God’s Entrapment and James’ Idiocy

It's one of the worst blunders in the scriptures, and it comes from James, writer of the New Testament. He says: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” (James 1:13)

Studying the New Testament without the blinders of Christian dogma on reveals that James – like that sadly ignorant writer of the gospel of Matthew – had no idea of the things he was saying. James says that God doesn’t tempt men to do evil. God doesn’t want to see us fall. He’s not going to do anything about it if we do fall, but he wants us to prosper, and he’s not going to tempt us to do “evil.”

The abovementioned Bible quote would be nothing but another pious passage, were it not for the fact that James is wrong and that his statement creates a contradiction with the Old Testament. God does for sure try (test, tempt, all good words) men.

Genesis has God tempting a man, his servant Abraham: “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.” (Genesis 22:1)

You remember what happens with the story. God says “Go offer your son Isaac as a burnt offering to me.” Abraham is about to comply when God essentially jumps in and says: “Whoa, buddy! I’m just pulling your leg! If you kill the chosen seed I gave you, there won’t be a way to have all the seed I promised you, but thanks anyway for not thinking and just obeying me without question!”

Abraham was praised for being willing to obey God, but what if he hadn’t gone about to obey God? What if he had disobeyed God? Would that not have been a sin? Of course, it would have. But God was tempting Abraham. He was trying him with a test of faith, a test that could have been to his detriment.

God shouldn’t have needed to test his faith since God knows everything. He already knew when the last time his faithful servant went solo on himself in a tent in Ur of the Chaldees when the wife was on the rag, but God tests him anyway. If God wants to play the game, you’ve got to play it.

So had those Israelites who were commanded to exterminate non-Jews found en route to the promised land been conscientious objectors who refused to “save alive nothing that breatheth” (Deuteronomy 20:16) as commanded, they would have been violators of God’s law. You’ve got to do what God says, no matter what. Those who school girlishly boast “I have a foundation for my morality” should remember that.

A bartender who serves alcohol to a person who is intoxicated can face charges by the deceased’s family if the intoxicated individual leaves the establishment and gets in a car wreck and is killed. It’s called accountability, and it must apply to God too. What we read of God's character should show accountability problems—maybe not for Christians, but for all who think.

God may not want you to fall to sin, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that God causes men to fall, despite what James says. Read Deuteronomy...

“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 13:1-3)

When a false prophet comes and tries to deceive the faithful into idolatrous apostasy, it is to be considered the work of God in that God is testing you to see how loyal to him you are! The text says not to pity the idolater, but to kill him. He is an abomination. Have no part with him. Don’t be led astray by him, no matter how “tempting” he/God is. Get all the people together in ending his life. That is the word of Heaven.

Just think, an eloquent pagan who can do convincing magic tricks, some worshipper of snakes from a temple where the blood of babes is scribbled onto parchment, who uses smooth words to move Israelite households into rebellion against the followers of Moses might have been doing the will of God!

So much for “God doesn’t tempt you with evil.” It’s clearly not true. God will test your faithfulness using an evil false prophet, one so evil that God himself says they should die! How much more “tempting with evil” can God get? God wants you to be faithful, but if you fall prey to wickedness, God is still pure and you are still unjust and dirty. God bears no blame.

Like the words of today’s apologists, James’ words have no real meaning. If he had great knowledge of the Old Testament, he wouldn’t have said: “When you are tempted, God doesn’t do it. God doesn’t tempt with evil.” What he’s trying to say is, “Don’t blame God for your temptations. It’s always you who screws up and gives into them.” But it makes no sense to say that God doesn’t tempt with evil because James, even with prophetic endowment, could not know the limits of God’s involvement in testing every human being.

James’ words are on level with modern statements from evangelistic eggheads, like “God is sinless.” What does that even mean? If God creates all standards of righteousness, then to say that he could ever be sinful is, correspondingly, nonsense. “God had to come in the form of a perfect man to show us how it’s done.” is another clueless statement made by believers. God no more needs to become human than he does have a son. Only a stupid, pseudo-intellectualized, half-pagan, descendant of a lobster-hater would contend otherwise.

(JH)

23 comments:

  1. "God shouldn’t have needed to test his faith since God knows everything."

    Knowing everything doesn't mean you don't participate in the system to bring about the kind of changes you would like to make. In this case, God apparently knew what to do in order to bring about a faithful response in Abraham. And since God wants faithful responses, what in the world does "knowing everything" have to do with it? Mere knowledge isn't going to do anything by itself.

    There are many other angles to take on these passages, but I thought I'd point out this lame one.

    cheers,

    Ben

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  2. Ben, your advantageous explanation is like my own used to be as a believer. I would always say that God was saying "Now I know" is like God being in front of you and saying "I knew you could do it, and now you've proven it!"

