December 30, 2022

Recently  I’ve heard the assertion that the God of the OT is a monster and the God of the New Testament is love and never judges or condemns.  Both statements are sophomoric, but anything that’s said often enough is eventually believed by some.  

GotQuetions some good points about God as a moral monster, so I won’t reinvent the wheel on “Part One.”  Please take the time to read this article!

Is God a moral monster?

When a person rejects the God of the Bible, he often chooses to label Him as immoral. Non-believers have been known to accuse God of being hypocritical, selfish, arrogant, judgmental, hateful, and even homicidal—a moral monster. Part of the problem with responding to these kinds of claims is that they require extensive answers. It takes only seconds to ask certain questions but quite some time to give a reasonable answer. This single question, “Is God a moral monster?” is, in fact, the subject of a book by Christian theologian Paul Copan: Is God a Moral Monster: Making Sense of the Old Testament God. And that work is focused on only part of the Bible.

It’s important to realize how deep this topic can be, since a single article could never really do the subject justice. It’s simpler to look at common accusations against God and see how they fail. More specific details are available for those interested in doing further research, and we’ve included links to relevant articles.

Is God Evil?

The first problem with any “moral monster” accusation against God is that it requires a standard of morality separate from God. In other words, in order to say, “God is morally wrong,” one has to define morality in a way that justifies that claim. But what meaningful standard can exist, other than God, for moral principles?

Apart from God, it’s not possible to have truly objective morality. Opinion is not enough—for the claim “God is a moral monster” to be meaningful, it has to be based on some unchanging standard. Ideas such as “suffering” or “human flourishing” are not objective. There is no rational reason for opinions or subjective ideas to be the source of moral reasoning.

So, the first problem with claiming that God is immoral is that meaningful moral claims require God to exist in the first place. Labelling anything “good” or “evil” requires assumptions that lead inevitably to God. This fact is related to the next common objection about divine morality.

Moral relativism

What is the source of morality?

The moral argument for God

Problem of Good

Non-believers often accuse God of being evil. Just as often, however, they indirectly attack God’s morality by questioning the existence of evil. A truly good God, they claim, would not allow evil. More on this later; for now, consider that this approach creates a much larger problem for the non-believer than for the believer. In short, Christians can appeal to concepts such as free will when explaining why a good God might allow for evil. However, the non-believer finds a much more difficult issue when faced with the inverse of the question: why is there such a thing as “good” if there is no God? Why would human beings believe in concepts like “ought,” if everything that exists is the product of blind, purposeless physics? If things either “are” or “are not,” and there is no actual “ought,” then speaking of good and evil is gibberish.

This follows into a stickier problem: why “ought” a person be good, if there is no God or if God is truly a “moral monster”? Remember, if the ultimate measure of morality is some human opinion, then there can always be different ways to interpret that opinion. “Human flourishing” sounds like a great basis for morality until someone conveniently defines certain people as less than human.

This leads to a major instance of hypocrisy. In claiming that God is morally wrong, people are claiming more than a knowledge of a better moral system; they are claiming to be the standard of morality. That claim not only makes their criticism of God’s morals less impactful, but it makes it meaningless.

Atheism and the problem of good

You’re Not the Boss of Me!

Another common accusation is that God is arrogant, selfish, or egomaniacal. God demands worship, He punishes those who disagree, and He even condemns those who insult Him. According to the common line of complaint, a truly “good” God would let people do as they please, without necessarily obeying His rules, and He certainly would not care how they think or speak of Him.

The quickest response to this particular objection is based on the concept of parenting. Good parents don’t let their children insult or disobey them. This is not because the parents are egomaniacs; it’s because they love their children. Even if the kids don’t grasp why, the parents’ rules are for the kids’ good. There are going to be circumstances when a child cannot understand all of the details; he simply needs to know that “Mom and Dad said no.” There’s nothing unreasonable about God’s expectation of obedience, given that He is a loving Father who wants the best for His children and who knows far more than they do. God cannot be fairly labeled a “moral monster” simply because He has established rules that some particular person does not like, does not understand, or refuses to obey.

The accusations of divine arrogance and selfishness also have to be put into perspective. The reason people have a problem with human arrogance and egotism is simple: we know the egotist isn’t perfect. A person’s arrogance grates on our nerves because of our basic knowledge that the egomaniac isn’t actually perfect—he doesn’t have that much to be arrogant about. God, however, is perfect. If He speaks, acts, and rules as though He is perfect, it’s simply because He is. There’s no arrogance or selfishness involved, as there would be in a lesser being. God’s claims of glory match reality.

Further, according to the Bible, God has demonstrated great patience, love, and sacrifice on behalf of humanity (Romans 5:8). The core concept of the gospel is that God was willing to become a human being, suffer and struggle, then be killed by His own creations. He did all of this in order to provide the means to allow mankind to live forever with Him. That’s hardly selfish, arrogant, or egotistic.

Blasphemy is a critical moral concept

Life, Death, and War

Many who accuse God of being a moral monster mention the wars described in the Old Testament. Or they point to the use of capital punishment for certain acts under the Mosaic Law.

The simplest response to these arguments has the advantage of logical strength, although it means little to the average unbeliever. Simply put, if God exists and created life, then He has the authority to decide what happens to that life. He can set the rules, and He can determine the punishments for breaking those rules. If the entire universe is His creation, then “morality,” including life and death, is by definition under His control.

Another response to the charge that events in the Old Testament are morally reprehensible is to place all of those events in their historical and scriptural context. When God commanded war against the Canaanites, for instance, it was not some random act of genocide. This was a culture that had been warned about their pervasive evil for centuries, and the time for God to punish that evil had finally come (see Genesis 15:16).

