Seidensticker Folly #35: Is God an Inveterate Liar?

Seidensticker Folly #35: Is God an Inveterate Liar? July 25, 2019

Atheist and anti-theist Bob Seidensticker, who was “raised Presbyterian”, runs the influential Cross Examined blog. He asked me there, on 8-11-18“I’ve got 1000+ posts here attacking your worldview. You just going to let that stand? Or could you present a helpful new perspective that I’ve ignored on one or two of those posts?” He also made a general statement on 6-22-17“Christians’ arguments are easy to refute . . . I’ve heard the good stuff, and it’s not very good.” He added in the combox“If I’ve misunderstood the Christian position or Christian arguments, point that out. Show me where I’ve mischaracterized them.” 

Such confusion would indeed be predictable, seeing that Bob himself admitted (2-13-16): “My study of the Bible has been haphazard, and I jump around based on whatever I’m researching at the moment.” I’m always one to oblige people’s wishes if I am able, so I decided to do a series of posts in reply. It’s also been said, “be careful what you wish for.”  If Bob responds to this post, and makes me aware of it, his reply will be added to the end along with my counter-reply. If you don’t see that, rest assured that he either hasn’t replied, or didn’t inform me that he did. But don’t hold your breath.

Bob (for the record) virtually begged and pleaded with me to dialogue with him in May 2018, via email. But by 10-3-18, following massive, childish name-calling attacks against me,  encouraged by Bob on his blog (just prior to his banning me from it), his opinion was as follows: “Dave Armstrong . . . made it clear that a thoughtful intellectual conversation wasn’t his goal. . . . [I] have no interest in what he’s writing about.”

And on 10-25-18, utterly oblivious to the ludicrous irony of his making the statement, Bob wrote in a combox on his blog: “The problem, it seems to me, is when someone gets these clues, like you, but ignores them. I suppose the act of ignoring could be deliberate or just out of apathy, but someone who’s not a little bit driven to investigate cognitive dissonance will just stay a Christian, fat ‘n sassy and ignorant.” Again, Bob mocks some Christian in his combox on 10-27-18“You can’t explain it to us, you can’t defend it, you can’t even defend it to yourself. Defend your position or shut up about it. It’s clear you have nothing.” And again on the same day: “If you can’t answer the question, man up and say so.” And on 10-26-18“you refuse to defend it, after being asked over and over again.” And againYou’re the one playing games, equivocating, and being unable to answer the challenges.”

Bob’s cowardly hypocrisy knows no bounds. Again, on 6-30-19, he was chiding someone who (very much like he himself and my 35 critiques) was (to hear him tell it) not backing up his position: “Spoken like a true weasel trying to run away from a previous argument. You know, you could just say, ‘Let me retract my previous statement of X’ or something like that.” Yeah, Bob could!  He still hasn’t yet uttered one peep in reply to — now — 35 of my critiques of his atrocious reasoning. As of 7-9-19, this is how Bob absurdly rationalizes his non-response to these 35 articles: “He’s written several blog posts titled, in effect, ‘In Which Bob Seidensticker Was Mean to Me.’ Normally, I’d enjoy a semi-thoughtful debate, but I’m sure they weren’t.”

Bible-Basher Bob’s words will be in blue. To find these posts, word-search “Seidensticker” on my atheist page or search “Seidensticker Folly #” in my sidebar search (near the top).


In his article, George Washington Couldn’t Tell a Lie … But God Can (4-21-18; update of post from 8-11-14), Bible-Basher Bob provides a potpourri of ridiculous lies: all for the purpose of “proving” that the God revealed in the Bible is a liar. Let’s take each whopper in turn:

God lies in Garden of Eden story

We can’t even get out of the Creation story without seeing God lie. God says to Adam, “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:17). Adam doesn’t, and he lives to be 930 years old.