    Problem is, the text doesn't say what you're saying. It says what I'm saying. God didn't know - and then he did. Problem!!

    Your "many other angles" on these passages are a joke, like all the "alternative explanations" used by Twebbers and the like who think themselves smart for throwing out "how it could have been" scenarios.

    (JH)

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  3. I meant many other angles for *ridicule*.

    I agree with you in the sense that the type of meta-being that an ontological argument seems to entail would probably have no interest or concerns about human affairs or creating them at all (and that's granting for the sake of argument that it even makes sense to think the ultimate being would be something arbitrary like a mind). So basically everything in the Bible about God is wrong on that basis.

    But if we are granting divine concern and interaction for the sake of argument, omniscience doesn't preclude interaction as I've said and it's a weak way to argue. It's easy enough to assume as many Christians have centuries that the Bible is presenting God's interactions in normal ways we can understand and that we shouldn't take them 100% literally. And if I were a Christian, I wouldn't listen to your objection there. Granted they probably won't listen to any of your objections, but at least I wouldn't expect them ideally to listen to that one in particular.

    That's my two cents anyway. You can do whatever you want with it.

    Ben

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  5. You do have a point here, War On Error.

    Scripture does present God in anthropomorphic terms also expressed in terms of the culture, and understanding of the time. It seems to me that the revelation of God is progressive in nature, culminating in the incarnation.

    I think the center of this story to the ancients was not about why did God ask Abraham to kill his own son, and the morality of this.

    But, it was about the strength of Abraham's trust in God, his reasoning that God could even restore the dead to fulfill the promise of the covenant. The story was also meant to illustrate God's faithfulness.

    I've struggled with the whole Abraham, and Isaac saga too, though, Joe, actually as a young child. Understand.

    The truth is we can only share our subjective thinking about some of this, but are not going to have all the definitive answers this side of eternity. That's for sure!

    For now, I'm goin with James. :)

    But, Joe, you use some pretty strong language. Are you angry? How's come the opinion of the Christians seems so upsetting?

    Maybe I"m just misreading your response.

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  6. You forgot to mention God's tempting Adam and Eve with the best-looking tree in the GOE. That one is sending all of us to hell!

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  7. Grace, the anthropomorphic take doesn't help you here. And the issue of Abraham and Isaac was a side-issue, btw, not what I wanted to focus on.

    What I want to hear from you is how you can resolve the contradiction presented. God saying through James that he doesn't tempt and yet Jehovah using false prophets to "test" people while their lives (and souls) hang in the balance is a problem.

    (JH)

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  8. You're right, Patrick. I have poked fun at that ridiculous story so, so many times, and yet I forgot to even make a glancing blow of a reference to it here. Woe is me!

    (JH)

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  9. Hey, Joe, I"m back.

    I don't really have a definitive answer, either. Not the one to try to resolve this. :)

    But, here's what I think in a larger sense, relating to my own experience. Other Christians might disagree, and that's fine by me.

    I think that the writer of James had such a powerful revelation of the love of God in Christ, that this reality was the thing that conditioned his response, not so much some of these incidents recorded in the OT.

    He was no fool.

    It's the same with me, Joe. My faith is centered in the incarnation. I realize what God is like in seeing Jesus. So, that filters how I interpret, and even value certain portions of Scripture.

    Plus, I'm involved in a Christian tradition that centers not so much in "inerrancy," but instead looks at faith as part of a kind of three-legged stool, comprising Scripture, the overall tradition of the church, and human reason, and experience.

    Obviously, God is omniscient. He literally doesn't have to "test" people to figure out what they're goin to do..(laughing) This is a no-brainer to me.

    It may be that the concept of God's tempting to James is different than what is being suggested in some of these passages, even though on the surface the same term/concept is used.

    Was it these difficult, and perplexing passages in Scripture that led to your loss of faith Joe, or something even deeper, if it's ok to ask.

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  11. Grace, you can't keep hiding in the moderate conviction of "the incarnation," which is a pagan idea. It doesn't answer the difficulties I mentioned.

    And please, please, read my book...THEN tell me you believe in the incarnation.

