Contradiction Tuesday: Is God Good to All, or a Few?
Today, we introduce the second feature new to Josiah Concept Ministries: Contradiction Tuesday. Each Tuesday, I will discuss an alleged contradiction in the Bible and why it is not, in fact, a contradiction.
Barring specific reader requests, I’m working off of Jim Merrit’s list of biblical contradictions from the Secular Web. I’ll start at the top and work my way down. No skipping.
So, unless I specify that Contradiction Tuesday comes from X or Y reader, then assume I am continuing with Merrit’s list.
Yesterday, I explained why Merrit’s rebuttals to specific replies are silly. Now, let’s look at a specific contradiction and see if it really is a contradiction:
The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. (Ps 145:9)
And I will dash them one against another, fathers and sons together, declares the LORD. I will not pity or spare or have compassion, that I should not destroy them. (Jer 13:14)
Let’s first hammer out “good.”
The objection centers on the unspoken contention that punishment is bad, and if God punishes someone then God is not good.
But that’s ludicrous.
When God tells Abraham of the impending destruction of Sodom, what does Abraham object to? Not to the destruction of the city. Not to the punishment of the sinners in it (it’s already established that Sodom is wicked; see Gen 13:13). Abraham objected to the punishment of innocents, challenging God rhetorically: “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” (Gen 18:23).
God is, in fact, good to everyone regardless if they happen to deserve his goodness. Let’s look at a couple of examples, starting with Job’s astute observation that God does allow evildoers to flourish:
Why do the wicked live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power? Their offspring are established in their presence, and their descendants before their eyes. Their houses are safe from fear, and no rod of God is upon them. Their bull breeds without fail; their cow calves and does not miscarry. They send out their little boys like a flock, and their children dance. They sing to the tambourine and the lyre and rejoice to the sound of the pipe. They spend their days in prosperity, and in peace they go down to Sheol. (Job 21:7-13)
Jesus confirms: “For [God] makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mt 5:45), the context of that making it clear that it is good in the eyes of God to treat all with the same respect and impartiality (as he does).
Therefore, God is good to all — whether they accept or reject him. He prospers the wicked, as Job laments, and he allows all to enjoy the fruits of this world.
Somehow, in the eyes of the skeptic, God eventually punishing these wicked is not considered “good.”
On what planet?
Does that mean that if a human judge repeatedly lets murders and rapists go free without prison time that he is “good?” I’d hardly say so. I’d think that he’s apathetic, and so would any of these skeptics. Somehow, when God executes justice on the unholy, the skeptics think that he is a big meaniehead, but when a human judge is tough and ruthless to deserving individuals he is lauded as just.