Again you did not consider the context. God is punishing those who, "devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds...they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his souse, even a man and his heritage." God says that those who do such things, he will punish (do evil to) them for their iniquity. God is not doing iniquity when he punishes people for wrong doing. Punishment is also called "evil."

  • 6. Jer. 26:3: "If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I propose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings." God is getting ready to punish Israel for their iniquity. Is it wrong for God to punish his people for their iniquity? If so, why? In every other case in Jeremiah that you have listed, where the word "evil" is attributed to God, the context plainly shows that God is punishing Israel for their iniquity; their disobedience. All those passages would be nonsensical with your interpretation of the word "evil" where it applies to God. Does God work iniquity when he punishes people for working iniquity? Remember, the word "evil" has several meanings. What gives you the right to take only one meaning and place it upon the word "evil" every time it is used, especially when you admit that the word means calamity?

  • In everyone of the passages you have produced you have twisted the context or twisted the meaning of the word in that context, to fit your own pet doctrine. You have not proven that God creates iniquity or wickedness. All you have proven is that you know nothing about how to interpret the Bible. Now to look at the rest of your passages.

  • 1. You say God deceives and produced several passages one of which I have already dealt with above (2 Thess. 1012). 2 Chronicles 18:22 is just another account of that which took place in 1 Kings 22:14ff. The passages state that God put a lying spirit in the mouths of Ahab's prophets. Here, again the figure of speech "anthropopathea" is used to show that what God allows is attributed to him as doing. God allowed the false prophets to speak lies and thus it was attributed to him. Michiah had told them of a vision he had seen where God was going to punish Ahab for his wickedness by allowing him to die in battle. However, his prophets all told him that he would be victorious and live. They lied, and God allowed it because that is what he wanted to believe. Thus it was attributed to him.

  • Jer. 4:10 has Jeremiah saying: "Ah, Lord God! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul." Is all deception sinful? When our spies go into enemy territory they deceive the enemy by making them think that they are their friends. Is that sinful? Sometimes in a baseball game the pitcher will throw a fake pitch so as to catch one of the opposite players off base and then throw the ball to the baseman thus getting the runner out. Is that sinful? Farrell Till, editor of The Skeptical Review sent out bogus debate propositions to preachers in the churches of Christ claiming to be preachers from several denominations so he could show that they would debate the denominationalists, but not him as an atheist. Was that sinful? I contend that in some cases deception can be used without sin. When God told the Israelites to run away from the men of Ai as though they were trying to escape, but really there were men hiding in the rocks on the sides waiting for the men of Ai to follow those running then they would close the trap, this was not sinful, but was rather military strategy. Yet it was a form of deception. Did God sin? Our military does things like that! Is an undercover police officer sinning when he deceives a drug dealer by making him think he is there to buy drugs for himself? Think about that before you answer. Here God allowed Israel to think that everything was going to be alright when actually there were going to be punished. In doing so, they were deceived, but I contend that not all deception is sinful.

  • In Jer. 15:18, Jeremiah is not accusing God of being deceptive, but rather is asking if he is going to be deceived into thinking his pain will cease when it is not. In 20:7 Jeremiah did complain to God about being deceived, but I feel that his complaint was unwarranted. God did not deceive him. He had the false notion that if he spoke to Pashur, the chief governor, that he would repent, but in reality, not only did he not repent, but he smote Jeremiah and put him in stocks for rebuking him for lying to the people. Jeremiah felt that he was deceived, so he complained to God. However, his complaint was unwarranted. He promised himself that he would no longer preach God's message, but he also later realized that he could not refrain from such. He later changed his attitude and began doing what God had instructed him to do. Read the context Roy. Concerning Ezek. 14:9: Again not all deception is wrong. God deceived a false prophet by allowing him to believe that he was doing right, when in fact he was wrong and was going to be punished.

