This is the third part in the series An Evil God?
A Short Story
Pullquote: They had done what he had forbidden!
He would kill them all!
Professor Sidney was proud — he was the creator of the first sentient, emotional beings made by man. They were in Lab 47, the largest biodome in history.
The Humloids (as he called them) were programmed with instructions to pick any of the flowers in the biodome except one. He was amused with his little test, because it would prove that they really loved their Creator. They thought they would die if they picked the forbidden flower — a harmless little joke that still made him chuckle. Of course they wouldn’t do it. How could they disobey him?
As he entered, he was aghast. Here were his beloved Humloids — with the forbidden flower in their hair! They had done what he had forbidden! He was furious! He would kill them all! No — a slow death would be better. He would make them suffer. And not only them, but every single one of their descendents. They must pay for their disobedience of picking the forbidden flower.
That’s What God Did
Pullquote: This isn’t just absurd —
Wouldn’t that be absurd? Who would give a moral test to creatures that didn’t know right from wrong? And worse, if they failed, who would get angry enough to not only make them suffer, but all of their descendents as well? No, it’s not merely absurd — it’s evil.
Yet, according to the Bible, that is exactly what God did.
As we saw previously, God cursed Adam and Eve for eating the forbidden fruit. He said they would now die instead of living forever. He cursed the ground and said, “in pain you shall eat of it.” They would have to work hard for their own food and struggle with “thorns and thistles.” Women would now have immense pain in childbirth, and though she would want to rule over her husband, her husband would rule over her.
This applied not only to Adam and Eve, but to all their descendents. In other words, Genesis teaches we experience pain and suffering today because we are descended from Adam and Eve and inherit their sinful nature.
Is That Why Bad Things Happen?
Pullquote: When an innocent baby dies of a birth defect, is it because our ancestors ate some fruit?
When an innocent baby dies of a birth defect, is it because our ancestors ate some fruit? When a daughter is raped and killed by her step-father, is it because the step-father inherited “original sin”? When a tsunami destroys a city and millions are killed, is it because of an ancient myth passed on for thousands of years before it was written down? When a farmer gets pricked by a thorny weed, is it because God cursed the ground?
I don’t think so. Birth defects happen because of medical problems, which we have gotten better at screening and fixing. People are raped and killed by others not because we all have original sin, but because some people are mentally unstable, which through medication and therapy can sometimes be remedied. Natural disasters occur not because some invisible man in the sky controls them, but because of natural forces on this earth — so natural, in fact, that we can often predict their formation and path.
The Injustice of Generational Punishments
Pullquote: Is the God of this myth really loving and just?
Let’s say your grandfather is the worst man in the world. He raped and killed a thousand women and the truth finally came out. The judge pronounces the sentence: yes, this man must die, but not just him — his sons, daughters, and grandchildren must be killed as well. We would scream, “Injustice!” and remove him from office.
Yet that is what God considers justice:
[I am a merciful and gracious God...] visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations. (Ex 34:7, see also Deut 5:9)
Perhaps a case could be made for Adam and Eve to have been punished — though that would be difficult. But for God to punish the earth and all the descendants of Adam and Eve as well? Is the God of this myth really loving and just?
No, he would be an evil God.