Perfect Bible, Imperfect God?

Another quote from a recent Facebook discussion that I thought I would share here:

To believe that the Bible is inerrant, literally the words of God, you have to view God as morally flawed, since God pretends to be different human authors, and then apparently hates it when people fall for his trick.


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  • TomS

    Consider that God is up to doing things which, if they were done by humans, would be considered wrong: killing people or taking away from them all that they are attached to. Why, then, should we not say that God is not doing wrong if He misleads us?

  • Yuyu

    God’s allowed to do things that humans aren’t because He’s operating from a perspective of omniscience, whereas we aren’t. He can see the full ramifications of His actions, how they affect not only the immediate parties but all tangentially related parties throughout all time, and how they affect the souls of all those affected. We can barely see any of that.

    It’s kind of like how if doctors cut people open they’re valued members of the community, but if I were to go around cutting people open, I’d probably go to prison for a very long time. They’re qualified; I’m not.

    Which isn’t to say that the Bible actually is an inerrant document literally dictated by God Himself. I don’t think it is; the stuff in there should be critically examined and taken with a grain of salt. I’m just trying to answer the “How come God can do certain things and it’s good, but people do it and it’s bad?” argument.

    • G_Macdonald

      Is God a consequentialist?

    • TomS

      I am not making the “How come God can do certain things and it’s good, but people do it and it’s bad” argument.
      I am asking whether the principle that “God can do certain things and it’s good, but people do it and it’s bad” applies as much to what He says as to what He does. So that, if a person did it, we’d call it being dishonest, but if God does it, well, He has His reasons.

      • James F. McGrath

        I think that, unless there are some limits to one’s application of this sort of principle, then any attribution to God of morality, or affirmation that God is morally good, becomes meaningless. Of course, that will be perfectly acceptable, whether because it is thought that God’s actions are by definition moral, or because God is not thought of as literally a personal moral agent of this sort. But if it isn’t acceptable, then there has to be some basis for an analogy.

        • Yuyu

          I’d agree that there likely are limits, and I think that God is operating according to the same overall morality as we are, just on a different level.

          Would God deliberately mislead us? I don’t think so, at least not in the sense I think we’ve been talking about. I think He may “lie” in a “Wittgenstein’s Ladder” or “Lie-to-Children” sense, where something is presented that is technically untrue but easier for us to grasp until we can “get” the “real” truth. But I don’t think He is going to present flat-out lies as facts for arcane reasons beyond our pitiful mortal grasp.

          And I do agree with the original post; that it doesn’t make sense that perfectly good God would deliberately try to trick us and then get mad at us for falling for it.

          • TomS

            We all agree that there have to be some limits to this. Any suggestions as to why telling falsehoods is more beyond the limits than other behaviors, behaviors which many people find acceptable?