God For a Day

Boxing Day is an interesting holiday, widely observed across what was once the British Empire. Generally held on December 26th, it is a day when the wealthy would traditionally give gifts to their employees or to people of lower social classes. More interestingly, the wealthy would often trade places with their household servants for a day.

What better way to observe this holiday than to trade places with the boss of all bosses? Let’s take a little time to just imagine trading places with God.

We’ll use the most common Christian view of God as omniscient (knowing everything), omnipotent (being able to do anything), and omnipresent (being everywhere at the same time).

The Great Fruit Debacle

In the beginning You create the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1). You go on to create everything according to the primitive conception of the world that the authors of Genesis held, and then you create it a second time in Genesis 2. In Genesis 2, you perform your first and possibly most evil act.

Like babies off a cliff

This story is like setting your two little babies near the edge of a cliff, telling them “don’t crawl off or you’ll die”, and then leaving them alone.

After saying this you just watch, silent and out of sight, while one of your older and more knowledgeable children goads them into crawling off the edge of the cliff one at a time and falling to their deaths. This would be an easy task since the babies couldn’t possibly understand the meaning of your words.

Once they’ve both fallen, then you go down to see their shattered bodies on the rocks beneath and you say “You stupid babies, I told you this would happen! Now that you finally understand what I already knew, I won’t let you live even though I could save you. In fact, I will make you suffer before I let you die. Better yet, I’ll make every living thing in the world suffer and die, and I’ll blame it all on you. Now go away.”

You create Adam, you create the Garden of Eden, and then you create “the tree of knowledge of good and evil”. You stick the tree right in the middle of the garden, and then you tell naive Adam (who can not yet know the meaning of good and evil) not to eat from that one tree or he will die.

Ignoring the fact that Adam could not have comprehended death in this deathless world, and the fact that he could not have understood the “evil” of disobeying your command, what possible reason could you have for putting this tree in the garden!? It could have gone outside of the garden, and it would never be a problem, or it could simply not exist, but you chose to put it there.

The only reasonable explanation for this is that you knew exactly what would happen, you intended Adam and Eve to eat the fruit, and you are as guilty of instigating this mess as a police officer entrapping a mentally challenged child. You knew what would happen, and you set up the circumstances to allow it to happen, and you never stepped in to prevent this outcome when the serpent tempted Eve.

Being omniscient and omnipresent you must have seen it, and being omnipotent you could have stopped it or at least reminded them not to eat the fruit, but you just sat there and watched them destroy the world with a bite of fruit.

You didn’t stop Eve when she put the fruit to her lips, and you didn’t stop Adam when she offered it to him. You didn’t forgive them or repair the damage, you became afraid of them and you set us all on the endless trail of horrible suffering and death that still plagues the world to this day, just because you were angry and afraid.

Not only did you punish the entire world forever for the mistakes of Adam and Eve, you set the whole thing up knowing exactly what would happen. If anyone is responsible for “the fall of man”, it is you.

Mmmm…Burning Flesh

Once you’ve kicked Adam and Eve out of Eden, Eve starts having babies and suffering through the painful childbirth you inflicted on her and all of her descendants (Genesis 4:1-2, 3:16). She has Cain and she has Abel.

The first thing worth mentioning that happens in their lives is that they each bring an offering to you.

Cain is a farmer, so he brings “the fruit of the ground”. Abel is a rancher and he brings you the fat little firstborn baby animals from his flocks.

Cain brings the products of his farm to you, probably burning them for you as is the later custom, but you are not impressed. You don’t seem to have told people yet that you prefer sacrifices that bleed, cry, fear and feel pain.

Abel soon finds this out though when he brings the innocent little baby animals and kills them and burns them all just for you. There’s no reason for him to slit the throat of that cute little lamb, there’s no need to bash in the head of the calf he’s just dragged away from its mother, no reason that is other than your desire for all kinds of animals to be killed and burned for you, apparently just because you like the smell (Genesis 8:21, Exodus 29:18, 25, 41, Leviticus 1:9, 13, 17, Numbers 28-29, etc.).

So you let them know you don’t like Cain’s sacrifice, but you sure are happy with Abel’s! After all there is nothing you love more than the smell of the burning flesh of animals needlessly killed just for you. It’s so great in fact that you spend more verses in the Bible talking about how burning flesh is “an aroma pleasing to the Lord” than you do about the creation of the entire world!

Cain just can’t understand this. He’s angry and confused because Abel’s offering made you happy and his didn’t. So what do you do? Do you clearly explain to him what you want and that you still love him and you’ll be happy when he comes back and kills and burns helpless baby animals for you? No, you say something cryptic about how he would be accepted if he did well and then you leave.

You don’t calm Cain down so he won’t do anything crazy, you don’t save Abel from being murdered by his brother, you just set up the conflict and watch it unfold. There seems to be a pattern here: You cause trouble, you watch it play out, and you punish whoever’s left standing.

