Is God the greatest criminal of all time?

Incendiary question for you true believers perhaps, but not without merit. If God is omniscient and all powerful, then he stands by and watches children starve (among other atrocities). That sounds criminal to me. Do you remember the recent case where the guy watched while his friend murdered a child? I can’t remember the specifics but the state where it happened enacted a “samaritan law”, to force people to intervene if they found themselves in a similar situation. Symbolic claptrap but about all they could do at the time.
If God is omniscient and all powerful, the argument that he doesn’t keep children from being killed because we were given free will and all that nonsense just doesn’t wash. If he is omniscient then he would place children’s well being above the grossly ineffectual autonomy of humanity. Placed in a hierarchy of importance, children’s lives would be more important than a self imposed rule which kept him from intervening in our affairs. How savage.
Maybe he is all powerful but not omniscient. It is a lot to keep track of, even on this tiny planet. Or maybe he is omniscient but has to grimly watch and hope for the best while we run amuck. What do you think? Should God be on death row?

If you are addressing this question to true believers (I am not one), you would probably be coming up against this sort of logic: criminal by whose standards?

God, being the all powerful creator, gets to make the rules. One of those is that he (sic) supposedly gave man (sic) free will.

The question is for anyone. By whose standard would it not be criminal to stand by and watch children be killed if the observer could keep it from happening?

Well, this does assume god exists.

Here’s a fun activity. Go up to your local priest/bible nut. Pop the following question: “If god loves all his children, then why do bad things happen to good people?”

Exactly. I can’t sort it out. There is a part of me that really wants all that Pollyanna “you’ll be saved, just be good” bit to be true, but the parts don’t fit. I challenge God to a wrestling match. We can broadcast it on Fox. I’ll donate my winnings to the Children’s Fund. I’ll beat the holy water right out of him.

You don’t know if something is yours unless you let it go. God gave us free will to see if we love him. If he messed with our free will he couldn’t really know if we love him. That is why there is evil in this world. All of those who starve and are oppressed will be in Heaven with God. Read the Beatitudes.

Seems pretty shallow to me. “I am a jealous God”. Whoa! I can’t get behind that. How can I pray to someone morally inferior to me? (And I am average. Neither saintly or without “sin”. Oh, that’s right. I was born “wrong”).

Right. By the definition of free will, God must allow a person to kill a child because to stop him would interfere with his free will. He may hope that we change our minds, but He can’t stop us if we choose to do evil. His job is to punish/reward us in the next world, not this one.

Why does God allow famine and pestillence? I’ve heard a couple of different answers on this one:

  1. God does not punish individuals as much as he punishes a whole group of people for their Godlessness. In the Old Testament, God was always sending down Very Bad Things to visit upon the vaarious groups of people that pissed Him off in some manner or the other. He is no respector of persons.

  2. As a challenge to see how the people will treat one another in adversity. Will you share your last piece of bread with your starving neighbor?

  3. God has no hand in famine or disease. They are created by nature and the environment. God does not intervene to save or smite . . . he merely watches and punishes/rewards how people react to them in the next life.
    Why do bad things happen to good people? Well, hell, why do good things happen to BAD people? As I’ve heard it explained in a couple of ways:

  4. God does not MAKE things happen, good or bad. They just happen. God watches us, but He watches from a distance. He does not intervene in the daily affairs of man.

  5. As punishment, and not necessarily for YOUR sin, but possibly for the sin of your family. God was really big in the O.T for raining down punishment, not only on you, but your children, and your children’s children.

  6. As a test, much as the Great Job Challenge.

  7. God only sends good. Satan is the one who sends bad to try to turn your heart bitter against God.

  8. God kills or “takes” those He loves the most because he wants them to be with Him. One of my teachers in Christian School decribed this as almost a form of mercy killing. “Maybe God knows tht you’re going to face something horrible later, and wants to spare you that pain, so he takes you now.”

  9. It was just your time to go. God has set a date on which you’re supposed to die even before you were born. Since you didn’t get hit by a bus, or fall off a cliff, He had to whack you with the cancer stick to get the job done.

Your right its a incendiary question. He is all powerful but not omniscient.

i pretty much agree w/ lissa. God is all seeing and very very powerful, but he did give everyone the right to choose evil or good. as for Him being a criminal? nah, i dont think so, (not that it would really be possible for Him to be tried) He gave us all a choice to live our lives as we deem it and face the consequences later. besides, life would be incredibly boring if every time something wrong happened God came down and fixed it. (its like how parents dont intervene w/ their kids when they know that they are doing something bad. the kid has to figure it out for himself/herself what was so bad, or else they wont grow)

Bear with me here. . .

If God is omnipotent (all-powerful) couldn’t he make himself omniscient(all-knowing)?