Bodie Hodge, in his article, “Time of Death” (Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions: Volume 1: 10-20-08), explains this:

The Hebrew phrase in English is more literally:

“Tree knowledge good evil eat day eat die (dying) die”

The Hebrew is “die die” (muwthmuwth) with two different verb tenses (dying and die), which can be translated as “surely die” or literally as “dying you shall die,” indicating the beginning of dying—an ingressive sense—and finally culminating with death. At the point when they ate, Adam and Eve began to die and would return to dust (Genesis 3:19). If they were meant to die right then, God would have used muwth only once, as is used in the Hebrew to mean dead, died, or die, not beginning to die or surely die as die-die is used in Hebrew. . . .

[T]he Hebrew word yom for day in Genesis 2:17, . . .refers directly to the following action—eating—not the latter “dying die.” For example Solomon used an almost identical construct in 1 Kings 2:37 when referring to Shimei:

“For on the day (yom) you go out and cross over the brook Kidron, you will know for certain that you shall surely (muwth) die (muwth); your blood shall be on your own head.”

This uses yom (day) and the dual muwth just as Genesis 2:17 did. In Genesis 2:17, yom referred to the action (eating) in the same way that yom refers the action here (go out and cross over). In neither case do they mean that was the particular day they would die, but the particular day they did what they weren’t supposed to do. Solomon also understood that it would not be a death on that particular day, but that Shimei’s days were numbered from that point. In other words, their (Adam and Shimei) actions on that day were what gave them the final death sentence—it was coming, and they would surely die as a result of their actions. Therefore, the day in Genesis 2:17 was referring to when they ate (disobeyed), and not the day they died.

The rationalization that “die” only meant that Adam and Eve had been immortal before eating the fruit won’t work. Remember that God had to exile them from the Garden so they wouldn’t eat from the Tree of Life.

In a second related paper, Bob digs in even further:

Apologists respond that this instead means that they will die eventually, that this introduced physical death and they would no longer be immortal. But the text makes clear that they never were immortal. They were driven from the Garden so they wouldn’t eat from the Tree of Life. That’s what makes you immortal.

The Keil and Delitzsch Commentary explains this alleged discrepancy:

[T]he man had not yet eaten of the tree of life. Had he continued in fellowship with God by obedience to the command of God, he might have eaten of it, for he was created for eternal life. But after he had fallen through sin into the power of death, the fruit which produced immortality could only do him harm. For immortality in a state of sin is not the ζωὴ αἰώνιος , which God designed for man, but endless misery, which the Scriptures call “the second death” (Revelation 2:11Revelation 20:6Revelation 20:14Revelation 21:8). The expulsion from paradise, therefore, was a punishment inflicted for man’s good, intended, while exposing him to temporal death, to preserve him from eternal death.

Now it’s true that Genesis does not describe in great depth all of these elements: physical death, spiritual death, and the Christian doctrine of original sin. The New Testament develops it much further, as I have written about, although King David is aware of it: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5, RSV), and so is Moses, in the book of Genesis itself: “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (8:21).

It is standard biblical hermeneutics to interpret less clear portions of the Bible by means of clearer related cross-references. Nevertheless, there are several more Old Testament passages that describe the fallen condition of man, as a result of Adam and Eve’s rebellion (which Christians believe implicated all mankind: 1 Corinthians 15:22: “in Adam all die”). Here are other similar texts:

Job 15:14 (RSV) What is man, that he can be clean? Or he that is born of a woman, that he can be righteous?

Psalms 14:2-3 The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any that act wisely, that seek after God. [3] They have all gone astray, they are all alike corrupt; there is none that does good, no, not one.

Ecclesiastes 9:3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that one fate comes to all; also the hearts of men are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?

God’s solution to all this misery is salvation through the blood of Christ and His free gift of grace: received with repentance:

Romans 5:6-11 While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. [7] Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man — though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. [8] But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. [9] Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. [10] For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. [11] Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received our reconciliation.

God lies to Ahab

Israel and Judah allied to fight the country of Aram across the Jordan River in 1 Kings 22. King Ahab of Israel consulted his 400 prophets and was assured of success. Prophet Micaiah was the sole holdout, but his prophecy turned out to be correct—the battle was lost and Ahab was killed. How then had the 400 other prophets gotten it completely wrong? Micaiah tells us that Yahweh wanted Ahab to die and authorized a spirit to cause the prophets to lie to lure him into the battle.

