May 4, 2003 / Volume 3, Issue 18
THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
Does God respect anyone? Some verses say that God has respect for some people (Gen 4:4; Ex 2:25; Lev 26:9; 2 Kgs 13:23; Ps 138:6), but other verses say that God respects no one (Deut 10:17; 2 Chr 19:7; Ac 10:34; Ro 2:11; Gal 2:6; Eph 6:9; Col 3:25; 1 Pe 1:17). Is there a contradiction?
That God’s respect for some persons in the Bible is mentioned is clear. In each of the texts, the respect which God renders to men is based upon their faithful service or appeal to Him. Abel offered an offering according to God’s command, and thus, the Lord respected him (Gen 4:4). God heard the groaning of Israel in Egyptian bondage, and had respect toward them, or perhaps, more clearer, “...acknowledged them.” (Ex 2:25, NKJV). If the Israelites were faithful to the Lord, then He would look upon them favourably as His people (Lev 26:9). On account of His covenant with the people of Israel, God’s compassion and respect (regard) was upon them (2 Kgs 13:23). Those who are lowly in heart, who humble themselves before the Lord, He will respect (Ps 138:6).
The texts which are listed, wherein the Lord is repeatedly said not to be “...a respecter of persons...” do not indicate that God shows no respect to anyone. It must be understood what is meant by the statement “...respecter of persons...” It appears the difficulty for the questioner is in the KJV wording. Using more modern and common language, the NKJV states that with God there is “...no partiality...” (Deut 10:17; 2 Chr 19:7; Ac 10:34; Ro 2:11; Eph 6:9; Col 3:25), that “...God shows personal favouritism to no man...” (Gal 2:6), and that the Lord “...without partiality judges according to each one’s work...” (1 Pe 1:17).
It is not a matter of God showing respect to no one, but rather, God shows respect to those who work faithfully as His people. There is no contradiction.
This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible