Friday, May 7, 2010

More unanswerable questions about the Bible

I posted the text below on another forum. It represents a set of unanswerable questions relating to the Passover. I thought that I would repeat them here as well. Surely no Biblical literalists on this forum will be able to answer the questions either.

Consider the Passover and the associated plagues. The Passover is actually the Tenth plague, of course. Yahweh inflicts it, as well as the nine previous ones, on the Egyptian people because of the hardened heart of the Pharaoh who would not release Moses and the Jews from slavery.

Surely just about everyone is familiar with that story. In summary for the Passover itself, God tells Moses to take the blood of one-year-old male lamb that is without blemish and that was slaughtered during twilight and use it to coat the doorposts and lintels of their homes. God then kills the firstborn in every house that is not so marked.

But it, along with the other details of the Exodus, raises many questions.

1. If God can see into the future, he MUST have known that the first nine plagues weren't going to have any effect. So why does He do things like bring boils and locusts? He MUST enjoy causing pain, pestilence and other ills. That's the only possible explanation.

2. Why is an omnipotent, omniscient God unable to tell a Jewish home from an Egyptian home without such a gruesome ritual being performed? Why did a bunch of lambs have to die needlessly?

3. Why did all of the Egyptians have to suffer? Only the Pharaoh had a "hard heart". Why did the others have to lose their firstborn children?

4. Why did God harden the Pharaoh's heart in the first place? That's a form of deception. Here's Exodus 4:21

"The LORD said to Moses, 'When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.'"

God hardens the Pharaoh's heart and then kills all of the firstborn children because Pharaoh's heart is hardened? How does that do anything but focus all of the blame on God Himself?

Those actions are ONLY explicable if God is cruel. Of course that's a necessary conclusion ONLY if the story is literally true. If it nothing but a myth - which all rational people would believe - then God can continue to be perfect (though undoubtedly angered by the fact that some people insist that he really has such a flawed character).

Maybe you prefer that God is incompetent instead? After all any mortal human could come up with a better solution than God's in a couple of minutes.

The most obvious - don't harden the Pharaoh's heart in the first place. In fact make his hearth sympathetic to Moses and the Jews. Problem solved; no one dies.

Or, since the Egyptian army is keeping the Jews enslaved, disable the army. Put the army members into temporary comas then waken them after the Jews have crossed the Red Sea. Or destroy their weapons. Here again – problem solved; no one dies.

There are probably 1000 other solutions where no one dies.

God couldn't think of ANY of them?

The solution to this conundrum is simple - don't insist that these myths are true.

**IF** you do insist that they are true, then you are obligated to answer the questions that I have asked. Otherwise you are implicitly agreeing that God is cruel, deceptive and/or incompetent. If you cannot provide answers then you are risking your soul because you are advocating a belief system that really does portray a God who is cruel, deceptive and incompetent.

Moreover, saying "God moves in mysterious ways" doesn't work if you insist that the Bible is inerrant. **IF** God moves in mysterious ways then God could have moved mysteriously and inspired the stories in the Bible to be read as parables rather than as true stories. In other words, if God does indeed "move in mysterious ways" no one can trust anything that they read in the Bible.

Total expected answers from Biblical literalists:






That's why **IF** Hell exists, creationists are surely destined to spend an eternity in the worst parts of that place.


  1. How Can you even ask such ridiculous questions?.... If myou would even think for one minute you would realize the answer to your questions and NOT claim that they are unanswerable.... I pray that God has Mercy on your Soul So you dont Burn in HELL

  2. Hello,

    I have to disagree with you, previous commenter. The questions that the author asks are not ridiculous. I can see how such ponders can arise and they are not easy to answer (for me, at least). Actually, I don't see a way where there would be 1 answer - plain, simple, dry and based on facts alone. I don't think there is one that can satisfy everyone completely either. If there was, we wouldn't be having this "discussion".

    I think that both the author and you have legitimate reasons to believe or not believe what you do and I don't think that a person who is asking questions should automatically be assumed to "burn in hell", as you put it.

    I'm interested in your point of view, however. How would you answer these questions? Is it really that simple? Please, do elaborate.