The Keil and Delitzsch Commentary states:

The manner in which the supernatural influence of the lying spirit upon the false prophets is brought out in Micah’s vision is, that the spirit of prophecy ( רוח הנבואה ) offers itself to deceive Ahab as שׁקר רוּח in the false prophets. Jehovah sends this spirit, inasmuch as the deception of Ahab has been inflicted upon him as a judgment of God for his unbelief. . . .

As he would not listen to the word of the Lord in the mouth of His true servants, God had given him up ( παρέδωκεν , Romans 1:24Romans 1:26Romans 1:28) in his unbelief to the working of the spirits of lying. But that this did not destroy the freedom of the human will is evident from the expression תּפתּה , “thou canst persuade him,” and still more clearly from תּוּכל גּם , “thou wilt also be able,” since they both presuppose the possibility of resistance to temptation on the part of man.

This is a common way of expressing God’s judgment and His providence. Romans 1 (mentioned above), explains it:

Romans 1:18-25 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. [19] For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. [20] Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; [21] for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. [22] Claiming to be wise, they became fools, [23] and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. [24] Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, [25] because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.

Note that the onus lies upon the people who “suppress the truth” and are engaged in “all ungodliness and wickedness” (1:18). They choose in their own free will to disobey God, then the text says that “God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity” (1:24). In other words, He didn’t cause their rebellion; He only allowed them in their free choices, to rebel.

Likewise, in the present scenario, God allowed the false prophets (see Deut 8:22) to lead Ahab astray, and this led to his judgment, which was inevitable (by Ahab’s own choice to be wicked and rebellious). Ahab chose to believe them. It was the false prophets who lied to Ahab, not God. The same dynamic is seen in the juxtaposition between Pharaoh freely hardening his heart, which is then applied to God (in a limited sense) doing it (which means that He allowed it, in His providence; He didn’t ordain it). I explain this at length, in two papers.

A fourth similar example occurs in the book of Job. Satan comes to God and challenges Him to allow him to torment Job. God responds, “Behold, he is in your power; only spare his life” (2:6; cf. 1:12). So it is clear that Satan is behind the direct persecution of Job. But later, the text refers to “all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him” (42:11); that is (properly interpreted, with knowledge of the multitude of Hebrew literary devices), allowed in His providence. Then it is reported (now literally) that God “restored the fortunes of Job, . . . and the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before” (42:10) and “blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning” (42:12).

Bob himself virtually makes this same argument for me in his next section (I am answering as I read, so I didn’t see this before i wrote the above):

New Testament lying

Remember how God hardened Pharaoh’s heart to prevent him from doing the right thing (Exodus 9:12)? We see the same thing in the New Testament. 2 Thessalonians predicts that “the lawless one” will deceive during the end times. To people caught by the lie, “God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness” (2 Thess. 2:11–12).

We see something similar when Paul describes God’s frustration at the people who don’t get it. “God [gives] them over in the sinful desires of their hearts” (Romans 1:24).

Explained above . . . 2 Thessalonians (also written by St. Paul) expresses precisely the same dynamic as we see in Romans 1 and the other three examples above. Men rebel in their wickedness (“they refused to love the truth and so be saved”: 2:10). Then it is stated (as a forceful hyperbolic manifestation of God’s providence and His permissive will) that “God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2:11-12).

It’s not a contradiction. This way of speaking is common in the Bible. When Paul talks about wicked men, he is being literal; but when He talks about God, it is hyperbolic and a form of sarcasm. 2:10 makes it quite clear what caused their damnation: “those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth.” Even 2:12 again reiterates that man’s rebellion was the cause of the demise of the damned: not because God willed and ordained it from all eternity.

The Jewish opponents of Jesus saw his miracles. They didn’t believe, not because the evidence was poor or because they didn’t understand or because they were stubborn. No, they didn’t believe because God deliberately hardened their hearts (John 12:37–40). John says, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts.”