    (JH)

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  12. Joe,
    I was going insane! At least it felt like I was to me!
    I told my wife it was not fair to force someone into a belief system. And it made no sense either because the person would not be a true believer.
    I came clean and told my wife all I was doing was acting out a play and making up lies just to please her and the far right fundamentalists friends and relatives out of a self preservation system. I attempted to do myself in several months back because of the mental torment seemed too much to live with. I am so happy I survived because now I know if I had been sucessful all I would have accomplished was to give in to the fundie monsters and the rest of the Christian thought police!
    (I am keeping a lot out of the conversation thast is the subject at hand for space sake.)
    I was slipping into a mental breakdown. So I just bared it all before my wife with sincere sobs of torment last week. Suprisingly to me she seems to accept me still. And it seems she is not as religious as I thought she was.
    I started a blog myself and at first it was meant to keep my ID secret. But I found out quickly from my recent life experiences I can not hide my atheism any longer.
    If I have caused any confusion or insulted you in any way due to these last several months' of hell on Earth the fundies put me through I ask for your forgiveness and I apologize to you.
    Joe, I want to thank you for your courage and being an example of how to be forth coming and truthful to break the oppression of the religious ignorant.
    Joe I hope you believe me in my sincere thanks. I will count you as a friend whose advice is wisdom gained from his own personal battles against religious control!
    Dane Eidson (AKA John Doe)

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  13. Dane, your wife loves you for yourself. Thank God.

    Now I'm adding my voice to hers, and telling you as a Christian believer to stop mentally torturing yourself over whether you believe, or not. You don't have to do this.

    Faith doesn't mean the absence of doubt, to start with.

    Do you think any of these folks are truly your friends if they are expecting you to act out a lie to please them? It's purely despicable, and actually reveals their own selfishness, and spiritual immaturity.

    There are people out here who care, and will accept you for yourself. People can love, and respect each other without agreeing about every spiritual, and philosophical issue that comes down the pike.

    Why not find a competent counselor, and try to sort some of this out?

    Your life is precious!!! Hang in there, Dane.

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  14. Grace,
    Thanks for your concern.
    As far as believing in a god I will offer an analogy through a question: If you are sitting in a chair do you need faith to know you're sitting in a chair or do you look at the evidence that proves a chair is there?

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  15. Definitely would also look for evidence, Dane.

    My church traditionally teaches that we should use reason/experience, as well as the witness of Scripture, and church tradition to inform our faith.

    God definitely expects us to also use our mind. So, I don't have a problem with critical thinking, and exploring honest questions, and doubts. It seems spiritually healthy, and normal to me.

    On the other hand, I don't think we can empirically prove God in a test tube, either. Until the parousia, our faith has not yet become physical sight, so to speak :)

    Dane, peace, and every blessing to you, and your family. Your wife sounds like she is an awesome person.

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  16. Grace, do you believe your God would lie to you and misinform you and purposely be deceitful against you?

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  17. No, Dane, of course not.

    Can you explain to me further?

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  18. God said he said he made light and day and night on the first day. He didn't bother making the Sun and the stars until the fourth day!
    This we all know is an impossibility and a lie!
    God says he made plants on the third day. But the Sun was not made until the fourth day! Again,it is impossible for plants to live without the Sun so God lies again!
    And God fit millions of animals into a wooden ship! How about that?? Did the elephants get freeze dried and placed in shoe boxes or is this most probably another goat herder's tale from the bronze age? God lies again!
    The birth story of Moses was palgarized from the tale of the the birth of Sargon, an Akkadian monarch from the 3rd millennium BCE. How about that? Go9d is not only a liar but even steals the stories of others and claims them for himself! Can we say deception?
    Jesus believed a man was in a fish's belly for three days and came out preaching later! Based on the thousands of more absurd statements just as bad and even worse than those above, Grace you say God would never lie or deceive you!
    I guess the next logical thing to do would be to pick up serpents and drink poison! Jesus said no harm would come to you! Have at it!

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  19. Whoa, Dane, I may not be able to respond to all this in one setting.
    Appreciate your patience.

    I'm thinking part of the difference in our faith, and understanding might lie in a differing view, and interpretation of the Scripture. I'm a committed Christian believer, but not really a fundamentalist.

    To my mind, the Bible was not given to us to ever be a modern day, authoritative science textbook written in technical terms. If it were, would it have still made sense, and spoken to folks even in pre-modern time?

    I would interpret the Genesis account of creation as poetry, like an allegory that expresses deep truth, but not in a literal sense, for some of the very reasons that you've expressed.

    How can we have light before the creation of the sun? How can there be 24 hour days expressed before the sun?

    Is God a man to literally stroll in a garden in the middle of the day? It seems to me that God is being expressed in anthropomorphic terms, here.

    This is not a new idea though in the church. As far back as St. Augustine, there was feeling that certain parts of Scripture should be interpreted in an allegorical fashion depending on the material, and context.

    This does not mean to me that God is lying.

    I want to add that there are many scientists/theistic evolutionists who are also committed orthodox Christian believers.

    Have you ever read anything by Dr. Francis Collins, or Dr. Kenneth Miller? They've written some really good material about science, and the Christian faith.