So Cain goes out into the fields with his brother and talks to him, and then we’re not sure what happens. Maybe Cain is still just mad and already planned to kill his brother, or maybe Abel laughed at him because God didn’t like his sacrifice? Whatever the reason, Cain kills Abel.

Of course you show up at this point, late again, but being omniscient and omnipresent, you were hanging around and watching the whole thing anyway. So you get mad at Cain and you kick him out of the place that you kicked Adam and Eve out to, and Cain (the only living person yet mentioned in the Bible after Adam and Eve) runs off to live in Nod.

Apparently Adam and Eve had enough female children to go out and build the city of Nod, but you must have thought they were not worth mentioning in your Bible, probably because they were female and you view women more as chattel, the possessions of their fathers or husbands, than as valuable individuals (Genesis 19:1-8, Exodus 20:17, 21:4, 7-11, Numbers 5:11-31, 30:1-16, 31:17-18, Deuteronomy 20:14, 22:13-21, 22:28-29, Ephesians 5:22-24, Colossians 3:18, 1 Timothy 2:11-15, 1 Peter 3:1, etc.).

So Cain goes to Nod and takes a wife, who would also have to be his sister, and they start having sons. Eve has another son, Seth, to replace Abel, and Seth has a son to finish up Genesis Chapter 4. If any of them have daughters, apparently you don’t care.

Once again, in this second tragedy the Bible describes, you have instigated the whole thing and done nothing to prevent the tragic outcome, but you have still convinced people to believe that you did nothing wrong. Bravo God, bravo.

The Rest of the Bible

So far we have only covered the first couple of pages of the first book of the Bible, but you have already created the world and engineered its demise, as well as inciting one of only four humans in the world to murder one of the other three and then you just watch it happen.

After a long list of Adam’s descendants in chapter 5, in chapter 6 of Genesis there are already half-human half-angel hybrids roaming the land (Genesis 6:1-4), and you already regret creating people (6:5). You decide this was all a big mistake and you should wipe out all life on Earth (6:6-7) which you do in chapter 7. You only spare 8 people along with 2 of each other unclean species of animal and 7 of each clean one.

This means that you kill nearly every man, woman, child, infant, dog, cat, cow, sheep, elephant, frog, bird, beetle, tyrannosaurus rex and every other species that has ever lived on this planet. Even if we discount the deaths of millions upon millions of innocent animals, how many people do you kill here? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Millions?

As soon as you’re done with Noah, in Genesis 11 you get scared that people building a tall tower will actually reach heaven, so you go down and change their languages so they can’t understand each other and you scatter them all over the world. At least you refrained from killing everyone for once, but that still isn’t nice, and isn’t all this fear unbecoming for an omniscient and omnipotent being?

The Bible goes on and on like this, book after book. You tell a Satan to torture Job, kill his whole family and take everything from him just to prove that he will still worship you. This is what the whole book of Job is about!

Here are just a few more of your many murders and commands to enslave, murder and massacre individuals, cities and even whole nations.

  • You command the Israelites to kill everyone in their way, every man, woman and child in many cases (Deuteronomy 3:1-7, Joshua 6:20-21, Judges 21:10-24, 1 Samuel 15:2-3, etc.).
  • You tell them to wage genocidal campaigns against the Babylonians, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites (Jeremiah 50:21-22, Exodus 23:23).
  • You condone slavery (Exodus 21:1-11, Leviticus 25:44-46, etc.).
  • You ask Abraham to kill and burn his own son as a sacrifice to you (Genesis 22:1-18).
  • You kill 70,000 people because King David conducts a census (1 Chronicles 21:9-14).
  • You kill a baby for the sins of its father, again King David (2 Samuel 12:11-14).
  • You kill all of the firstborn sons in Egypt to convince the Pharaoh to let your people go, but you don’t hurt the Pharaoh himself (Exodus 12:29-30).

This is just a small sample of the horrors you perpetrate in the Bible. Are you ready to go back to your “sinful” human self yet?

What would you really do?

If you were God, what would you do with the world? Would you help, or hurt? Would you create and responsibly maintain an earthly paradise, or would you continually set people up to be hurt and killed and fail in the most horrible ways?

This little role reversal is done in a humorous way, but it is intended to make you think seriously. Religious apologists will always be able to come up with some twisted exegesis to explain away the horrors of the Bible, but if you carefully read the entire Bible and honestly ask yourself each time God says or does something, “would I think this was right and good if I did it?”, you will find yourself answering “no” a disturbingly large number of times.

This idea will be scoffed at by many Christians because “we can’t know the mind of God”, but even our limited minds can see problems in the words and deeds of the Bible’s god. These are problems that do not appear less severe to more intelligent observers, they only become more abhorrent and disturbing when we see them as being done by a god who knows everything about everything and can do anything he wants to do with the universe.

In this light, the god of the Bible is a monster.