  • 2. You say that God lied when he told Adam that if he ate the fruit of the forbidden tree that he would die that day (Gen. 2:17). Adam did die that day. He died spiritually. He also began to die physically. So where is the lie? There is no lie in 2 Sam. 7:13 because the word "forever" does not always mean without end. Sometimes it means "age lasting" or during a "given time period." When my son was born I, wearing street clothes, went into the nursery and picked him up and carried him out. A nurse jumped me and told me: "Don't you ever pick that child up without wearing a smock, again." My first thought was: "I'm not going to buy one of those things to wear every time I want to pick him up." However, after I reflected upon it, I realized that she was telling me not to pick him up without one for as long as he was in the hospital. Once we took him home, we could do as we pleased. You see, the words "ever" and "forever" do not always carry the connotation of "without end." Sometimes they mean "during a given period of time." That is what is meant in 2 Sam. 7:13.

  • 3. You say that he tells people to lie. Exodus 3:18 was not a lie. God did want them to go three days journey into the wilderness to worship him. That three days journey would lead them to Sinai. Nothing is said about God promising to return them. He wanted them to come to Sinai to worship him, which was three days journey. I fail to see where God instructed anyone to say anything in 2 Sam. 16:2. By presents and false suggestions Ziba obtained his master's inheritance. However there is nothing there to suggest that God had anything to do with it. The word "lord" is used in verse 4, but it refers to Mephibosheth, the king. So where are the lies that God has authorized others to tell?

  • 4. You say that God has made false prophecies. In Gen. 35:10 he told Jacob that he would no longer be called Jacob, but rather Israel. However, there were times when he was called Jacob after that. Yet, when we consider that as far as being the head of the twelve tribes of Israel, he was no longer known as Jacob, but rather as Israel. That does not mean that no one would ever call him Jacob again. It simply means that his formal name would be Israel. Concerning Jonah 3:4, God had every intention of destroying Nineveh until Nineveh repented. Suppose you owed someone a sum of money and did not pay it, for whatever reason, and that person after trying every thing he knew to do to get the money from you, finally told you: "Well, I'm tired of messing with you on this, I am going to take you to court and sue you to get the money." Suppose you came up and paid the entire bill before the court date, should that person go ahead and sue you? He would look like an idiot and a blood thirsty tyrant if he did. Was he a liar for not going ahead and sueing you? Now God had intended to destroy Nineveh, but when they repented, he would have looked like an idiot and a bloodthirsty tyrant for destroying them after they had repented. There is no false prophecy there.

  • 5. You say that God causes adultery because of what he told David he was going to do to him in 2 Sam. 12:11,12. There was going to be no adultery involved. God was simply going to take David's wives away from him and give them to his neighbor. They were then to be his neighbor's wives. This was going to be done to show David just how it felt to take the wife of someone else and make her his wife as he had done Bethsheba. However, when David heard this, he repented and God did not take this action against him. The child did die because it would have been in line for the Kingdom and an illegitimate person could not rule in Israel. Had he lived and ruled, it would have given occasion for Israel's enemies to speak against her.

  • 6. God does not sanction slavery, he just made rules to regulate it because he knew that they were going to do it. (Ex. 21:2021; Deut. 15:17). He did not sanction divorce (Mt. 19:69), but he did give rules to regulate it (Deut. 24:14) because he knew they were going to do it anyway.

  • 7. Ex. 4:22,23; Josh. 22:20; and Rom. 5:12. When man sins, he often brings hardship upon his entire family. When a man gambles his paycheck away, his family often has to suffer for it. When God killed the firstborn of Egypt it was because the Pharaoh refused to turn Israel loose from their slavery. He had been warned sufficiently, but still refused to do it. Achin committed a trespass and involved his whole family in it, thus the family died. When Adam and Eve sinned, they allowed sin into the world so now it plagues all mankind. When men sin, they can just expect the consequences to go further than just themselves. Sometimes they destroy the man's entire family.

  • 8. Gen. 3:16 does not say that man will be punished for one person's sin. However, because of the wrong doing, God promised Eve that her desire would be only to her husband and she would conceive in sorrow. Do women conceive in sorrow today? It all depends on how you look at pregnancy. It is painful at times, but even then this is a consequence of Eve's sin. Women today are not being punished for the wrong, but they sometimes suffer the consequences of her sin. Her pain in conception was written into her makeup which would be passed on to every generation following her. In the military, when one person breaks rules, others often have to suffer. If a person does something to cause an explosion or a leak others will have to suffer. They are not being punished, but they are suffering the consequence.

