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    April 19th, 2012 @ 4:26 pm by Kevin

    Derek Flood is not a prolific blogger–unfortunately–but everything he posts is worth a read. I just came across this piece today, in which Derek wrestles with how to defend the Bible without having to defend the “disturbing divine behavior” within its pages. Derek’s solution is as simple as it is insightful. But it’s sure to rattle some cages. An excerpt:

    It is frankly hard to imagine anything more morally abhorrent than smashing a baby’s heads against rocks, or committing genocide in God’s name. Such actions are simply and always categorically unjustifiable. It would be hard to conceive of something more self-evident than this. In fact, the only reason one would even think to question this is because of an a priori belief that biblical commands override conscience. When the Bible helps us challenge and deepen our moral vision and character this is surely a good thing, but when it leads us to abandon our most basic notions of morality, something has gone horribly wrong. The fact that so many biblical commentaries continue to attempt to justify the biblical genocide accounts reveals a profoundly disturbing disconnect between biblical scholarship and ethics.

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  1. This is pretty cool, especially for me, since God has been showing me this very same thing the past few weeks; how He is developing a people, not just individuals. Individuals, yes; but even more, a people.

  2. I have one question. When you (plural) read 1 Samuel 15, do you then say, “Whoa, that was so wrong of God!”, or do you say, “Whoa, I don’t believe the Bible anymore!”, or do you say, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty!” It has to be one of those.

    Before one can begin to “reconcile passages like these with the God revealed in Jesus who commands us to love our enemies,” I think you first need to answer my question. Some may be sad to hear this but reconciling the two depends heavily upon the substitutionary death and resurrection of Christ.


    • Ted: I don’t think your list of options is comprehensive. One could also say, “Whoa, is there anything Samuel could tell Saul that he wouldn’t do?” or “Whoa, what would possess Samuel to attribute such horrific commands to God?” or “Whoa, if someone came to President Obama today and told him God had just ordered him to carry out the genocide of an entire people group, would any of us really believe those words came from God?” or “Whoa, I wonder what we’ll see if we look beyond the text of the story to see what the subtext might be telling us?” or “Whoa, this story is a powerful illustration of the destruction that results when we reject God’s authority and make ourselves the ultimate ruler of our lives.” or “Whoa, could you imagine Jesus giving this sort of order to Saul?”

      I could keep going, but I think you can see there are plenty of ways to read the text that still grant it the same authority you give it but don’t put it at odds with Jesus’ teaching to love our enemies. But that also requires a shift in your theory of inspiration. Did every word and action attributed to God in the Scriptures actually come from God, or were they projected onto God to justify some sort of desired human action? Is the literal reading the highest reading, or is there another way to read the text that actually reveals a far deeper and more profound meaning? Evangelicals are trained to think the literal reading is the highest reading, and if someone calls that into question, they are seeking to diminish the authority of Scripture. I would argue exactly the opposite in my case and in the history of the church. Moving beyond the literal reading of this passage–which is a flat contradiction of Christ’s life and teachings–and seeking the deeper meaning in the text actually gives it more authority in my life, because I no longer have to do hermeneutical gymnastics trying to square this horrific action done in the name of God with Jesus’ teachings. It also reminds me that the Scriptures reveal as much anthropology as they do theology. That is, they reveal as much about what’s wrong with humanity as they do about what’s right with God.

      • Where do I hit the like button? Kevin, once again you’re singing my song. What literalists often do is draw false dichotomies because, for them, it’s either literal or it’s wrong.

      • So you believe in a God so impotent that he can’t even get His message across nor His word preserved? You, like the late (and probably damned) Christopher Hitchens and the likes of uber-apostate Brian McClaren sit in judgment of God? He has no right to order babies killed does He? Tell Him that to His face when you see Him. I pity your poor, wretched soul.

        • @David,

          Again a false dichotomy. What if Kevin answered – God could preserve his word but chose to have things this exact way for a particular reason. What if God not getting his message across was because he hid part of it from people for a time? He’s done that too.

        • You want to talk about an impotent God? How about a God who is unable to ultimately overcome evil? All he can do is quarantine it for eternity.

          • Oh, He overcomes evil, alright.
            The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
            1co 15:24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.
            This theme is consistent. He overcomes evil by crushing it. The Lord is man of war.

  3. Mr. Miller, I appreciate your allowing me to post on this blog. this will be my last, so please bear with me.
    I take it you have some kind of ‘seer stone’ like Joseph Smith through which you read the Bible. So when
    2ki 1:12 (says) So Elijah answered and said to them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.
    Your view must say “…and burning sense of low-self esteem fell upon the fifty men and they left, ashamed.”
    I will try one more time to impress upon you the gravity of what you are doing. Instead of warning people to flee the wrath to come, you say there is no wrath…hakuna matata. Thank you in advance for listening.
    How do you know Jesus said ‘love your enemies’ anyway? Isn’t that also in this horribly distorted Bible we cannot believe?
    Setting aside the difference between Old and New Covenants, Jesus spoke of a FUTURE judgment -along with love your enemies: (Matt 13:49-50)
    “So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
    When He says ‘Depart from me, ye accursed…etc.” what kind of spin can you put on that? How can you plainly deny what He taught? You are essentially calling Christ a liar. Perhaps He meant, “Depart from me for a while until you receive some correction, then join us in heaven, hooray!” (You’ve really gotta let me borrow that seer stone sometime)
    As for some of your questions: *If a prophet came to Pres. Obama and said…genocide, etc? We, having the NT, know we are not to kill people (except lawfully in capital punishment). Any such ‘prophecy’ defies scripture and would be ignored.
    *Can I see Jesus giving such a command to Saul? I’ve got news for you…He did! (I and the Father are one). Jesus fried Sodom, Jesus flooded the world, Jesus is coming to destroy His enemies. We cannot avenge, He will.
    Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
    1co 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.
    You and your kind are children in understanding. You don’t like the idea of an angry,vengeful, jealous God so you’ve reinvented Him. You worship and idol. Again, thank you and I really cannot wait to see your movie (though I will probably preach the truth in the parking lot afterward). I will continue to read these fascinating blogs. I am writing a book about a variety of ‘they-should-know-better’ heresies embraced by professing Christians. You, Joshua Tongol and PTM’s Greg Albrecht get your own chapter.
    Tit 3:10-11 A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.
    Jesus’ Top 10 Threats:
    Mt 18:35
    Joh 5:14
    Mt 6:15 (or Mr 11:26)
    Re 21:8
    Mt 23:14
    Mr 3:29
    Joh 5:29
    Lu 12:5
    Mt 5:29-30 (also Mark 9:43-47)
    Mt 25:46

    I know whom I have believed (2ti 1:12), you know who you have invented. Read the interesting-but-not-accurate Old Testament and see what God says about idols and their ability to save.

  4. Not sure whether I have the whole post, but I cannot see a response to David Moore. April 25th
    I am a hopfull universalist, and I would hope you guys have an answer to Davids’ various points.
    I see your general view, but can you deal with the scriptures David has specified.
    I was full of hope for a new understanding after Deric Flood wrote “A Way of Peace”, He demonstrated Pauls change in understanding, not his change in religion. His points did not require any “seer stone”, they were obvious as Deric showed them.
    I hope to see more of these understandings

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