    It seems to me that the central truth expressed here in Genesis is not that someone took a chunk of a piece of fruit, but that despite being made in the image, and likeness of God, we chose cooperately, and individually to go our own way, rather than God's way. We became alienated from Him, and from each other.

    And, the center of our faith is that God loves us, and that He acted in Jesus Christ to redeem us, and the whole of creation.

    More later, Dane, about some of your other comments, but I have to go for now.

    Is your son back from Iraq, Dane? I know that you were so concerned for him awhile back, and I had been praying.

    My middle son is serving right now in Afghanistan. He is slated to come home in April. I miss him terribly.

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  20. Hey, I'm back, to pick up where I've left off. I'll just keep on going, and respond to your comments the best that I can.

    In the past, I've studied with people, believe or not, scientists with graduate degrees from Harvard who were special creationists.

    They probably would have an explanation for your concerns relating to the number of animals in the ark. Perhaps something like only the very young of species were included, or not all the members of a particular genus.

    But, Dane, again, I'm thinking that this flood was probably more of a local thing, perhaps universal from Noah's perspective, though.

    There are flood myths that are found in every culture. I think there is some similarity between this account in Scripture, and parts of the Gilgamesh epic.

    I'm not familar with any myths surrounding Sargon, so I"m not able to comment about this directly. But, I do think we have to be careful in assuming that because there are similarities in ancient stories, that one was arbitrarily borrowed from the other, or that neither can be historically true in any detail.

    I mean there are plenty of ancient tales relating to the virgin birth of various pagan gods, to give an example. The mystery cults are replete with stories of dying, and rising gods used by the ancients to explain the cyle of the seasons.

    But, does this mean, Dane, that the Biblical account of the virgin birth of Jesus, or His resurrection are simply borrowed, or reworked from these pagan sources.

    I personally don't think so, and while I'm able to discern crude similarities, I also can see some very significant difference.

    Not sure where I stand concerning the story of Jonah, and the great fish. Many Christians believe this story is simply a Jewish folktale used to illustrate truth, nonetheless, but not literally true.

    I don't want to limit God, Dane. Certainly the Lord could perform any miracle. I know some people do point to the story in the gospels as showing Jesus must have interpreted this story as being literally true.

    I'm not certain of this. It's entirely possible for someone to use an allegory to still make a point of comparison.

    As far as I know this story in Mark relating to serpents, and poison was not part of the original ending of Mark. It's not actually found in the oldest extant manuscripts.

    I can tell you that I'm not about to participate in a rattlesnake round-up anytime soon. :)

    Dane, let me share honestly with you. I have a step-son that I dearly love who is a fundamentalist youth preacher, soon to be chaplain.

    He has this view that if one error can be found anywhere in the Scripture this somehow means that God is a liar. There seems to be no real understanding of the human element in the writing, and recognition of the Bible.

    It's as if his faith could collapse like a deck of cards if one mistake or irreconcilable contradiction could be found. To me, this is like a spiritual train wreck about to happen.

    I certainly think we should take Scripture seriously, as an suthority to the faith, and practice of the church. It is a witness to us of Jesus Christ, and the resurrection.

    But, to my way of thinking, and frankly, I think to most of the Christian church, this doesn't mean that the Scripture is a perfect book, dictated by God, dropped down from Heaven.

    We surely need to also consider the culture of the time, and realize that not all parts of the Bible are equally valid for us today as Christian believers, or meant to be always interpreted in the most literal sense.

    To me, the Nicene creed is the essential statement of faith for the entire church. We can agree to disagree about tons of these other issues. Our unity together is in the gospel.

    Dane, I know Jesus Christ as my Savior, and Lord, and I can't begin to tell you the difference He has made in my life over time.

    I'll give all this back to you, and if you might have a few words of advice in how I can best reach out to my step-son, I'm certainly all ears.

    God bless you!!

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  21. Grace,
    You make no logical sense.
    How can you look to the Scriptures as an authority of faith when there is clearly so many errors in both the Old and the New Testaments?
    Would you contract with a business to repair your home if that business made things up, clearly had a suprious background, whose contracts were copied and pasted from the internet, who exagarrated their claims of preformance? Yet you believe in the scriptures whose claims of Jesus Christ were clearly plagiarised from much earlier mythologies, whose books exgaratted the claims of Jesus with each succeeding text, and conflicted and disagrred with the claims of witnesses and etc.

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  22. Dane, how have you become persuaded that the witness of the gospels concerning Jesus was simply and arbitrarily borrowed from other pagan sources, or His claims exaggerated with every succeeding text?

    Can you share some specific examples of concern to discuss?

    Hey, don't worry about spelling. It's content that's important anyway. And, there's always spell check. :)

    My weakness is math. I'm lucky to have gotten through high school Algebra 1.
    Shivers thinking about it.

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