I received some interesting comments to last week’s homily. Unfortunately, they were all sent by email because it was so hard to see the “add comments” link. To remedy that, I’ve changed the page design. You can now shout back at the Loud Mouth by clicking the comment link to the right of the date.

This week’s homily was motivated by an particularly insightful response to last week’s essay, “God as Valentine:”

“I am of the mind that the practice of the time should not be mingled with the theology/belief that we in today’s world have or should have for who God is.”

What’s so exciting about this response is that it addresses, with laser focus, the reason so many of us are hurting right now: We have accepted ancient scribes’ vision of what God is, what God wants, what God does and through what practices God should be served.

Is it possible that the ancient scribes’ view of God might not be real? Their view of God is based on their limited knowledge of everything from genetics and geography to astronomy and physics. Most of those who heard their stories were illiterate, not intellectuals.

Our understanding of life on this planet has evolved; yet we place our faith in ancient scribes who believed that the earth not only was flat; it was the center of the Universe. The ancients believed that God demanded live sacrifices. Today, we call such sacrifices satanic.

What changed: Us or God?

If we had a better understanding of what God is and what God does, we wouldn’t feel so abandoned or punished when Life flips us on our heads. Is our faith in the words or in our God? As Stevie says, “When you believe in things that you don’t understand, you suffer.”

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand this: In the ancients’ version of human history, God planned a mass murder; he declared that he would “wipe out” every plant and tree, and all but a few living creatures. He then waited patiently for decades for Noah to build an ark so that God could stow away a few survivors.

Then, the scribes tell us, after that long wait, God turned on the spigot and forgot about the ark. On the 40th day, they wrote, God “remembered” (Gen. 8:1). Are we to believe that God is not omniscient or that the ancients weren’t sophisticated storytellers?

Not sure? Try this: As their story continues, the rain suddenly stopped; but the waters didn’t recede for another 110 days. That seems to have confused poor Noah–and we certainly can understand that. He had to have been delirious by then.

Let’s face it: 150 days on a luxury cruise ship would drive anyone batty! What would be the mental condition of someone confined to a vessel with one window and one door–and filled with fecal matter and carcasses of animals (and perhaps humans) who didn’t survive the life-threatening and unsanitary conditions? Without a 150-day supply of food and potable water, how did any of them survive?

The ancient scribes didn’t think that through. They could only write what they knew.

An omniscient God, however, certainly knew what would happen under such inhumane conditions. So what does that say for this version of history being from God’s mouth to the scribes’ ears? What do you say when a 21st Century construction contractor in the Netherlands devotes nearly four years of his life replicating the vessel to the exact dimensions that the scribes provided?

As the ancient story goes, Noah trusted a dove, who didn’t escape the horrific conditions on the ark by flying out of the open window, to be smart enough to bring him proof that the water had receded. The fact that the bird returned wasn’t a miracle. But returning with a freshly plucked olive leaf? (Gen. 8:11)  Every plant, tree and bush on earth was root-rotted. The ancient scribes weren’t aware, but we know that dead bodies contaminate water; so how on earth did an olive tree grow?

And how on earth did they devise this ending to this story? After leaving the ark, a grateful Noah built an altar to God, took some of the surviving animals and birds and inhumanely killed them, as a sacrifice (Gen. 8:20). Help me out here: They had miraculously managed to survive the grotesque conditions with little food and water, among carnivorous predators–to end up on a butcher’s slab? Raise your hand if you believe this.

Keep it raised if you believe the next sentence in this saga: “The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.” (Gen. 8:21). 

Yes, we are to believe that:

  • God found the smell of the dead meat soothing. (Did the aroma waft up to Heaven?)
  • God decided that killing everything and everybody wasn’t such a great idea after all–and said that He would never do it again (God makes mistakes?)
  • God came to the conclusion that humans are simply evil. (Wouldn’t an omniscient God would know that before the genocide?)

I know someone is going to object: We shouldn’t question what God does.

Of course, that presumes that God is so impotent that He is threatened or angered by our desire to understand Him. More important, it presumes that God is not fully evolved and that man is not evolving toward Godliness.

