My thanks to Gabriel Hays and Fox News for sharing the New York Times opinion piece from their guest essayist, Shalom Auslander, a man who, apparently is either confused, ignorant of the truth or he is a very hurt, angry man needing to vent.
The timing of this article is impeccable, if not ironic, as the three major religions of the world – Christianity, Judaism and Islam – celebrate this weekend major focal points of their religions, namely, the resurrection of Jesus Christ for Christians, Passover for Jews and Ramadan for Muslims. What better time is there to discuss ignoring and eliminating God than at a time when much of the world wants to focus on Him?
Auslander wants to kill the idea of God because he believes God to be “hateful” and “full of brutality”. For him, God is someone we should stop paying attention to because God is no better than the Russians for what they are doing to Ukraine.
Perhaps you at Fox News will consider and print a different perspective.
Auslander wants to kill the idea of God because he believes God to be “hateful” and “full of brutality”. For him, God is someone we should stop paying attention to because God is no better than the Russians for what they are doing to Ukraine. For Auslander, what Russia is doing is eerily similar to what God did to Egypt in the Passover.
Being 50% Jewish myself (my father was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family), I must ask whether or not Auslander is accurate in his conclusions about what God did to the Egyptians or is he missing the major point of the story? I believe the latter to be true.
The Biblical narrative from the Book of Beginnings (Genesis) to its end, the Book of Revelation, is consistent with the theme that the Triune God, Elohim (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), is a loving, compassionate, merciful, just, righteous, caring and holy God, just to name a few of His attributes. Auslander’s dilemma is in trying to rectify this kind of God with a wrathful, hateful brutal God who wipes out the “innocent and guilty” through a series of plagues.
It is here Auslander makes at least two mistakes in his assumptions. The first is his belief that God wipes out the innocent with the guilty. The problem with this belief is wrapped up in the thought that anyone is innocent before a holy, just and righteous God. One of the points of agreement of all three of the world’s major religions is that there is not now, nor has there ever been, any human being after Adam and Eve who can claim innocence before God. All have sinned. All have fallen short of God’s perfection. The only exclusion to this is Jesus Christ, who Christians claim to have been the perfect, sinless God-Man who came to earth to take away the sins of the world through His life, death and resurrection.
The point of the plagues in Egypt wasn’t God’s wrath but His willingness to give the nation multiple opportunities to turn from their rebellion which was evidenced by their replacing Him with gods they had created and worshiped. Every plague represented another so-called god the Egyptians worshiped who was exposed through the plague to be no god at all.
The issue wasn’t hate. Instead, the issue was of a loving, righteous and just God giving people who were not paying attention to Him multiple opportunities to rid themselves of false gods and return to the Creator. It was the Creator God trying over and over and over again to get their attention. Instead, they replaced Him with gods that were not gods, including their government, represented by Pharaoh.
And that takes us with Auslander back to the garden of Eden and Adam and Eve. Let’s be clear: God did NOT throw Adam and Eve out of the garden for eating an apple or whatever the fruit was. God had to remove Adam and Eve from the garden because they broke faith with Him, they disobeyed Him, and replaced their relationship with Him to believing His archenemy, Lucifer (satan) instead. When they did this, they literally unleashed hell on earth. They gave Lucifer legal authority over the human race to increase evil, hatred, pain an unimaginable brutality by changing our nature from being pure and God-directed to impure, self-centered and controlled by evil. It didn’t have to be that way but it was the love of God that gave Adam and Eve, and every human since, the freedom of choice as to whom to follow and how to behave. And every one of us, except Jesus, chose someone or something other than our Creator God. And our hearts became evil in the process.
That leads us to Auslander’s final incorrect conclusion. Is God really so hateful, vengeful and brutal that he cursed “all women for all eternity because of Eve’s choices”? Absolutely not! A good look at the Hebrew language surrounding the curse of Eve (and all mankind) versus the curse on the serpent (satan) is of immense importance here.
When Eve was “cursed,” when Adam was “cursed” they were curses of consequences for their beliefs that led to disobedient behavior and lack of trust in God and His instructions. They chose their own desires instead. They became gods unto themselves. But God shows his love to the human race in that the “curse” on mankind is redeemable. It is a curse that can be fully paid for and removed. The curse on the serpent (satan), however, is an unredeemable curse. It is eternal.
So, how is the curse redeemed? Who is the Redeemer? God Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ! This is the story of Easter!
“But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us”Romans 5:8 AMPC
The Bible is clear when it says, “But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us” (Romans 5:8 AMPC). A good rendering of “sinners” here means every one of us are by nature hostile enemies of God.
So, Auslander completely misses the point. The evil in the world is not because we are emulating a hateful, brutal God. The evil in the world is because we humans, at our core nature, are so corrupt that even the best of us cannot measure up to the purity of the love and perfection of our holy, righteous Creator. It has nothing to do with emulating God. It has everything to do with emulating God’s enemy, Lucifer, aka the Father of Lies. This has been the issue throughout the ages. The good news is God is willing to change all that by changing us.
Auslander’s belief, then, that the world would be a much better place without God or the concept of God is really missing the point that the world is in the state it’s in precisely because too many of us are already living as if what Auslander is true. Too many of us completely neglect and pay no attention to God. The results in the world speak for themselves.
To say, “The idea of killing gods is an idea I can get behind,” is probably a good idea. Let’s not be like the ancient Egyptians and continue to replace the God of the Universe, the God who loves us enough to come to earth in human flesh to redeem and restore us into a right relationship with Him, with gods of our own making. Let us not be gods unto ourselves. Let us return to the God of our fathers, indeed, the God of our nation’s Founding Fathers.
As you reflect on the Cross of Good Friday and the empty tomb on Resurrection Sunday, let’s see God for who He really is – loving, compassionate, merciful, holy and just. He is our Great Redeemer. And, for that, let us give thanks.