Many Christians read the Bible literally. Therefore, whenever it says “God said…”, these Christians take what follows as the literal words out of God’s mouth. As I blogged through the Bible looking for Jesus last year, I found that even Christians who are moving away from reading the Bible literally still have a hard time understanding passages that say “God said…”
Most Christians struggle with questioning what God supposedly said in the Bible. However, we should ask the question “Did God really say…?” when we realize that men (and perhaps women), just like you and me, wrote the Bible. I think all of us today could find many instances in our lives when we thought we heard God but in retrospect it was our own self that we heard. Therefore, the men (and perhaps women) that wrote the Bible often heard there own their own voices when they thought they heard God.
Asking the question “Did God really say?” is hard for so many people because of their conception of God. He’s all powerful and all knowing. Therefore, if this perfect book says this is what the all powerful and all knowing God said, then that is what he said. The problem is the term God is too nebulous. It is not concrete enough for us.
So, what is a possible solution to make God more concrete so that we can better discern if what God supposedly said in the Bible is something that he would really say?
Simply substitute the word “love” for “God.” We can do this because love is not simply an action that God takes or an emotion that God feels. God is love. Love is God’s very essence, his very being.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was manifest among us, and that God sent his only Son into the world, so that he might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abide in God, and God abides in him.” – 1 John 4.7-16
God is love. This was revealed to us in Jesus Christ when he died for our sins on the cross. This supreme example of God as love is much easier to get one’s mind around than the amorphous, nebulous term God.
So, let’s look at a few examples from the Bible where we replace “God” with “love” and see if we think it is still something that God really said.
“And Love said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” – Genesis 6.13
Does destroying all flesh on the earth sound like the love that Christ displayed on the cross?
“So Moses said, ‘Thus says Love: “About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt, and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on the throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the cattle.”‘” – Exodus 11.4-5
Does killing all the firstborn in a land sound like the love Christ displayed on the cross?
“But Love said to Moses, ‘Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book?'” – Exodus 32.33
Does blotting out sinners, in effect annihilating them from existence, sound like the love that Christ displayed on the cross and in his life?
“And Love said to Moses, ‘The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.'” – Numbers 15.35
Does stoning someone to death sound like the love Christ displayed on the cross?
“And Love said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid of them, for tomorrow at this time I will give over all of them, slain to Israel. You shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.” – Joshua 11.6
Does killing all the people in a city or land, which is an act of genocide, sound like the love Christ displayed on the cross?
“Moreover, is it without Love that I have come up against this land to destroy it? Love said to me, ‘Go up against this land and destroy it.” – Isaiah 36.10
Does destroying an entire land really sound like the love Christ displayed on the cross?
In addition to what God supposedly said, we replace “love” for “God” in passages that claim God did or will do certain acts to see if those reported acts are really something God would do.
“Love will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me. Love will make the pestilence stick t you until he has consumed you off the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Love will strike you with wasting disease and with fever, inflammation and fiery heat, and with drought and with blight and with mildew. They shall pursue you until you perish. And the heavens over your head shall be bronze, and the earth under you shall be iron. Love will make the rain of your land powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you until you are destroyed.” – Deuteronomy 28.20-24
Keep reading all of the curses God will supposedly bring on you for disobeying you and ask if yourself if that sounds like the love Christ displayed on the cross.
We could go on and on with verse after verse of things that are attributed to God that make no sense when we think of them coming from love. If you still think love could do these things, then I have to question your understanding of love and your understanding of God, perhaps even your sanity. Frankly, if you love does these things, then it is quite likely you have been brainwashed, which simply means to make someone adopt radically different beliefs by using systematic and often forcible pressure or a bring controlled by a method of systematic indoctrination. By the way, when being brainwashed, the one thing that system of indoctrination strictly forbids is asking questions such as “Did God really say…?”
To be clear…
God is love.
Love does not kill anyone.
Love does not stone someone to death.
Love does not commit genocide.
Love does not heap curse upon curse upon curse on someone.
God, or Love, does not do many of things mankind claims he does.