When God commanded the death penalty in Israel for certain offenses, it was not in the context of a stable, free, modern environment. It was during a time of great danger, instability, and uncertainty. This same principle applies even in modern societies: we punish crimes in proportion to their damage to the culture. In that day and time, what today would be considered “minor crimes,” if crimes at all, were profoundly damaging to the survival of the culture.

Again, the context of God’s commands is important. If God’s plan was to bring the Messiah, the one and only hope of mankind, through Israel, then it’s reasonable that He would take serious measures to protect the survival of that nation.

What does the Bible say about war?

What about when God kills?

What about Old Testament violence?

Free Will vs. Suffering and Evil

Easily the most common attack on God’s morality is the reality of evil. According to this accusation, God is a “moral monster” since He “created” evil—or because He neglects to do anything about evil. Both claims are contrary to reason and evidence, as well as the biblical understanding of God’s nature.

In the simplest terms, evil is anything that contradicts the will of God. There is a tremendous difference, then, between something that God does not will (but that He allows) and that which He directly and purposefully causes to occur. If it’s logically possible for a fallible human being to allow certain things—which he could theoretically prevent—in order to obtain some greater goal, then God can obviously do the same. This is where the concept of free will enters the equation.

The overwhelming majority of human suffering is the result of human activity. More to the point, it’s the result of human sin—either our own or someone else’s. But without the ability to choose selfishness, cowardice, and revenge, there would be no such thing as generosity, bravery, or forgiveness. Love, expressed by a being given no choice but to love, is hollow. Worship from such a being is meaningless.

It’s also untrue to suggest that God has done nothing about evil. Scripturally, there are many reasons to think that God has limited the level of evil we are capable of experiencing on earth (see Job 1:12; 2:6; and 2 Thessalonians 2:7). No matter what boundary God sets for evil, there will always be a “worst possible thing.” The error is in assuming that God hasn’t set the bar for suffering lower than He could have.

Likewise, according to the Bible, God has gone to great lengths to enact a plan to end all evil and suffering. The fact that God’s plan has not been completed—yet—is not logically a sign that God has done nothing. The end result has not yet occurred, but everything is in motion toward that end.

Though the subject of human free will is complex, even a brief examination shows that there are reasons—at least in theory—why God would allow us freedom and choice in this life. That’s especially true when one considers that, according to Christianity, this life is not all there is. What we struggle with and suffer under in this life is not all we are or all we are meant for.

Why does God allow evil?



While this is hardly an in-depth look at the claim that God is a “moral monster,” it should be enough to demonstrate that the claim is much harder to prove than some might think. There are severe factual, philosophical, and logical flaws in making such an accusation against God.

A Christmas Thought 12/2023

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shone.

Isaiah 9:1

A holy day has dawned. A glorious light shines in our world. It is Christmas! What we have prepared for and longed for has finally arrived. The packages have been wrapped and unwrapped, the delicacies baked and enjoyed. The world comes to a wonderful pause as we stop to savor this height of the holiday season. The manger no longer sits empty. The baby Jesus lies on the straw and in our hearts, replacing our longings with hope. We feel a gentleness about the world and in ourselves. As quickly as Christmas comes, for many it is over. Wrappings go in the trash, crumbs are swept away and the decorations come down. It is back to work, back to bills to be paid and life as normal. It is no wonder that January heralds the blues of winter. But Christmas is not over, it has just begun! The incarnation of Jesus is a grace we get to experience over and over. Here is the hope that we need to be able to overcome the many challenges life throws at us. That hope is ours through Christ. Jesus comes into our world with every prayer we breathe. The celebrations do end, and the decorations get put away, but the life of the party remains. May the light of Jesus shine within us and illumine the lives of those around us. May we experience the goodness of God’s grace reborn in every kind word and every helping hand, not just today, but every day. May the light, the hope, the joy of Christmas remain with us alway.

Merry Christmas to you and your Family!

Pastor Scott
I found this in a Christmas folder dated 2012.  No other attributions, so maybe I wrote it?

Bless Me, Indeed! December 9, 2023

Twenty three years ago, Dr. Bruce Wilkinson of Walk Through the Bible,* published a little book entitled “The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life.“  It became very popular, very fast.  Before too long it was a merchandising franchise and became something of a “good luck charm.”     Over time, the phenomenon crossed the line into something of a prosperity gospel and either fell away, or at least, fell out of our circles.

Recently, I found, not the book, but that passage being referenced in an article about stepping out of our comfort zones. 

“And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain. ‘ So God granted him what he requested.”

That struck a nerve!  What if you stick “comfort zone” in place of “territory” in Jabez’s prayer.  We all have places we are most comfortable, and people with whom we are most comfortable, but what if “seeking the kingdom” is out there?  

  • “God, help me to love that obnoxious neighbor who needs You.”  
  • “God, help to love that irritating co-worker who needs a shoulder to cry on” 
  •  “Help me to love that fellow congregant who needs a friend!”

“God, please expand my comfort zone!”

And start with me,

Pastor Scott
*Bruce left walk through the Bible shortly after Jabez, and moved to South Africa

Never Enough! 12.02.22

Men have pursued joy in every avenue imaginable. Some have successfully found it while others have not. Perhaps it would be easier to describe where joy cannot be found:

Not in Unbelief

Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote: “I wish I had never been born.”

Not in Pleasure

Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure if anyone did. He wrote: “The worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone.”

Not in Money

Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that. When dying, he said: “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.”

Not in Position and Fame

Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote: “Youth is a mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret.”

Not in Military Glory

Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept in his tent, before he said, “There are no more worlds to conquer.”

Where then is real joy found? — the answer is simple;

in Christ alone.

Yours, Because I’m His,

Pastor Scott

The list above was assembled in 1993 according to a notation