But why harden the hearts of bad people? Were they going to do bad things on their own accord or not?

Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible, in its treatment of the Old Testament passage cited in John 12 (Isaiah 6:9-10) states:

What is prophesied in this passage is the judicial hardening of Israel in their rebellion against God. The prophecy is stated in different forms. Here it appears imperatively; but in other places the prophecy is referred to as self-accomplished as in Acts 28:27, or as having occurred passively as in Matthew 13:13-15. Here, as Dummelow pointed out, “The result of Isaiah’s preaching is spoken of as if it were the purpose of it.” . . .

The classical example from the Bible is that of Pharaoh, of whom it is stated ten times that “Pharaoh hardened his heart …” after which it is said that, “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.” God never hardened anyone’s heart who had not already hardened his own heart many times. Thus it was said of this prophecy that Israel had themselves shut their ears, closed their eyes, and hardened their hearts.

Thus we may say that God hardened Israel, that Israel hardened themselves, and further, that Satan hardened their hearts. “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving” (2 Corinthians 4:4). The “blinding” of this passage and the “strong delusion” of 2 Thessalonians 2:11 KJV, and the “working of error” (2 Thessalonians 2:11, ASV) are all designations of exactly the same condition described here as “hardening.”

The key to understanding lies in the parallel passage of Acts 28:27, which the commentary above describes as “self-accomplished” rebellion. This shows the same dynamic as the “hardened hearts” passages. In the overall context of Acts 28, we don’t see the language of God deliberately blinding them, etc. We see their own choices causing these things. Hence, we see references to “others disbelieved” (28:24); then the Isaiah passage is cited, but in a milder fashion, followed by “Let it be known to you then that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen” (28:28). In other words, these hearers would not listen. It was their fault; they were rebellious. God didn’t cause that.

Likewise, here is how Jesus put it in Matthew 13:13, 16: “This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. . . . their eyes they have closed . . . But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.” If one looks at the larger context of John 12:37-40, one can also see that it is man’s rebellion, not God’s foreordination, that causes the disbelief and wickedness:

John 12:37, 47-48  Though he had done so many signs before them, yet they did not believe in him; . . . [47] [Jesus] If any one hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. [48] He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.

Jesus lying

Jesus was wrong when he predicted an imminent end: “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened” (Matthew 24:34). The end of the world obviously didn’t happen in the first century. . . .

This may not be a deliberate lie like we saw from God but rather a false statement, but the result is the same when it comes from an omniscient being.

This is an old chestnut of anti-theist atheist polemics. A plausible explanation (where Jesus would be referring both to His hearers’ generation and the end times) is explicated by Glenn Miller at the wonderful Christian Thinktank site:

[W]hen we notice the structure of the ending in Matthew and Mark, we see how some of the items lay out.

The ending has four points:

    1. The lesson of the fig tree (Mt 24.32-33; Mk 13.28-29; Lk 21.29-31) [e.g. “Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door.”]
    2. The “this generation” saying (Mt 24.34; Mk 13.30; Lk 21.32)
    3. The “heaven and earth will pass away” saying (Mt 24.35; Mk 13.31; Lk 21.33)
    4. The “no one knows the hour” saying (Mt 24.36; Mk 13.31; not in Luke)

Now, the Lesson of the fig tree (Point 1) can only be a reference to the destruction of the Temple/City. It draws a distinction between “all these things” and “it is near”–all these things cannot logically then contain the 2nd Advent [which is the “it” in “it is near”-cf. D.A.Carson, EBC, in. loc.; and William Lane in NICNT (Mark):478: “They (all these things) cannot refer to the celestial upheavals described in verses 24-25 which are inseparable from the parousia (verse 26) and the gathering of the elect (verse 27). These events represent the end and cannot constitute a preliminary sign of something else.”]

With this “end” of the end-time continuum being identified in Point 1 (as the “these things” question of the disciples), Jesus then solemnly announces WHEN this ‘beginning of the end-times’ will occur–within that generation (Point 2). With this, He has answered the initial question of the ‘these things’–the immediate historical context of the question of the destruction of the temple.

