There is a pretty serious charge being levied against God by the group known as the New Atheists. They claim that if the God of the Bible exists, then he is evil. Most of their support for this comes from the Old Testament in which God tells his people to wipe out certain groups of people. But is this charge fair? Or is it just another aspect of God that the New Atheists take out of context?
First, we must state that logically if God exists then he cannot be evil. If you believe that God exists then you must believe that he is the one who makes the rules. In other words, God is the one who determines right and wrong, or good and evil. If he says it’s good then it’s good, and if he calls it evil then it’s evil. Put simply, calling God evil is a contradiction in terms. It’s just not possible.
But for the sake of this blog let’s entertain the possibility of considering God evil. Does anything in the Old Testament convict God of this rather serious charge? The answer is absolutely not. As we often see with the charges levied against God by atheists, it’s either a complete misreading of scripture, or an intentional misrepresentation of scripture.
Take, for example, God’s judgment of the nations by his chosen nation of Israel as they entered Canaan. God made it clear that Israel was an instrument of his justice. The Canaanites were the same people who were sacrificing their children to their gods, and had filled the land with perversion and evil. God had seen enough and it was time for them to be judged. No logical person would see this as evil. They would see it as an administration of justice.
In fact, years down the road, when the nation of Israel started doing the same thing that their Canaanite predecessors had done, God judged them as well. Scripture is clear that God doesn’t play favorites. He is fair in every sense of the word. Those who practice righteousness will be rewarded, and those who practice evil will be punished. Again, no logical person would call this evil.
One of the problems with our world is that there is no justice. If you have enough money or power you can buy your way out of anything. Not so with God. There is nothing you can offer him that will cause him to rule in your favor. The only way you will be rewarded is to live a righteous life and put your faith in him. That doesn’t sound evil to me. That sounds like what everyone wants. We all want justice, and one day we will all receive it.
In short, calling God evil is the epitome of foolishness. This is just another lazy, illogical reason for atheists to continue to doubt the Bible. As we discussed in the last post, this isn’t a question of facts or even of good and evil. It is a question of faith. The New Atheists put their faith in science and their own desires, while Christians put their faith in the God of science and morality.