Is God Good?

The angry old YHWH of the old testament – I think he was a product of the times he was written into. The g-d of wrath and judgement. Who killed nations simply because they inconvenienced his “chosen people.” Let me give a few examples that I’ve been thinking about recently.

The garden and flood

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I never really understood the initial test of mankind. If g-d is all knowing then why create man at all? He knew how the test would go. I know the answer is suppose to be. And that that without free will man would not be a willing participant in love and worship of g-d. But now even that sounds hollow. Is g-d so vain that he needs our worship and praise. According to what I was taught he already had the angels to serve and worship him. Why did he need man?

Genesis 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. – KJV

He destroyed the entire world (according to the genesis account of the flood). Because he found them lacking. If this is the all powerful omniscient g-d I was told of in Sunday school then why didn’t he just start with Noah and his wife as the first man? 

Why create a system designed for failure? Why create these souls then kill them off dooming them to hell (according to the teachings of my upbringing). There is no way Noah could have told the whole world the plans of god. Therefore g-d doomed many to die and go to hell without any choice or even an explanation of their moral failure. 

The Tower of Babble

Genesis 11:6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. – KJV

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Why destroy a common language? If g-d is all powerful then he has nothing to fear from man. Also if you read into this it really sounds as if g-d the source of strife between nations.

Sodom and Gomorrah.

The whole story has issues in my opinion. Lot offers his daughters to be raped, and later in the bible he is praised. This was honestly the first question I ever had of the bible. Pointed out to me by a science fiction book I had read: Stranger in a Strange Land.

2 Peter 2:6-8 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) – KJV

Also it was not just the “evil men” of the city that were destroyed. The whole city was destroyed. That would have included the women, children, and slaves of the “evil” men.

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Any doubt that g-d was wrong or unjust was discounted. Abraham pleaded with g-d to change his mind, but g-d still destroyed the cities. Lot’s wife dared to look back and was instantly struck down, was turned into a pillar of salt.

Genes 19: 30-38 Lot left Zoar and went into the mountains to live with his two daughters; he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He lived in a cave with his daughters. One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is getting old and there’s not a man left in the country by whom we can get pregnant. Let’s get our father drunk with wine and lie with him. We’ll get children through our father—it’s our only chance to keep our family alive.” They got their father drunk with wine that very night. The older daughter went and lay with him. He was oblivious, knowing nothing of what she did. The next morning the older said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Tonight, it’s your turn. We’ll get him drunk again and then you sleep with him. We’ll both get a child through our father and keep our family alive.” So that night they got their father drunk again and the younger went in and slept with him. Again he was oblivious, knowing nothing of what she did. Both daughters became pregnant by their father, Lot. The older daughter had a son and named him Moab, the ancestor of the present-day Moabites. The younger daughter had a son and named him Ben-Ammi, the ancestor of the present-day Ammonites. The Message Bible

What do you even do with that portion of text? G-d still calls this man “righteous.” And that very same g-d went on to condone the slaughter and the hatred of the nations of Moabites and Ammonites later in the bible. Judges 3:29, Deuteronomy 23: 3-6, 2 Kings 3:21-24

Why chose one man over another? Lot was apparently Abraham’s nephew. Why was Abraham’s son chosen and not one of Lot’s children?

In fact it seems that g-d set these “infantile nations” into a cycle of hatred and warfare against each other. I read over and over again of which nations were “chosen” and which were to be judged. How can I reconcile that?

Exodus

Last night I listened to a podcast entitled “The Sins of God.” The first portion of the episode was regarding the last plague on the Egyptians. This would be the death of the firstborn.

Exodus 11:5 Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. – KJV

The podcast told the story of that very female slave mentioned in this verse. Because as g-d says not even “the firstborn son of the female slave” will be spared. This story told how g-d gave no warning to a defenseless woman, stole the life of the one thing she cared about.

I was told these plagues were to prove the power of g-d over the gods of the Egyptians. Did the firstborn children of the slaves deserve death to prove the power of g-d? They had no power and no free will; but g-d struck them down. As a mere demonstration of his power.

The Sacraments and Salvation

Every time I had sacrament as a child I would think on the system of salvation. Why did g-d create man, doom him to failure, and then create a plan to rescue him? It all sounds so needlessly complex. And why is my system the only one that allows for salvation?

If he controlled all and loved the people of Israel, why didn’t he give them a true meaning of salvation instead of a life of warfare and sacrifice. I was told that this sacrificial system was to show people that they could do nothing to obtain salvation on their own.

But if this is true then it seems that g-d deliberately misled his people. Dooming them to a life in eternal torment. Only to make a point to his new “chosen people” the Christians.

Conclusion

I reject this g-d of needless wrath, this YHWH (Yahweh). He who dooms children and the innocent. The One that allows for genocide and death perpetuated in his name.


I use g-d instead of God to denote my lack of understanding about the divine. Any attempt for me to name the divine for me just feels hollow. As I child I would write out the many names of “God” and the meanings associated with “him.” Now I prefer not to try to tack on too much of a definitive name or meaning associated with the divine / mysterious.

2 thoughts on “Is God Good?

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