These among many are questions that just can never be answered. Their purpose is not to find an answer but instead to either create discussion, or just waste time. Today we don't hear many people pose question like this one but many that are similar.
What does your church teach on...
- Sex outside of marriage?
- Capital punishment?
- Economic inequality?
A - Control.
Force the person to be quiet about their religious views by discrediting them in public opinion
B - Create an illusion of being religious
Discuss topics in which nothing can be gained but allow one to feel that they are religious
This is really nothing new however. Jesus was asked by Pharisees and Sadducees on a variety of topics meant not to answer a difficult question but instead to discredit him in the view of the crowds. The first of these questions was a political one. "Should we pay taxes to Caesar?" Were they really interested in getting Jesus' tax advice? Was he the H&R Block of his time? No. If he says YES pay taxes he might lose the crowds who hated paying the corrupt gentile/pagan government their hard earned money. If he says NO, then he can be taken out by the Romans as an instigator of rebellion. Jesus instead cuts through the fog and says to pay BOTH to Caesar and to God what they are owed.
In a later question, the Sadducee sect which didn't believe in life after death asks Jesus a question about marriage in heaven. Now this is actually hilarious to me (and I think there were people in the crowd chuckling to themselves when they heard this question asked). This is like a devout Jew asking which tastes better "Honey Baked" or "Slow Roasted" HAM. (Can you say "scraping the bottom of the barrel?"). Jesus again goes BEYOND the question to the real issue. God's word. What does IT say?
Jesus on a third occasion was asked by the temple priests where he got his authority to teach? Jesus again responds first with another question. "Where did John the Baptist get his authority to teach?" Here they are trapped because they ignored John's teaching of repentance (which the people knew) and yet his teaching was not from man but from God as it was in keeping with the law and the prophets. Was Jesus dodging their question? Actually, no, he was not. Since they could not answer Jesus' question, Jesus was able to determine that they were not on the same page spiritually and so it would be a waste of time for Jesus to answer their question. It was not a dodge, but instead an instrument to save time.
We too are often met with similar questions like I mentioned earlier and all too often we get tied up in answering the question they've posted without asking what is the motivation behind the question. What is the purpose in asking the question? Do you really want to know the answer? Probably not. We should instead be like Jesus and answer their question with a question. That question should be "What do you believe about the Bible? Is it God's word or just a collect of nice thoughts?" For that is the question behind the list of questions earlier. If it's not God's word, then you are going to arrive a different conclusions for all the others. We would be wasting our time as well in answering their question if we are not able to have the same conclusion on the this question.
But is it logical to believe the Bible is God's word? To me, my answer is simply "YES". My line of thinking on this is simple. First of, we must ask ourselves:
"Will God punish those who are evil?"
Consider the likes of Hitler (killed 6 million Jews) , Mussolini, Stalin (killed 15 million), Mao (killed 70 million) , Che Guevara (killed over a thousand Cubans by his own hands), Rev. Jim Jones (caused 900 to take their own lives), and countless mass murderers, rapists, drug dealers and con-artists who have bilked millions of people out of their life savings. In my opinion, God has let the likes of these men to exist for the very fact that they present to people who think that world lives in varying shades of moral-gray, a streak of the DARKEST BLACK which cannot be ignored or lightened. Their "evil" cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet of history. Faced with their deeds, we cannot simply shrug and say "we don't know what will happen to them" for to do so would mean for us to stand in approval of their deeds. If our answer to the above question is YES, then we must ask another:
"Wouldn't a loving God set down the rules?"
Imagine a father punishing his son for coming home at 12:30am if he never told him that his curfew was 12:00am? He would be soundly ridiculed by other parents for treating his children in such a way. He can't demand his children to just "know what he expects of them". Clearly, God also must first set the boundaries before he can judge his creation. If the answer to the above question is YES, then we must ask yet another question.
"Would God write down those warnings and promises?"
The more important the consequences the more important it is to get them in writing. For example, would you buy a house from a person without a written deed? Of course not! Getting it in writing solidifies the agreement and helps insure that is not forgotten of modified in the future. So also, if God must warn his creation, should he just "hope" this critical piece of information gets passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth? Should he not "get it in writing"??? Also, if you were a religious Jew coming out of Egypt, would you not adapt the same technology you witnessed in the country of your oppressors? Namely: writing. I am astounded that so many view the early Jews as being so stupid/ignorant as to not adopt a written language until so late in their history. But now archaeology is bearing new information showing the Jews had a written language as early as the time of King Solomon. If the answer from the above question is YES, then we must ask another question:
"Can an all powerful God guard and protect his words and promises?"
Consider that question carefully. How is it that an all powerful God capable of creating entire universes with his word, cannot protect his own writings over the centuries? Does that even make sense? How is it, that the omnipotent God so impotent to do this despite the immense ramifications (judgement). Wouldn't YOU, if you were God, do everything in your power to insure that you find and inspire people throughout the ages to guard and protect your promises? Of course you would! In fact, it was shown with the Dead Sea Scrolls that the Old Testament changed very very little from 200BC to 900AD (the oldest OT Manuscript we had before the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered). For example, Isaiah (one of the largest and most prophetic books in the OT) was found to be 99% the same and the 1% differences were grammatical changes which changed none of its verses interpretations. If you answer to the above question is YES, then God's word must be exactly that... GOD'S WORD and nothing else. He has provided us with the warning of what is to come but ALSO with the SOLUTION to the problem in sending his Son Jesus Christ to save us.
Answering that question...answers all the rest