Steven Hawking once gave a lecture at Cambridge on the nature of spacetime and mankind's place in it. An elderly woman was there and he recalls that when the lecture had ended she approached him explaining that he was very imaginative. "We both know that the world rests upon the back of an enormous turtle". "What does the turtle rest upon madam?" He replied. "Well that's very clever Sir, however it is turtles all the way down". This person had no regard for truth or facts at all. They sought only to be comfortable in their belief system.
Another encounter just as foolish happened to Dr. Dan Wallace. " If the King James Version of the bible was good enough for Saint Paul, it is good enough for me". Of course the man did not understand that in 1611 Saint Paul had been dead for well over a millennia. Nothing Dr. Wallace had to say registered with that individual. That person's mind had sealed the result with false presuppositions that are difficult to overcome no matter the factual and evidential nature of the data.
A friend of mine made a big deal at one point not too long ago to make sure I had good reasons for believing the things I believe. They explained to me how they were deconstructing from the Christian religion to agnostic. They explained the various arguments against God's authority and the typical "if God was god He would do X instead of Y" objections.
I explained that they were not rejecting Christianity.
They are not objecting to anything within the Christian religion at all, only a caricature of the religion that has permeated our society.
If the bible taught the things they believed it teaches then I would reject it as well. Those outside the faith tend to think that a Christian believes many things that we simply do not believe. Moreover, many believe that we simply have "faith" and misconstrue the reasonable evidence we have as Christians. The saddest part of this is that it is not limited to those outside the faith but many within the church have these same misconceptions.
Some people think evolution is false because God says so. They do not look at what evolution says occurs or how things operate within the cell. They can not tell you where "God says so". They simply develop an opinion that gets incorporated into their worldview and becomes quite rigid. They are simply uneducated but the education of the topic does almost nothing to change their mind. Their mind has built walls against something that is not real.
Some educated people do this as well. Common ancestry is not the same thing as epigenetic change and until both persons are educated then the discussion is futile. Modern biology is establishing the fact that epigenetic change and cellular function not only shows us how change takes place but the hard limits of change allowed within a cell. Things like DNA polymerase actually exist to prevent the kind of changes required for common ancestry. Science is telling us quite plainly that common ancestry is simply not possible. The problem of course is that science is not allowed to say that. If the scientists do then they are by default affirming divine creation.
Here what I have told you may be true or I may be misinformed or I could be lying to you. If you are a creationists your instinct is to affirm what I have said here. If you are in the evolution camp your instinct is to dismiss what I have said here. The source of the information has no bearing on your instant reaction nor does the information itself. The human mind has constructed barriers against altering its worldview. What's worse, the human mind hides the fact that it is tricking you into believing what you already believe. This is a human thing and has nothing to do with your education level or your character. The good news is that to overcome this is easy. First, one simply has to acknowledge that this happens and be aware of it cognitively. Second one needs to actively work against these barriers and try to disprove what you think is true and factual. To do this, learn proper epistemology. When you understand that the chain of learning is epistemology- philosophy- measurement- understanding then and only then can you examine the facts of the idea. Everything else is built from a measure of trust or distrust of the one providing the information that comes from presuppositional bias.
A few things.
If God always agrees with your view of morality and goodness then is not God simply a construct of your heart and moral compass? It seems to me that any true creator of all that is would have such superior understanding and power of morality that we could not fathom it correctly. It would be a bit like a child trying to grasp the principles involved in quantum computing. Theologically speaking it is far worse than that as we are fallen and corrupt beings trying to grasp the ideas involved in perfection and harmony. Can the corrupt truly understand perfection? I think not. Furthermore God is so much more than anything humans can understand, He literally can do exactly as He pleases and the facts are that we just have to deal with it. Do we really think God is under some sort of obligation to follow our flawed understanding of morality or goodness? There is no logic in that.
Or are we under the assumption that our understanding of morality is so refined as to judge the creator of the universe? We can not even properly define what life is yet but we have such power of intellect as to determine how the creator of all things should behave? That is irrational. Our society should instantly prove to us at a glance that we are unfit to judge properly according to human morality. Obviously we have a great deal to overcome in the realm of love and kindness.
Any God that is subject to my understanding of the universe and good versus evil can by definition NOT be the creator of the universe. A true creator will supersede my understanding in all aspects.
