November 4, 2001 / Volume 1, Issue 35
THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
Some Bible passages tell us that God is cruel, unmerciful, destructive and ferocious (Jeremiah 13:14; 1 Samuel 15:3). However, other passages say that God is kind, merciful and good (James 5:11; 1 Chronicles 16:34; Psalm 145:9; 1 John 4:16).
Is there a contradiction?
The questioner has proven that he is capable of removing a text from its context, and attempting to set it against other texts removed from their context. He has by no means proven that God is inconsistent in His character, nor that the Bible contradicts itself.
Both Jeremiah 13 and 1 Samuel 15 deal with situations where a group of people were due judgment upon them for disobedience or evil conduct. The other texts mentioned (James 5:11; 1 Chronicles 16:34; Psalm 145:9; 1 John 4;16) express the Lord's goodness upon those who are obedient to His will.
The apostle Paul wrote, "Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off." (Romans 11:22) God's goodness is upon some, His severity upon others. Our conduct before Him is what determines which is upon us.
There is no contradiction.
This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible