Re: [asa] fall of Satan logic questions

From: John Burgeson (ASA member) <>
Date: Tue May 05 2009 - 09:47:35 EDT

What you point out is true enough -- but it is GOD in that story who
orders the babies to be killed and GOD who gets upset with Saul for
not entirely following through (he apparently killed the babies but
not the cattle or king). And it is that character attribute of God I
wrestle with.


On 5/5/09, dawson wayne <> wrote:
> Burgy wrote:
> <<<I do wrestle, however, with other parts of scripture, which cry out to
> be taken as literal history, and, if one does this, God is shown to
> have attributes I find disturbing. Take, for instance, I Sam 15 (the
> whole chapter). Text below. In it, God commands genocide, including
> the slaughter of babies, and when Saul falls short of this, God turns
> against him.>>>
> I know this will not answer your issue completely, particular about
> children. However, I'll give it a shot, since I trouble with it as well.
> Consider that even in war, there are rules. A concept like mercy is a
> learned concept. It would appear that the culture of war at the time of
> Saul was largely one of "take no prisoners". It is not clear exactly why
> the Amalekites attacked the Jews when they were in the desert (digging me
> further in a deep hole as it were), but evidently, the struggle was already
> very bitter long before Saul came on the scene. If a poor concept of
> mercy was the true mentality of the age, even given Godly wisdom (which I
> don't deny is hard to see in these passages), there may not have been a
> choice. Even in more modern times, the understanding of war, victory and
> defeat would have had a different concept for the Japanese soldiers than
> it did to the western nations at the time. Consider also Viet Nam were
> children were sometimes used for military purposes. If these become the
> "rules of engagement", there may not be a lot of options.
> I'm not sure how this matter can be be taken down to babies, but a culture
> that understands no mercy also may not understand the prohibitions against
> revenge either. How then do you deal with prisoners?
> There is mention of mercy throughout scripture. For example Abraham with
> respect to Sodom and Gomorrah; though Abraham did know that Lot lived
> there.
> Genesis does suggest an understanding of flesh and blood, as the genealogy
> goes that direction. So the matter is not completely in the clear.
> However, we should not impose our own understanding of right and wrong and
> the rules of war to an age where the rules (or lack thereof) and the
> consequences were quite different.
> Finally, it is clear that Saul was not calling on God like Abraham pleading
> for the mercy on the Amalekites. He was afraid of what his men would
> think. If Saul feared his men more than God, he could not have laid down
> the law on them to have mercy either. Ultimately, he was letting them rape
> and loot like the rest of the nations of that day. So in addition to the
> above point, this may very well be testing Saul more in the way of Abraham
> and Isaac or Abraham and Lot's lot. If so, then Saul failed double time.
> I'm not sure why Samuel was so brutal with Agog, particularly since there
> is
> some vague hints of repentance uttered from him. It is maybe harder for me
> to understand Samuel in this respect.
> None of that helps me reconcile this with the death and Resurrection of
> Jesus, but at least by his rod and staff, I have hope that I can walk in
> the
> valley of the shadow of death and not fear evil; particularly what men
> think. That is my one and only hope and salvation.
> by Grace we proceed,
> Wayne
> 2009/5/1 John Burgeson (ASA member) <>
>> On 4/29/09, Jim Armstrong <> wrote:. Am I the only one
>> that
>> > "wrestles" with this? JimA [Friend of ASA]
>> I'm one who sees it as a literary story, not "literal," so I probably
>> don't wrestle with it as much as you seem to do.
>> I do wrestle, however, with other parts of scripture, which cry out to
>> be taken as literal history, and, if one does this, God is shown to
>> have attributes I find disturbing. Take, for instance, I Sam 15 (the
>> whole chapter). Text below. In it, God commands genocide, including
>> the slaughter of babies, and when Saul falls short of this, God turns
>> against him.
>> I have to assume this whole chapter is the raving of a Hebrew writer
>> and "inspired" only in the sense that it describes "what not to do."
>> This assumption does not satisfy me; I have nothing better to replace
>> it with.
>> Burgy
>> 1SA 15:1 Samuel said to Saul, "I am the one the LORD sent to anoint
>> you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the
>> LORD. 2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: `I will punish the
>> Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they
>> came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally
>> destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to
>> death men and women, CHILDREN AND INFANTS, cattle and sheep, camels
>> and donkeys.' "
