Re: Moses and God

From: John W Burgeson (
Date: Sat Sep 20 2003 - 10:47:56 EDT

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    The Bible says: >>

    I find we are talking past one another, Sheila, and so I will let you
    have the last word on this, if you wish. I understand your passion for
    "defending God," who, of course, needs no defending. The issue of whether
    God or Pharaoh "hardened" Pharaoh is interesting in its own right, of
    course, but tangential to the issue.

    When God told Moses what to say to Pharaoh, in Exodus 3:18, * what is
    recorded there is only half the truth. There are other possibilities for
    not attributing to God the intent for Moses to be misleading, such as

    1. Only part of the conversation was recorded
    2. All of the conversation was recorded and part was lost
    3. God's original intent was only for the 3 day worship and he later
    decided to let them escape
    4. The whole story is mythological.
    5. Etc.

    Note that I do not subscribe to any of these possibilities myself, but
    they all appear to be valid options.

    My claim is simple. What Ex 3:18 records is God telling Moses to ask
    Pharaoh for a 3 day vacation, and not a permanent escape. I see no other
    way to interpret that verse (cited below from the NIV).

    My QUESTION (not claim) is if this passage be taken as historical truth,
    did the speaker (God) be said to have urged Moses to mislead Pharaoh by
    asking for one thing (a vacation) when the intent was for a complete
    escape. And, if so, is this evidence of a moral lapse of the almighty?

    My answers (not claims) are that, yes, God did tell Moses to mislead
    Pharaoh and, no, this is not evidence of a moral lapse, for a lie is not
    always immoral. One need only to ask what one's own response would have
    been if one were living in Berlin in 1938, and hiding Jews in one's
    basement, to the question of the Gestapo (surely the second most ugly
    word in the language) at one's door asking if you were hiding Jews. To
    tell a lie in that case might have been unwise, but hardly immoral.

    It is on this line of reasoning that I will not use the "God will not
    mislead" argument against YEC claims. God COULD have created the
    universe, and us, 6007 years ago, just as a literal reading of Genesis
    clearly reports. The scientific evidence for an earth older than that by
    a factor of 700,000 or so, can then be explained in two ways:

    1. It has been wildly misinterpreted
    2. Gosse's hypothesis is true, the universe was created with the
    appearance of age

    I find it interesting that no YEC I know, and I have asked several, has
    ever commented one way or the other on Gosse's hypothesis. Their
    arguments are always along the line of #1 above. In pursuing this course,
    they do both theology and science a distinct disservice.


    *Ex 3:18 Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say
    to him, `The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a
    three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our
    God.' 19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a
    mighty hand compels him.

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