I’ve had this phrase stuck in my head since last night. It sounds blasphemous, but I promise, I have not fallen off the deep end.
This thought has come to me from a few different directions. One thing that started it was a rather nasty string of comments under a Christian Movie review of Left Behind (the terrible 2014 one.)
Commentater: Good question! The Christian God is fond of punishing the sons for the sins of the father, so maybe the baby would just be born in a shit world?
Boy, these people sound embittered.
I hope it’s okay to quote them anoyomously, since comments are basically anyoumous. I ahve no idea who these people are.
And I don’t want to attack them personally. They simply sum up an idea I’ve seen before; and I have asked myself, if God is good, then why okay such things?
Even in Christian’s personal relationship with God, he can do things that seem terribly cruel. Just read Job.
The cruelty of God has been summed up by one lady who said “If this is how you treat your friends, I can see why you have so few.”
And in nowhere have I seen it better handled (outside of the Bible) than in that underrated book Hinds Feet on High Places. (I mean, maybe it’s not underrated, it might be too specific to be widely popular.)
In that story, Much Afraid is asked to sacrifice the human love in her heart, a love that it rooted in every fiber of her being, and it hurts terribly to do this.
Another good book for the subject is “The Great Divorce.”Though C. S. Lewis is not one to humor delusion. He shows quite clearly why the things we cling t are bad for us.
But the cruelty of God is simply this:He demands of us what is most precious, and were are most invested in, the very thing we built our life on, staked our hopes and dreams one, and would die for, HE demands us to Give UP…or, if we won’t, often He takes it from us.
Job said “The Lord gave me what I have, the Lord has taken it away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”
I’ll need to split this post int two parts to properly cover my point, so in this one, I will focus on the charge against God and how it might be answered, and the next one, I will lay out why I think God might have a few things to say of us in return that could shift our perspective.
But like all humans, I have a limited view of things, and there is likely more to it than I can say.
So, first of all, the Charge that it is cruel for God to take children or parents away. As made by the commentators above, and millions of other people through time.
Why is it not made by Job? he was not wicked or rebellious against God, God pronounced Him righteous in fact. Satan is the one who accused him, God let Satan take away even his children.
Job says “God gave me what I have, God has taken it away.”
God’s response at the end of Job is much the same. “I made all this, can you make these things? Then why do you question my right to do as I wish with them?”
God in his humility sometimes deigns to explain things to us, but we demand explanations when we should instead just be thankful for them. Why should God have to explain Himself to us?
The simple fact is, God owns everything…so how can he take it?
It is our problem that we stupidly imagine we own anything in this world that he has not let us have.
I don’t expect this to comfort a bereaved person. Only someone with faith already developed can find comfort in this knowledge. But it still stands. For comfort, we must focus on God’s kindness and patience.
And it is there. Few deities allow themselves to be questioned. Most pagans would not dare to do so of their smaller gods. It is because we first do not believe in God, and second, know that he will not strike us for questioning him, that we take advantage of that freedom.
The charge that it is cruel to kill children for their parents sins is somewhat more serious. That has to do with justice, not ownership.
Not many people like the idea that parent’s own their children in the West. Though at the time the Bible was written, it would not have been questioned. Until you were married, you belonged to your parent. Marriage was the great liberator. Boy, how perceptions have changed.
God later promises that will no longer be the case, but the reason it ever was it a little more complicated.
It has been scientifically proven that some sins or tenancies to sin get passes down to the 4th generations, which is how far God says he will punish. According to the Bible, the unfortunate outcome of Adam sinning was that sinning became genetic. Our bodies carry the mark of it, as well as our souls.
I do things I’ve seen my parents do, you do too, if you have kids, they copy you.
Frankly, God could punish children just as easily for what they do was for what their parents do. God does not punish innocent people, but if you are already guilty, then family guilt will be added to personal guilt, and in the end, which it is does not matter nearly as much as we pretend it does.
God does not say he will kill the children for their parents sin, by the way. Frankly, no one even in our present time would think it strange if the child of a known criminal or tyrant tried to make amends for what their parent did, we would think it stranger if they didn’t care. And in some cases, the law might even hold them to that.
There were times when children dies for their parents sin. Well, there was two times that come to mind. Only in one case was the child innocent that we know of. And that was David and Bathsheba’s first child.
David does not blame God, he accepts that he will see his son in heaven. It is not, strictly speaking, the child that was punished. David lost the joy of raising him, (he was an affectionate father, we know–maybe too much so,) but the child was not worse off. If anything, going straight to heaven is a reward.
I suppose again, the problem here is if you have no faith, that is cold comfort.
There isn’t much I can say about that. Any defense of God, is first, unnecessary, and second, only sensible if you believe in Him.
Paul said you have to believe that God is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. That he is good, in other words.
That’s all I can cover now, but in part two I’ll break this down more–until next post, Natasha.