He then turns (in point 3 above) to describe the “other end” of the end-times continuum–the destruction of the universe (cf. 2 Peter 2.10: But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.). Here Jesus is pointing back to those descriptions of the very end, as in Mt 24.29: “Immediately after the distress of those days “`the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ and Lk 21.25f: On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. He points out that the Great End will be certain, as the continuance of His word is certain (yes!).

And then we have Point 4–the comment that no one but the Father knows the time of the Very-End. [The subsequent parables by Matt in 24.42ff and Luke in 12.39ff, which use the ‘thief’ image, connect this piece–via the 2 Peter quote above–with the Great-End, and NOT with the destruction of the Temple.]

So we have a reasonable structure for the ending sequence-(Point 1) pay attention to the beginning of signs; (Point 2) some of you will definitely see these beginnings; (Point 3) the Big-End pointed to by these signs will surely come; and (Point 4) but none of you can know when (with the implications that are immediately drawn in several of the texts to watchfulness, faithfulness, and industry.)

Thus, [F.F.] Bruce summarizes the same conclusion reached here . . .:

Jesus, as in Mark, foretells how not one stone of the temple will be left standing on another, and the disciples say, ‘Tell us, (a) when will these things be, and (b) what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?’ (Matt. 24:3). Then, at the end of the following discourse, Jesus answers their twofold question by saying that (a) ‘this generation will not pass away till all these things take place (Mtt 24.34) while, (b) with regard to his coming and ‘the close of the age’, he tells them that ‘of that day and hour no one knows…’ [Hard Sayings of Jesus, IVP, 1983, 229-230]

This would yield a very nice Hebraic parallelism:

 (A) Pay attention to my words–they come before (pre-announce) these things–the beginning of the end-times (destruction of Temple)
(B) When will it occur?–You know when, within your generation
(A’) Pay attention to my words–they outlast that day–the ending of the end-times
(B’) When will it occur?–No one knows when (except the Father)

(“On…was Jesus mistaken about this 2nd Coming?”: 10-22-96)

For related in-depth analysis of this general subject matter, see my papers:

Debate with an Agnostic on the Meaning of “Last Days” and Whether the Author of Hebrews Was a False Prophet.

“The Last Days”: Meaning in Hebrew, Biblical Thought

God is untrustworthy

In a recent post, I noted that God bragged that he had deliberately given his people bad laws:

So I gave them other statutes that were not good and laws through which they could not live; I defiled them through their gifts—the sacrifice of every firstborn—that I might fill them with horror so they would know that I am the Lord (Ezekiel 20:25–6).

As always (shown by multiple analogous examples above), the primary causation of all this is man’s rebellion. It’s no different in this larger passage:

Ezekiel 20:8 But they rebelled against me and would not listen to me; they did not every man cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt.

Ezekiel 20:13 But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness; they did not walk in my statutes but rejected my ordinances, by whose observance man shall live; and my sabbaths they greatly profaned.

Ezekiel 20:16 because they rejected my ordinances and did not walk in my statutes, and profaned my sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols.

Ezekiel 20:21 But the children rebelled against me; they did not walk in my statutes, and were not careful to observe my ordinances, by whose observance man shall live; they profaned my sabbaths.

Ezekiel 20:27-28 “Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: In this again your fathers blasphemed me, by dealing treacherously with me. [28] For when I had brought them into the land which I swore to give them, then wherever they saw any high hill or any leafy tree, there they offered their sacrifices and presented the provocation of their offering; there they sent up their soothing odors, and there they poured out their drink offerings.”

All that expressed, we also see the pungent Hebrew literary expression of God “giving them up” to their sins (cf. Micah 5:3; Acts 7:42; Rom 1:24-28; 2 Thess 2:11).

Since God has lied to us in the past, what’s to stop him from doing it again? . . . That’s the problem when you lie—now we can’t trust you about anything.