This is one theological consequence all major religions have in common. We are too small to comprehend God, much less to judge Him. This is precisely why polytheism does not work. Odin and Shiva and Athena are far too human to be gods. Not only can we comprehend them but they are simply very powerful mortals with petty squabbles, ignorant mistakes, and fits of rage, depression, fear and schemes. These are human attributes and the infinite can not be subject to this behavior. Yes God will have human-like attributes, as we are created by him and in His image. Rather, we will have God likeness about us in that we have emotion and understanding, and so on. What we do not have is control over ourselves and perfect knowledge or understanding. In other words, we are not wise. The self restraint and humility we need to master ourselves limits our ability. This is among the highest attributes we can attain as it masters all other aspects of the human mind and has tremendous impact on our behavior
No matter how much logic can be employed showing the truth of the Gospel and how perfect Elohim is we will still have flaws in logic or misreading of the scriptures that require resolution. Much of this stems from bad theology or not reading the text, but accepting the caricature of the text as is taught in secular circles. I will attempt to resolve a few examples of secular misunderstandings of the Christian faith.
God killed everyone on earth in the flood.
Yes He did, after warning them for 40 years to stop killing each other without pause or thought. The world was a bloodbath before God reset it.
The text actually says
"Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great upon the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was altogether evil all the time. 6And the LORD regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7So the LORD said, “I will blot out man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—every man and beast and crawling creature and bird of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.”
God did not have second thoughts about making mankind. That is not the meaning being conveyed. There is a country song about a boy that calls his father out to fight. The father allows the boy to hit him and then teaches the boy that he is not the man he thinks he is. The father cries for what must be done to teach his son this lesson. This is the meaning here. God was grieved in his heart that mankind must be removed from the earth for what they have become. It is not like God did not know this was coming, of course He knew what man would do and what would be done. Yet the action God had to take is what grieved Him. God is subject to holiness and justice. God can do no other. The justice required here was sorrowful to God as it is written "It is God's will that none should perish:'' & "God takes no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked ''. Furthermore we do not fully appreciate the depravity exhibited on the earth before the flood. This is characterized as "Every thought of man was continually turned to evil and the earth was filled with violence". However the fine point of this is found after the flood where God says "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man his blood will be shed; for in His own image God has made mankind." Gen 9:6. This therefore was not required before the flood and thus mankind was wanton killing one another without consequence. God was showing that left to our own devises we would commit our own genocide. God stopped this and instituted control and requirements. It is a curious thing that people object to God allowing evil and suffering and yet when God intervenes and stops the slaughter or the mass suffering of others He is accused of evil. Such persons making such claims have set their minds and hearts against God and therefore no matter what God does or says they find objection regardless of theology or logic.
God commanded Joshua to kill the 5 cities of Canaan.
Yes he did, except the virgins (children) were to be spared. .
These cities were involved in mass inbreeding, forced sexual slavery, child sacrifice, and diseased. This data is not in the bible but comes from secular material from Cambridge, Cornell, and other Ivy League universities.
Could God simply hit them like Sodom and Gomorrah? Yes, of course he could have. He instead told Joshua to save the children. What possible reason would God kill all the people and livestock except the virgins in a culture with forced sexual slavery and inbreeding? Furthermore God only did this after repeated signs to the Canaanites to repent. Their god Dagon was cracked in half and removed from its resting place in the temple. Again, secular material here, not found within the bible. You seek that God would do the things He did in a way more satisfying to your morality and your understanding? The Almighty Creator Of all existence is not concerned with your idea about His actions.
So God created mankind knowing we would experience suffering and pain and heartache then holds us accountable for the things we do wrong, then saves us from the way he knew we would be and this is torturous?
I had children knowing they would experience pain and suffering, I correct them when they do wrong. I save them from mistakes they make if the consequences are too severe. I did this to share the love I have with my children and family, exactly as God did. You did exactly the same thing.
The accusation is absurd and generally not well thought out, for the consequences of the objection require the antithetical supposition to qualify.
In all of these instances what we have is an attack on God for being immoral or not holding to our own ideas of what or who God should be. God must be above this by definition.
We object to caricatures of Christianity without reasoning out and investigation. We act like 3rd grade know-it-alls.
We are without the patient wisdom to slow down and examine ourselves for wisdom, understanding, and other ideas outside our own, for there can be no greater authority of our understanding than ourselves, which is the firm wall preventing the facts from showing us God.
Let us consider virtue, maintain our humility, our lack of understanding, our desire for Truth above all, and the proper requirements of God's superiority.
Anything less is simply turtles all the way down.