  • In Genesis 20:18 God had closed up the wombs of Abimelech's wives because he was going to commit the sin of adultery with Sarah. This seemed to be the only way of getting his attention. When he got Abimelech's attention and he repented, God opened up his wives wombs.

  • 9. You say that God punishes children for their father's sins. In Exodus 12:29 God had given sufficient warning as to what would happen if Pharaoh did not turn Israel loose. This was the only way of getting Pharaoh's attention. Even after he lost his son, and turned Israel loose he went after them to bring them back into slavery again. There is no injustice here. God is the giver of all life and as such he has the right to terminate it any time he sees fit. He warned Pharaoh, and Pharaoh did not heed it, so he was punished. The children were not punished, their lives were taken, but not as punishment upon them, but rather as punishment upon the Pharaoh. Exodus 20:5 simply shows just how evil idolatry can be. Once it is ingrained in a family, it will take several generations to get it out of the family. God was telling them what would happen if they followed after idols. Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children simply means that this sin would pass down to them. Now notice the last part of the verse: "unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me." This shows that the fathers would be at fault for allowing it into their families. They would teach it to their families and their families would follow after it. They would hate God, and thus God would have to punish them as well. Deut. 5:9 is the same thing as Ex. 20:5.

  • 10. You say that God prevents people from hearing the word (Isa. 6:10; Jno. 12:39,40). Look at the people God is talking to. They are hardhearted, stiffnecked, disobedient people. As earlier stated, God will not help these people. He will allow them to live in their sin, and will send them strong delusions that they might believe a lie. These are not honest people who are looking for the truth. These are hardhearted disobedient people who care nothing for the truth.

  • 11. You say God supports human sacrifice. In Exodus 22:2930 the word "offer" does not necessitate a "burnt offering." It simply means that these humans will be dedicated to God's service. For Ezek. 20:26 see argument earlier mentioning this passage. God did not cause them to offer their children to Molech, they did this of their own accord.

  • 12. You say that God orders cannabalism. In Lev. 26:29, God is simply telling them what they will do. In Jeremiah 19:9 God is allowing them to do these things, because of their disobedience to him, and thus says that he is the cause of it. Again you have the figure of speech "anthropopathea." Whatever God allows is attributed to him.

  • 13. You say that God ordered that virgins be part of war plunder (Num 31:3136). Well, I guess they could have been killed along with the others. Would that have been more humane? There was no impropriety here. No one can even come close to showing what atheists claim; that they were used as sex slaves. Even Farrell Till in our oral debate in '91 stated that he did not know for sure that that is what they were used for. Again in Deut. 21:1014 there is no violation. This woman was to become a wife; with all the rights and privileges of any Israelite wife. The nation would be taken captive, and she was to be a slave. However, if she was taken as a wife, she would not be a slave. Now just which is more humane? Deut. 22:2829 does not require a woman to marry her rapist. There is no rape here. The man finds a virgin, who is not betrothed, and he lays hold on her, and lays with her. She has something to do with this, she allows it. The man is to pay her father a sum of money and he is to marry her and take care of her for the rest of her life. He cannot divorce her because he took her virginity outside of marriage. He must provide for her and take care of her all the days of her life.

  • 14. You say that God excuses the beating of a slave (Ex. 21:2021). Wrong again! God states that if he smites his servant and he dies immediately he is to be put to death for murder. However, if the servant continues for a day or two and then dies, he will not be put to death for he is his money. He has paid for the servants medical fees and if the servant goes ahead and dies anyway, he will not be put to death because he tried to save his life.

  • So where are all these awful atrocities that God is supposed to be guilty of? Well, let's see you answer the arguments I have made. You call me a coward, but as you can see, I am not. If you are so brave, why don't you sign propositions with me and let's have a real debate? Anyway, let's see what your silver bullet of reason can do to my position now.

  • I apologize for taking so long to answer, but I work two full time jobs plus I have other debates going on, so I will get to you when I can.

  • I await your response.

    Respectfully, Jerry D. McDonald


    CHALLENGE is published quarterly by Challenge Publications.
    Jerry D. McDonald, Editor; Michael P. Hughes, Associate Editor.


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