Assuming that God is omnibenevolent, that he loves all his creatures equally, wouldn’t he want to make himself omniscient so that he could see and prevent harm from coming to them?

So God himself then, doesn’t have free will. . .

Communist China? Seems fairly Godless to me, at least no version of a western God really has much of a foothold there. Further, are we to believe (since I know the whole issue of Chinese Christians will come up) that every single man, woman and child adversely affected by the 10 Plauges or the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah were completely Godless themselves?

Does a benevolent God test his children like that? Isn’t such a test capricious? Cruel?

God can destroy entire cities, turn rivers into blood, and kill each and every firstborn in Egypt but a simple arctic high pressure mass is too much for him? Why did God create germs? Virus? How omnipotent is the creator of everything supposed to be?

Again, if he has the power to intervene but stays his hand that robs God of either his omnibenevolence or his free will.

Under this theory how is each soul judged? By his own actions or by the actions of his family? What about a man who comes from a family of criminals or Godless roots but turns his own life around to become something good? Doesn’t killing him rob him of his free will and, at the same time, rob God of his?

Again, an all-powerful, loving God doesn’t need to test his children. And as to Job - sure it worked out good for him in the end, but what about his first seven sons? Killed just to test the father

An all-powerful god could prevent Satan from ever rebelling. An omniscient god would be aware of Satans work on earth. An omnibenevolent god would not, if it was in his power, allow Satan to exist (as a bringer of evil).

What about the pain that this inflicts upon those he doesn’t “take”? What does God do to spare them the pain, if he loves them so completely? Does God choose? What about people who live through great pain? Does God simply not love them enough to spare them the pain?

Again, this proposition robs God of his free will, and calls ours into serious question.

This is a tough issue and one that has been debated for, well basically, ever :slight_smile: I’m not trying to attack anyone, just asking questions based on other things that I’ve read. I’m honestly interested in hearing your responses.

Is there Biblical backing for free will?


Well, Leviticus 22:17 - 25 makes numerous reference to “freewill offerings” brought to the temple as gifts to the Lord. :slight_smile:

Deuteronomy 22:23 is more what you’re looking for I’m sure:

Good questions, JDeMobray!

In certain circumstances, His hands are tied. Once He has made a covenant, or promise, or rule (whatever) He can’t back out of it. God cannot lie, and renegging on a deal would, essentially, be lying. If He has given us free will, to interfere with our choices would be breaking his end of the deal: to let us do what we wish, and deal with us in the afterlife.

Hell, would YOU want to live in Communist China? Some would consider their economic status as punishment enough.

That’s where proposition number 1, the No-respector-of-persons clause comes in. God punished the nation as a whole for their sin . . . worshipping other gods and all that. it’s implied that the nations’ national policy was the worship of Baal, and God accordingly punished the nation, because the people living there approved of it, or didn’t leave when the King announced that attendance at the Great Baal Fest of 500 B.C was compulsory. They just sort of went along with it. The Bible is none too clear on the subject, so this is just my WAG.

Does a benevolent God test his children like that? Isn’t such a test capricious? Cruel?


No one ever said that God was a nice guy. His definition of “cruel” might differ greatly from ours. Being omnipotent might cause him to distance himself from human suffering, because he has never experienced suffering before, himself. He might understand it, but it doesn’t mean much to him in the grand scheme of things.

He really doesn’t do that any more. After the birth of Christ, God sort of laid off the fire-and-brimstone routine, because of Jesus’ mercy toward man. Jesus is basically like a lawyer. The Judge may want to throw the book at you, but a good attorney will talk him out of it. Jesus stays God’s vengance because Jesus paid for the sins of the world on the cross. So the sin has already been paid for, thus God does not punish in this world the way he used to in the Old Testament.

Viruses and the like are much like the thorns of the earth, put here by God after the fall of man. After Adam sinned in the Garden, God decided to make it difficult on man, rather than pamper him in the lap of luxury as he had done before. Much like when your children are old enough, you send them out on their own to try to make it in this world through the sweat of their brow. You might be able to support your children all of their lives, but you want them to try to make it on their own, no matter how hard it is for them. We pissed God off, and now he doesn’t protect us from the pitfalls of this world.

(And this also ties in with my next response, so I’ll quote it as well)

God did not kill the sons in the Job story, Satan did. God simply took away his protection from Job and allowed the devil free reign. Mean to Job, yes. This was not really a test of Job, when all is said and done, but a bet between God and Satan. When God won and Job stayed faithful, God rewarded him.

No one ever said that God was not cruel, but again, his definition of cruelty might differ greatly from ours. He sees our tears and anguish as temporary. As an ever-living, immortal being, our lives must seem to him as brief as a leaf falling from a tree to the ground. We may suffer on earth, but that suffering is a means of refining our souls, much as smelting seperates metal from its impurities. We may wee now, but to god, we cry but for a moment in comparison to Heavenly joy in eternity. Our lives are insignificant compared with eternity, as are our griefs. Assumably, we will be reunited with our departed loved ones forever in Heaven where there will be no more tears.

