VJack on Judges, Ruth, and 1 Samuel
Vjack, the proprietor of Atheist Revolution, continues his series on reading the Bible from cover to cover. And so I continue my series which critiques his critique of the Bible. This post finds us on the book of Judges, Ruth, and 1 Samuel.
VJack sympathizes with Gideon when he exclaims,
Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, “Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?” But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian. (Jgs 6:13)
VJack wants to know where all of God’s miracles are today. In a related post, he laments:
The Christian bible is filled with miracles, direct communication between god and man, and tales of god regularly intervening in human affairs. So what happened, Christians? Did this god die, lose interest, go away on a long vacation, what?
A biblical definition of faith in God is loyalty based on past performance, rather than the modern definition of “blind faith.” That implies that this performance is in the past. This means that the Christian shouldn’t require God to perform all kinds of miracles in the modern world because He has already done so many. These are the miracles described in the Bible, especially the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Skeptics like VJack, however, seem to want God to perform miracles on a regular basis just to prove that He’s still there. I’ve seen this argument many times from many skeptics. I propose that God doesn’t perform large-scale miracles anymore because it won’t increase the number of His followers, nor will it convince the skeptics–they will simply look for a naturalistic explanation.
It isn’t inexplicable that God would return to Gideon after Gideon’s “groveling and animal sacrifice.” Before Christ, animal sacrifice was the shedding of blood necessary for forgiveness of sins (Heb 9:22). Gideon is, as Judge of the nation of Israel, repenting of former sins on behalf of the nation. Many Bible stories prove that God is pleased by repentance (see the book of Jonah for a great example with the city of Nineveh).
The intensity of the superstition at this time is so great that human sacrifice is also needed to satisfy the bloodthirsty god created by this ancient people. In exchange for god’s help in his military campaign Jephthah sacrifices his own daughter (Judges 11:29-40).
Now this is just taken out of context. God never asked Jephthah to sacrifice his own daughter; Jephthah spoke a hasty oath, and his daughter’s death was the result of that oath. He made a vow and kept it–but it should be noted that what he did is in direct violation of Mosaic Law according to Leviticus 18:21 and 20:2-5.
Last of all, is it any surprise that God, who demands obedience, is going to punish people for disobeying his commands? The commands that VJack objects to are the commands to kill everyone and everything in the land except for the women who haven’t known a man. There are two reasons for this, and both have to do with preventing corruption. God wanted to prevent physical corruption, and He wanted to prevent spiritual corruption.
At this point, the Chosen People are chosen on the basis of physical descent, not on the basis of spiritual descent as we are today. God wanted nothing to make that line unclean.
The second reason was to avoid spiritual corruption, which if we pay attention to the Bible, we see does happen as a direct result of leaving much of those other cultures in tact. The people turn away from God and worship the other gods, the gods of the people who were spared by them. God, because He is omniscient, would have foreseen that and that is why He issued such a brutal command.