As I have shown, none of these alleged “lies” has been sufficiently proven . . . But Bob continually lies about God, Christianity, and Christians. That has been shown in these 35 refutations of mine.

Which of God’s current laws is also a deliberately bad law?

It was simply a sarcastic literary device. This is what Bob (along with the vast majority of anti-theist atheists) doesn’t grasp. But Bob gives the basic idea of the true meaning of the passage in citing 20:26, having to do with child sacrifice (very similar to our abortion today). Keil and Delitzsch elaborate:

It is perfectly self-evident that we are not to understand by these statutes and rights, which were not good, either the Mosaic commandments of the ceremonial law, as some of the Fathers and earlier Protestant commentators supposed, or the threatenings contained in the law; so that this needs no elaborate proof. The ceremonial commandments given by God were good, and had the promise attached to them, that obedience to them would give life; whilst the threats of punishment contained in the law are never called חקּים and משׁפּטים . Those statutes only are called “not good” the fulfilment of which did not bring life or blessings and salvation. The second clause serves as an explanation of the first. The examples quoted in Ezekiel 20:26 show what the words really mean. The defiling in their sacrificial gifts (Ezekiel 20:26), for example, consisted in their causing that which opened the womb to pass through, i.e., in the sacrifice of the first-born. העביר כּל־פּטר points back to Exodus 13:12; only ליהוה , which occurs in that passage, is omitted, because the allusion is not to the commandment given there, but to its perversion into idolatry. This formula is used in the book of Exodus ( l.c. ) to denote the dedication of the first-born to Jehovah; but in Ezekiel 20:13 this limitation is introduced, that the first-born of man is to be redeemed. העביר signifies a dedication through fire (= העביר בּאשׁ , Ezekiel 20:31), and is adopted in the book of Exodus, where it is joined to ליהוה , in marked opposition to the Canaanitish custom of dedicating children of Moloch by februation in fire (see the comm. on ex. Ezekiel 13:12). The prophet refers to this Canaanitish custom, and cites it as a striking example of the defilement of the Israelites in their sacrificial gifts ( טמּא , to make unclean, not to declare unclean, or treat as unclean). That this custom also made its way among the Israelites, is evident from the repeated prohibition against offering children through the fire to Moloch (Leviticus 18:21 and Deuteronomy 18:10). When, therefore, it is affirmed with regard to a statute so sternly prohibited in the law of God, that Jehovah gave it to the Israelites in the wilderness, the word נתן (give) can only be used in the sense of a judicial sentence, and must not be taken merely as indicating divine permission . . .

He hardened hearts to steer people away from the right path.

He did not, as I explained in depth, in two papers.

He demanded that Abraham sacrifice Isaac and then revealed that it was a ruse.

This is sheer nonsense, as I have also explained.

Sure, an all-powerful god can do whatever that he wants, but this god has shown himself to be untrustworthy.

In Bob’s fantasy world, this “god” has. But in the real world, where one must reason and present facts (and must subject one’s arguments to cross-examination and scrutiny), Bob has consistently failed to establish this.

Am I an atheist because God hardened my heart?

No; according to the Bible, rightly understood, it’s because he has hardened his own heart.

If so, why do I deserve hell when it was God’s doing?

It wasn’t His doing, as I have shown again and again. If Bob spends eternity in hell, it will be because of his deliberate obstinacy; his choice (that God allows him to make). It won’t be because of God, Who desires that none perish. Among many other things, God is providing these refutations of mine, to show Bob how he has greatly erred, and to provide him a way to reverse his rebellion and to repent and freely receive God’s offer of grace and salvation, by faith in Jesus Christ.

But, as we have seen, Bob ignores them. That’s how many folks are with regard to God. They simply ignore Him and go their merry way. Then at Judgment Day they finally get serious about the most important things in life, and (being atheist naysayers) accuse God of being unjust and not having adequately revealed Himself, etc. The time to repent and change one’s life is now: not at Judgment Day, when it’s too late.


Photo credit: Shinobu Kaitani (2005): Liar Game (ライアーゲーム) original manga logo. [source] [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]

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