God Sues the Bible

"God Sues the Bible" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“God Sues the Bible” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

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Some people have a hard time accepting the truth that their God and what the Bible says about their God are two totally separate things.

Seriously, changing our thinking about the Bible and about the God(s) it represents is one of the most challenging but liberating experiences we can go through.

Try it.

SHOP

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22 Responses

  1. Caryn LeMur says:

    If god did not evolve, then, at least the narrative about ‘god’ did evolve within the Bible.

    The ‘gods’ the Bible represents….. The God that Creates becomes the God that is willing to destroy all mankind with water.

    The angry Tribal God that demands much… evolves into the God that selects Kings based on their heart; to a God that protects His remnant; to a God that ‘so loves the world that He gives His Son… not to condemn the world, but to save it.

    And then Paul writes that there is only one Law that matters to Jesus, that is, to ‘bear one another’s overburdens, and thus fulfill the Law of Christ’.

    The Law of Christ is something that an Orthodox believer can do, or will not do. Same for the Fundamentalist, the Charismatic, the LGBT-affirming, the Anglican, the Presbyterian, those that follow Jesus outside of the institutional church, those in para-ministries…. even those that are outside of the faith… as evidenced by the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

    And, when Jesus said, “He that does the will of my father, is my brother, and my sister!” then… the concept of the family of believers must evolve, as well.

    It does bother me that the ‘picture’ of god evolves within the Bible, by all means.

    But… where the final picture ends…. is stunning, open, kind, and beyond any doctrinal wall of separation.

  2. I believe in spiritual evolution, and therefore theological evolution.

  3. purvez says:

    If god’s suing the bible then who is the judge I’d like to know, please?

  4. Caryn LeMur says:

    Purvez: I think that we, the human race that has read the Bible, studied it, and loved (some to all) of it… we are the judge.

    We are the referee that hears the arguments from both attorneys – the one representing God, and the one representing the Bible.

    We are the ones that wrestle with ‘is God fully defined by the Bible?’ or ‘is the Bible only showing a small fraction of God?’

    We are the ones that wonder how the Bible’s ‘canon’ came into being… and study the rejected letters and gospel narratives… after all, the character of God changes based on your canon.

    We are the ones that carefully listen to the arguments of ‘God’s character’ based on the Bible, vs His/Her character based on observations of creation, the ‘wisdom that cries out in the marketplace or among the elders’, or the insights from other religions.

    I would offer, borrowing from the words of Jesus, that the person that refuses to ‘make trade with their given wealth (talents)’, is the one that faces the harshest judgment from Jesus.

  5. terri jo says:

    Thanks Caryn, your insight and faith is helpful to me, a neophyte follower of the greatest servant ever, Jesus. Where in the Bible is the passage “make trade with their given wealth….”?

  6. Brigitte says:

    I would suggest that Caryn and NP are arguing that human beings sit in judgement of the scripture and God, or rather “god”, since a God whom we fix to our understanding can’t really be “God”. This is in order that God cannot sit in judgement of us. We have cut him down to size. Like we like to cut down the law to size. Something we can keep. On top of that: those who do not want to do that even “face the harshest judgement from Jesus”. This is the Jesus who does not actually ever judge anyone, when we talk about him on other occasions. Anything to make things fit our own liking and bolster our self-image.

  7. Brigitte says:

    Richard Swinburne is coming to Edmonton in three weeks to talk about atheism vs. the Christian faith. I am just looking up some of his videos. At the moment here, I would recommend this short one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1fwwCEZrtk

    How do you compare competing revelations?

  8. Brigitte: You’ve made the leap the cartoon challenges. You leap from the fact that we “are arguing that human beings sit in judgement of the scripture and God” so that “God cannot sit in judgement of us. We have cut him down to size.

  9. Brigitte says:

    I am not sure what you are saying NP.

  10. What I mean is you give the impression that to judge the word of God is tantamount to belittling him, equating the two.

  11. Kristin says:

    Personally I think an awful lot is explained by simply giving up the idea that God is unchanging. Even the bible shows us that is not so. If God is our heavenly parent then tell me which good parent is unchanged by their child’s growth? In my experience God is deeply invested in our growth, in ourselves and in relationship. How can this be an unchanging God? S/he has grown with creation and humanity.