Well, I’ll quote * South Park * for this one: “Without evil there can be no good, so it must be good to be evil sometimes.”

In Biblical theory, angels once had free will much as humans. Lucifer, or Satan, decided to rebell against God because he wanted to be the Big Cheese himself, and not just a lowly angel. Half of the angels revolted with them. God won, of course, and kicked them out, creating hell for them to reign over. Afterward, God reconsidered his free-will-for-angels experiment and now they are his creatures entirely without any will of their own. This of course, implies that God can make a mistake, or to pre-destination fans, that he knew all along that Satan would rebell, and it was all part of his Master Plan to have both good and evil for man to choose between.
This is really fun! My Christian school education finally coming in handy . . . I never woulda thunk it.

Well, according to the bible, God is the greatest mass murderer of all time. After all, he murdered all human beings with the deluge except for Noah and his clan. A God of love, you say? What kind of God is this?

Thank you :slight_smile: Although I realize now that I forgot to capitalize ‘He’. sigh

Does an omnibenevolent God give His subjects free will? Why would He choose to put us in a position to do evil, if He loves us, and assuming that He doesn’t want to/enjoy our torment/punishment?

China is thriving right now, economically. Thanks in no small part to us. But that wasn’t the point of the question- i.e. Why Sodom and not China. You answered that point later though.

I’m again missing how this demonstrates God’s unqualified love for all his creatures. Are we judged as a nation? A family? Or are we judged as individuals?
Further, this idea is kind of disturbing considering how many Christians here in the U.S.A. seem to believe WE are becoming a Godless society. Where is the cutoff point? When should I change my travel plans? :slight_smile: Seriously though, if the U.S.A. were to adopt a State Atheism, would everyone in the U.S.A. who wishes to be saved have to leave? Would living under such a regime automatically make you, in God’s opinion, an acceptable casualty?

Either God is omniscient, and thus knows what it is to suffer without himself having suffered, or he isn’t. I’m not satisfied with the idea that he sort-of is. Further, I would ask why a god who doesn’t think tests of that sort are cruel can be considered

Why did God punish that way during the Old Testament? Did he love people less then? Can Jesus’ wishes be contrary or opposed to God’s? Which one of them can then be considered to have imperfect desires?

Where your analogy rings false to me is the idea that God sent them out into the world to make there way. Sure. That’s good. But to then release virus, plague and death? Isn’t that like buying your children a car, then cutting the brakes? Again, it seems a bit viscious, and seems to run contrary to God’s love.

Doesn’t this seem even worse? Job, his sons, and the assorted other people affected used as nothing but toys in a cosmic dice game between God and Satan. Assuming, by your own admission, that Satan has free will, doesn’t it seem likely that he was performing his own version of the Milgram experiment? Asking God to forgoe His moral beliefs in order to earn a prize.

This came up before, and I sort of breezed over it. Let me give you now, my thoroughly unqualified opinion. God has better damn well not be cruel. First, if we accept the possibility of a cruel God, the question we have to then ask is “How often is God lying to us?” What if God decides to torment us for no reason? We suffer through it, in the promise of a heavenly reward, but at the end of things God says “Oh yeah, sorry, just kidding about that heaven thing. Like I’m really going to put away my favorite toys.”
Second, and more importantly, if God is cruel, why should we love him? If God is capable of evil, how is he different than Satan? Couldn’t a cruel God be considered the source of all evil and suffering?

Again, to an omniscient, omnibenevolent God, isn’t one moment of tears THAT HE COULD PREVENT too much? Why would he willingly choose to inflict that on us?

Pardon me if I’m not immediately willing to take my philosophical advice from a cartoon devil. (I do love that soundtrack though, and that’s my favorite song :))

Why create Hell for them? Satan, and the other rebellious angels are now for ever cut off from both God and his love, like the souls that are sent to hell. Again, is this just God being cruel rather than simply “fixing” what went wrong with Satan? What about the angels who did not rebel? They lose their free will, despite their love and obedience to God. Is this some kind of a portent of our own destiny?

Speaking directly to the Master Plan idea. Do the ends justify the means? If creating evil in the pursuit of final goodness is allowed, then doesn’t that also raise a few disturbing questions?

I agree. Much more fun than the other thread I was reading today. :slight_smile:

I’d imagine you’d have a hard time finding somebody willing to serve the notice. Actually, G-d was put on trial once by some Chasidim in Poland? Maybe Hungary. If I remember correctly, the court ruled in His favor.

Man, you’re good at this . . .

