Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Common Objections To The Bible

The following are responses to common modern objections raised to the Bible:

1. "God gave many commandments, but he never gave a commandment against rape."

Actually, he did.  It's a verse that critics of the Bible conveniently tend to ignore and skip over:

"But if the man meets the engaged woman out in the country, and he rapes her, then only the man must die.  Do nothing to the young woman; she has committed no crime worthy of death. She is as innocent as a murder victim." (Deuteronomy 22:25-26, NLT)

2. "Many of the commandments in the Old Testament make no sense."

After God rescued the Israelites out of Egypt, God gave them 613 commandments, found in the Torah (Genesis - Deuteronomy).  These commandments were never intended to apply to anyone but the Jewish people (Exodus 19:3-6, 31:16, 34:27; Deuteronomy 5:1-3).  Many of them were never intended to apply outside of the land of Israel, or in the absence of the Temple (Deuteronomy 12:8-14).  Some commandments were intended to keep them in community with God, others to keep a peaceful and orderly society, still others such as the dietary/purity laws to make them distinct from other nations.  These commandments were intended to set the Israelites apart from the rest of the world, so that they would point the rest of the world to God.  The commandments were never a means of salvation or achievement of righteousness - this is done by faith in God and in his sacrifice alone (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:18-25).

3. "There is way too much violence in the Old Testament."

It is true that sections of the Old Testament are violent.  It is important to note that the Bible does not always approve everything that it records.  Just because there is an act of violence recorded in the Bible does not mean that God approves of that act of violence.  Some parts of the Bible, particularly the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament), are books of history.  The Bible contains many stories where society abandoned God and went wrong, particularly in terms of murder, adultery, rape, polygamy, child sacrifice, incest, etc. (Genesis 29-30, 34; Judges 13-21; 1 Samuel 1:1-8; 2 Samuel 11-13; 2 Chronicles 33:6). 

Critics of the Bible ignore the passages in which people who were usually oppressed and denied their rights in ancient society were given protection under the Law.  The Law offered protection for slaves (Exodus 21:20, 26-27; Deuteronomy 15:12, 23:15-16) and protection and inheritance rights for women - which was a huge deal in a patriarchal society (Exodus 21:7-11; Numbers 27:1-11; Deuteronomy 22:25-26).  Not to mention all of the stories where God expressed his compassion on those who were being oppressed, and rescued people or rewarded them for their faithfulness:

God rescued the Israelites from over 400 years of oppression and slavery in Egypt, where they were being abused and murdered by their slave masters (Exodus 1:11-14, 22, 12:31-42)

God rewarded the midwives who did not submit to Pharaoh's order to murder baby Hebrew boys (Exodus 1:15-21)

God rescued Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego from a fiery furnace; men were plotting against their lives because they refused to bow to idols (Daniel 3)

These are just a few examples of many Biblical stories that show God's compassion and mercy.