  12. Nice Kristin. Reminds me of what is called “process theology” birthed by the Whiteheads.

  13. Brigitte says:

    “To judge the word of God is belittling him”… You can use your mind with the word of God, read it, think about it, digest it, comment on it, discuss it, apply it to various situations, contrast it… totally. It’s an exercise for mind and soul. When you however, put yourself as judge above it, you have created the idol which is “me”. Scripture is there to confront that “me”, and “grow” it in that confrontation, rather than have it mollycoddle you to under-gird your current understanding. The Ten Commandments, for example are short and concise and an unchanging demand of the moral law. We imagine that we keep them, but when we dig deeper and really look at ourselves, we find that we can’t keep them, especially, when Jesus digs deeper into it, in the Sermon on the Mount. So this law sits in judgment over us. This is what we try to avoid. And then the cure. That God himself came in the flesh to redeem us from these continuing failures by his own sacrifice. We don’t like that either. And then rose from the dead. We don’t want to believe that either. As Swinburne says, if there is truly a revelation it has to be by a God who can supersede the natural laws. Either/ or. As St. Paul says: either/ or. We can’t all have God be whatever we want him to be today. That one is not GOD.

  14. Dan says:

    Love it! But the sexes … presumably the man sitting next to the Lord God Almighty is God’s attorney? And the woman sitting next to the The Holy Bible is the Bible’s defense attorney? That’s backwards. God would have wanted a female attorney, and the Bible would’ve wanted a man.

  15. Thanks Dan. That would have been an improvement, I agree.

  16. Caryn LeMur says:

    Hi Terri Jo: I paraphrased the Parable of the Talents, found in Matthew 25.

    If I recall correctly, a ‘talent’ was a unit of money, most likely gold…. checking……

    Well… I was close. It was a unit of weight, apparently… and as a monetary unit, the English Standard Version (ESV) notes that One (1) talent equaled 20 years wages for a laborer. So, 5 talents was about 100 years wages.

    Just for fun: If a US laborer makes only $25,000 a year, 5 Talents would equal $25,000,000 … that is, $25 Million.

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25%3A14-30&version=ESV [See the note at the bottom of the page]

    My thoughts:

    The concern in the Parable of the Talents is that ‘those that engage in trade’ did well and received praise; and the ‘servant’ that hid his $1 Million in the ground (and did not even engage in the simple trade of loaning his money to bankers/lenders), received condemnation from the Master.

    I think the over-riding principle of the Parable is that a person should ‘engage’.

    The word ‘talent’ has come to mean ‘natural skills’ or ‘abilities’, such as “That worship leader is talented in music!”

    I think the Parable of the Talent, in principle, also extends to money, natural abilities, time, and the ability to reason. So, a person should ‘engage’ their money, natural abilities, time, and reasoning.

    The more eerie part of the Parable is its placement right after the Parable of the 10 Virgins, and before the Parable of the Sheep and Goats.

    IF the placement is intentional (and not accidental), then it strongly implies there is “judging” after the Virgins go to the Wedding Feast, and before the Final Judgment to “eternal punishment” or “eternal life”.

    But again…. and just focusing on that Parable of the Talents… if we engage, we do well at that particular judgment…. whenever it is… and whatever it really means.

    Hope that helps.

  17. Caryn LeMur says:

    Brigitte: I am surprised by your last post.

    The Lutheran view of the canon of the Bible is a view that involves a lot of judgment:
    – The Council of Trent’s view that Spirit-led men selected the proper canon is rejected;
    – The need for historical evidences is also rejected as a criteria for judgment.

    The Lutheran movement uses a ‘dogma’ approach involving multiple books.

    That is, no definitive Lutheran dogma is taken from the Book of Hebrews alone (it is a historically contested book). And, no definitive Lutheran dogma is taken from the Book of Revelations alone (it is also a historically contested book).

    A Lutheran minister can preach from those books, of course.

    A Lutheran dogma must be supported by multiple books…. or else, it is rejected as essential dogma.

    In order to reach this Lutheran approach/perspective, no one put their own self ‘above’ God…. rather, they used a hell of a lot of clever reasoning, and came to a conclusion – – and rendered a judgment.