The Bibke says that God cannot look at evil or sin, which is why he turned His face away from Christ when He hung on the cross . . . Jesus was covered in the sins of man, which of course has to be a LOT of sin. So, God will not be watching us roast like little piggies in hell. Hell is a place devoid of God entirely, filled to the brim with sin, so God cannot even look at it.

The Bible does seem to have “rules” that God follows. Stands to reason that He laid down these rules Himself, and is committed and obligated to follow them.

Today, due to Jesus’ sacrifice we are judged as individuals. God no longer punishes nations in the manner he used to.

He wouldn’t destroy us, per se, but he would remove his blessing from us. Some Christians believe that America’s success is due to the blessings that God has bestowed upon us for being a “Christian” nation, and our support of Israel. If the state religion were the to become the worship of, oh, let’s say David Hasselhoff, God would no longer bless and protect us. God would not punish you in the afterlife for not renouncing your citizenship and getting the hell out of Dodge, but he would punish you if you went along with the crowd, and worshipped David, even if only to keep your neighbors from disliking you. He, the jealous God, would resent that, even if you didn’t really mean it.


I think God has an academic understanding of suffering, much the way I know how horrible it must be to starve to death. I think maybe that God thinks of suffering as a way to make us stronger. If we can thank God for His blessings at the peak moment of our worst crisis, then we are truly faithful to Him. Again, though, or suffering must seem infantessimal to Him, and if my theory about God not interefering is correct, then maybe he looks down with pity. I was told that God will not necessarily solve your problems, but he will send you the strength to deal with them.

Back in the Old Testament days, when you sinned, you were required to take a sacrifice to the Temple. It was to be an unblemished lamb which you would kill and burn to atone for your wrongs. People and nations that were punished were not following this rule.

Then, along comes Jesus, the Lamb of God. His sacrifice was the ultimate sacrifice which paid for all of man’s sins in one fell swoop. Now God no longer needs to punish, because the sins are already paid for.

No, becaue firstly, they are pretty much one and the same, and secondly, they are both perfect.

That last part gave me a chuckle. Yes, it does seem pretty harsh, but maybe the viruses and plague were part of God’s origional creation, but did not affect humans until the fall of man. I dunno . . . I’m guessing here.

Yeah, it really does seem that way. I really can’t explain this. But maybe God doesn’t find it morally wrong to test us, or allow bad things to happen. Who knows?

Cruelty in of itself may not be evil. God sent His armies into “heathen” countries, and ordered his servants to kill everyone, except of course what women one wanted to marry.

He cannot be “kidding” about the heaven thing, because God cannot lie. If He gets bored, I’m sure he’ll make another earth. Which, actually my teachers speculated that there might have been before we came along. God tells Adam and Eve to go forth and REplenish the earth . . . which implies that it was plenished before, and they needed to start all over again.

God is not capable of evil. He cannot even look at sin, thus cannot sin himself. Perhaps we are supposed to see his cruelty and the bad things that happen to us as refining and strengthening, not as a cruel vistitation by God.

Perhaps He doesn’t chose to do anything. Fate, chance and circumstance royally screw us, and while he pities us for our suffering, he doesn’t do anything about it.

I take my dog to the vet. He gives her a painful shot, and she looks at me, yelping, most likely thinking, “Why is my Mommy allowing this to happen? Why doesn’t she do anything? Doesn’t she love me?” She doesn’t understand my reasons, much as we cannot understand the reasoning of God.

You cannot MAKE someone love you. Love cannot, and should not be forced for it to be true. The angels that sided with Satan did not love God, and God did not wish to make them do so. He created man, gave that gift of free will to them, and stripped the angels of it. Do the angels love God now? I don’t know. They are His servants, perhaps, and nothing more, and maybe God would rather have love from his new creation, man, and not his employees, the angels.

Yes, it does . . . but we cannot know the mind of God. Perhaps there is no Master Plan, after all, and God has just rolled with the punches all along, and is just watching earth like a giant ant farm. It’s easier to explain pain and suffering if we go with the idea that God watches us from a distance and doesn’t intervene. Is it the right explanation? Again, we cannot know.

Jeeze, you ask hard questions!!! :slight_smile:

*Originally posted by Lissa *

What if we worshiped David and still supported Israel? Also, is G-d sort of upset with us for the whole seperation of church and state thing, and the founding fathers being deist thing?

Well, but the other peoples and nations didn’t need to follow that rule, because they didn’t receive the Torah, right? Also, what happened during those times before Jesus when the temple wasn’t around, and you therefore couldn’t sacrifice there? Wouldn’t that be awkward? Also, what about me, now? I don’t believe Jesus is G-d. Are my sins forgiven anyway, or am I still stuck with sacrificing? If I am stuck, what should I do, seeing that the temple isn’t there?