May 07, 2009

Why Did God Command Evil Deeds?

From Michael Novak in The Catholic Thing:
I have always read the stories of the Jewish testament – from the polygamy of Abraham to the commands of Yahweh to bash the heads of captured infants against stones – as a description of the way things once were on earth, everywhere, whereas in the Bible there was a slow unfolding of humane, even godly, values. This unfolding was slow, although not nearly so slow as the eons of Darwinian evolution so many enlightened people today find acceptable...

As I read the Old Testament, it consists of books that tell the history of the education of a privileged part of the human race in the Creator’s high standards for all of humanity. Not all is revealed at once. Many existing evils are not immediately uprooted. Slowly and spiraling up and down through the centuries, though on a slightly upward tendency, Israel is taught that God wishes to be approached not in subservience but in friendship, and that our proper approach to Him is not self-abasement but love.

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My sincere and respectful questioner has helped me catch sight of a profound irony. Now that he has learned from the Bible a very high standard of virtue, conscience, judgment and aspiration, he rejects the Author Who taught him those moral advantages. Why? Because that Author did not reveal everything at once.

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