    I think your Lutheran leadership took a rather clever and conservative position.

    But… to take that position, required that they momentarily place themselves “above” the scriptures. They had to ‘question’ the canon. They had to ‘judge’ the other methodologies for determining a canon.

    It is not “belittling God” for a man or woman to carefully ask their own self, ‘Shall I accept John Chapter 8 or reject it?”

    If you lean towards ancient text as criteria, you will reject this added in story.

    If you lean towards the Council of Trent, you will most likely accept the added in story.

    If you learn towards ‘essential dogma by multiple books’, then you will most likely enjoy the story, but not base an essential doctrine on that story.

    Sitting in ‘judgment’ of the Bible is not the same as attempting to ‘condemn’ or ‘judge’ God.

    Rather, we are questioning if those verses are even inspired by the Spirit.

  18. Brigitte says:

    Caryn, can you just pare this down a bit? Hermeneutics is a whole big subject, if we are going to get into that. Does that fit here? You are right, Lutherans are not simple biblicists.

    What NP shows is that God is being defamed by the Bible. That’s the subject at hand.

    In terms of the parables, they all stand on their own. And the parable you refer to says nothing about the Bible defaming God, and God evolving. The question really is, is there truth and revelation in the Bible, and we will go with the sola scriptura, or am I going to go outside scriptura and come up with my own best like-able picture of God, my God of the day.

    In Hinduism, there are so many ”gods”, that if one does not work for you, you can try another one. If you put one little statue up, you can pray to it. If it does not work for you, you can get another one. It’s not really any kind of theism.

  19. Caryn LeMur says:

    Sure, Brigitte, I’ll pare it down a bit.

    Parables are about principles. Principles go further than just a single subject. We therefore need to extend the principles into other areas that are reasonable.

    Thus, the Parable of the Talents, is not just about financial trade, and the Master/Jesus judging us based on our business skills.

    I have offered that the Parable of the Talents should be extended to include time, talent, and the ability to reason.

    NP’s cartoon is humorous. However, it also opened up the subject of Plaintiff, Defendant, and Judge. I have offered that we are the ‘Judge’ and need to ‘invest’ our reasoning ability to determine ‘what’ is ‘scripture [writings that are inspired by the Spirit].

    Also, I think it is important to see how the ‘picture’ of God does change/evolve within the Bible.

    I do not think God himself ‘evolves’. Rather, the “god” documented by the Bible’s authors, seems to move from Creator, to Destroyer, to Tribal God, and so forth. The God portrayed by Jesus was not the god-within-the-temple, but a god called “Father”… and just a prayer away.

    The reality is that many denominations come up their own view of “god” and call it “God”. They use the Bible to defame God into a single facet of his multi-faceted person… rather than admit that the God pictured in the Bible is too enormous and too multi-faceted.

    I have done no different in my life.

    I once thought God was only the Law Giver, and Demanding. I tried to Obey. It was a very military view of God.

    My thinking has evolved.

    I have concluded that the ‘God’ pictured in the Bible is huge, and multi-faceted…. so multi-faceted that it appears He evolved… when He did not evolve, but rather showed ‘facets’ of Himself at different times.

    I offer that we, as responsible and thinking adults, should ‘evolve’ our picture of God into Someone that is approachable, understanding of our weakness and humanness, and rejoicing over us with singing…. or whatever facet of Him that helps us to truly grow and enjoy this crazy life.

    I think He is so large and loving, that if a person selected a ‘god facet for the day’, He would understand. After all, Jesus said, “I have many things to say to you, but you could not bear them now”.

    We are terribly human; and He is terribly loving.

  20. Brigitte says:

    Caryn, I can’t cope with this just now. I will revisit. Thanks for trying.

  21. Caryn LeMur says:

    No problem, Brigitte.

    And… no obligation to respond, of course. All of us here are just posting our thoughts, our opinions, and our reasoning.

    Perhaps we can continue on a future cartoon.

    Cheers! Caryn

  22. terri jo says:

    Caring accepting forgiving evolving omnipotent omnipresent boundless morphing loving mystical allowing ultimate intelligence, I could go on 🙂

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