Are you open to the possibility that God has been waiting patiently for centuries for us to evolve enough to ask these common sense questions? Is it possible that God has been waiting for someone–maybe you–to disassociate him from these barbaric, inhumane acts and clear His good name? 

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3 Responses to Is God Evolving at the Speed of Man?

  1. Emma says:

    You make a compelling argument. Although I admit, I live by faith and believe completely in God’s word, I think I can speak to your argument in what I feel are logical terms:
    1. The Bible, even as written by the ancient scribes, has survived attacks, bans, criticisms, etc. for over 2,000 years & still remains the Number 1 best-seller and most read book in the world. That says to me that it is more than “just a book” and God still has a lot to do with it.
    2. The warning to Noah, the building of the Ark under God’s instruction, the flood, all of this was comprised a divine act, and I don’t think you can apply human laws to a divine act. If God instructed Noah to bring two of each animal, one male and one female, it seems He did so for a reason – to preserve the species. Would He then allow conditions that would harm or kill them? Would He instruct Noah and his family to sail on the ark if he was going to subject them to suffering?
    3. No, God is not confused nor did He change His mind. The Bible illustrates God’s perfect love for mankind. (1) Humans are the only beings He created in His image, and He loves us with a perfect love. (2) He gave us free will so He cannot make us be good or obedient, nor can He stop us from sinning because then He would have created a bunch of robots who would only love Him because they’re programmed to. (3) Man used that freewill and sinned against the one who created him (as illustrated by the story of Adam & Eve) and God had promised that sin would bring punishment/death and He did not want to punish or kill the people whom He created and loved, so through the Bible He showed how He devised a way through which man can reconcile himself with God, through sacrificing an innocent animal, but that didn’t work because as soon as man made the sacrifice and asked forgiveness, they’d go and sin again. (4) so He loved us so much (John 3:16) that He gave us the perfect sacrifice once and for all – Jesus Christ, His only begotten son, became the one and only sacrifice for all of our sins, past, present & future and those of us who believe that Jesus is the son of God need only ask for forgiveness.

  2. Emma says:

    One more thing, the Bible is broken up into two parts – the Old Testament (before Jesus Christ) and the New Testament (the coming of Jesus Christ and man’s reconciliation with God). Notice in the Old Testament there is all kinds of laws and rules (the laws in Deuteronomy, the 10 commandments, etc.) – God even illustrated how purging whole villages and kingdoms did not get rid of the sin (He knew it already, but through wars, and His commanding people to kill whole villages, etc., He was showing us) when Jesus came, notice He did away with the laws and rules and said the two greatest commandments replace all of the others “(1) love the Lord your God with all your heart, and mind and soul, and kive your neighbor as yourself.” He also did away with the death penalty by putting qualifications on who could administer it “let He who is without sin … cast the first stone, pull the switch, fire the first shot, pull the lever to inject the poison, etc. etc.” Who is without sin? Notice there are no wars in the New Testament, no killing whole villages – IT’S A NEW DAY!!! Finally, everyone suffers and God never promised that we wouldn’t. But if we believe in Him and believe His word, then no matter what we suffer He will bring us out. In fact, those who don’t know Him or don’t believe His word will be brought out of their suffering – the difference is what you do when you’re going through. Those who believe and live by faith, are full of hope and full of gratitude for the little blessings they receive as they go through. His word says ” I will keep you in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on me.” Those who don’t believe and live in fear and doubt may not even suffer as long, but while they are going through they will have their mind stayed on the problem and they will be miserable throughout their suffering. What is my evidence? My experiences. God has blessed me over and over so many times it couldn’t be a coincidence. What believers have is our belief in God’s ability to do miracles – so we receive miracles and are able to use our experiences to minister to others.

  3. Rev. Bobby says:

    You have a “very interesting” way to look at scripture and God. God is open ended and this is why so many of us miss the “Kingdom of the Heavens” experience that is here for us to have. Like sheep, we are so apt to take on someone else’s views, beliefs, attitudes toward God, we totally miss the experience. Your mouth should get LOUDER!!!!

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