>> Aside -- I picture here a Hebrew soldier thrusting his spear through a
>> 4 month old child.
>> 1SA 15:4 So Saul summoned the men and mustered them at Telaim--two
>> hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men from Judah. 5 Saul
>> went to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the ravine. 6 Then he
>> said to the Kenites, "Go away, leave the Amalekites so that I do not
>> destroy you along with them; for you showed kindness to all the
>> Israelites when they came up out of Egypt." So the Kenites moved away
>> from the Amalekites.
>> 1SA 15:7 Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from
>> Havilah to Shur, to the east of Egypt. 8 He took Agag king of the
>> Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the
>> sword. 9 But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep
>> and cattle, the fat calves and lambs--everything that was good. These
>> they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was
>> despised and weak they totally destroyed.
>> 1SA 15:10 Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel: 11 "I am
>> grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me
>> and has not carried out my instructions." Samuel was troubled, and he
>> cried out to the LORD all that night.
>> 1SA 15:12 Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet
>> Saul, but he was told, "Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a
>> monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal."
>> 1SA 15:13 When Samuel reached him, Saul said, "The LORD bless you!
>> I have carried out the LORD's instructions."
>> 1SA 15:14 But Samuel said, "What then is this bleating of sheep in
>> my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?"
>> 1SA 15:15 Saul answered, "The soldiers brought them from the
>> Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice
>> to the LORD your God, but we totally destroyed the rest."
>> 1SA 15:16 "Stop!" Samuel said to Saul. "Let me tell you what the
>> LORD said to me last night."
>> "Tell me," Saul replied.
>> 1SA 15:17 Samuel said, "Although you were once small in your own
>> eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD
>> anointed you king over Israel. 18 And he sent you on a mission,
>> saying, `Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the
>> Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.' 19 Why
>> did you not obey the LORD? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do
>> evil in the eyes of the LORD?"
>> 1SA 15:20 "But I did obey the LORD," Saul said. "I went on the
>> mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites
>> and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and
>> cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order
>> to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal."
>> 1SA 15:22 But Samuel replied:
>> "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
>> as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
>> To obey is better than sacrifice,
>> and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
>> 1SA 15:23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
>> and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
>> Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
>> he has rejected you as king."
>> 1SA 15:24 Then Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned. I violated the
>> LORD's command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and
>> so I gave in to them. 25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back
>> with me, so that I may worship the LORD."
>> 1SA 15:26 But Samuel said to him, "I will not go back with you.
>> You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you
>> as king over Israel!"
>> 1SA 15:27 As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem
>> of his robe, and it tore. 28 Samuel said to him, "The LORD has torn
>> the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your
>> neighbors--to one better than you. 29 He who is the Glory of Israel
>> does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should
>> change his mind."
>> 1SA 15:30 Saul replied, "I have sinned. But please honor me before
>> the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that
>> I may worship the LORD your God." 31 So Samuel went back with Saul,
>> and Saul worshiped the LORD.
>> 1SA 15:32 Then Samuel said, "Bring me Agag king of the Amalekites."
>> Agag came to him confidently, thinking, "Surely the bitterness of
>> death is past."
>> 1SA 15:33 But Samuel said,
>> "As your sword has made women childless,
>> so will your mother be childless among women."
>> And Samuel put Agag to death before the LORD at Gilgal.
>> 1SA 15:34 Then Samuel left for Ramah, but Saul went up to his home
>> in Gibeah of Saul. 35 Until the day Samuel died, he did not go to see
>> Saul again, though Samuel mourned for him. And the LORD was grieved
>> that he had made Saul king over Israel.
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Received on Tue May 5 09:48:25 2009

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