ABC:1 John 4

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Verse 8

Don Morgan's list at Infidels claims this is a contradiction and makes the following comments (italicized).[1]

God is a vengeful god.


Genesis 4:15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

Deuteronomy 32:19 ¶ And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.

Isaiah 34:8 For it is the day of the LORD'S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.

God is a warrior. God is a consuming fire.

Exodus 15:3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.

Isaiah 42:13 ¶ The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.


God is a jealous god.


Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

Exodus 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 5:9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,

Deuteronomy 6:15 (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

Deuteronomy 29:20 The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.

Deuteronomy 32:21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.


The Spirit of God is (sometimes) murder and killing.


Leviticus 26:7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
8 And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.

Numbers 31:17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

Deuteronomy 20:16 But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:
17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:

Joshua 10:40 So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded.

Judges 14:19 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house.

Ezekiel 9:5 ¶ And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity:
6 Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.
7 And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city.


God is angry. His anger is sometimes fierce.


Numbers 25:3 And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.
4 And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel.

Deuteronomy 6:15 (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

Deuteronomy 9:7 ¶ Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD.
8 Also in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry with you to have destroyed you.

Deuteronomy 29:20 The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.

Deuteronomy 32:21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.

Psalms 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

Psalms 78:49 He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.

Jeremiah 4:8 For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the LORD is not turned back from us.

Jeremiah 17:4 And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever.

Jeremiah 32:30 For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have only done evil before me from their youth: for the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, saith the LORD.
31 For this city hath been to me as a provocation of mine anger and of my fury from the day that they built it even unto this day; that I should remove it from before my face,

Zephaniah 2:2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD'S anger come upon you.

2 Samuel 22:7 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.
8 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth.


God is jealous and furious. He reserves wrath for, and takes revenge on, his enemies. "... who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and rocks are thrown down by him."


Ezekiel 6:12 He that is far off shall die of the pestilence; and he that is near shall fall by the sword; and he that remaineth and is besieged shall die by the famine: thus will I accomplish my fury upon them.

Nahum 1:2 ¶ God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.

Nahum 1:6 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.


God is love.


2 Corinthians 13:11 ¶ Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.


The fruit of the Spirit of God is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.


Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

First of all, it should be pointed out that Don Morgan deceptively excluded adjoining verses showing that God's attributes include BOTH angry vengeance and loving mercy. For example, Deuteronomy 5:9 was referenced, but not 5:10. Isaiah 42:13 was referred to but not verses 14 or 1-4. Exodus 20:5 was mentioned yet not 20:6. Exodus 15:3 was referenced not 15:13. Exodus 34:14 was brought up yet verses 6-7 noticeably unmentioned. I could keep going, but you get the idea.

Deuteronomy 5:9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,
10 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.

Isaiah 42:13 ¶ The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.
14 I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once.

Isaiah 42:1 ¶ Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Exodus 15:13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.

Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

This was likely to disingenuously portray the Old Testament as exclusively portraying God as vengeful, and the New Testament portraying God as loving (which is of course not accurate, cp. Rev. 19:11-21; 2 Th. 1:8; Rom. 2:7-8; 2 Pet. 3:5-7; Mt. 24:51; Mk. 9:43; Lk. 16:24) Bible critics like to misportray the Bible like this because they do not care about honesty or truth. God is good to those who do good, and even those who do evil God has shown longsuffering, sending blessings which they have not appreciated; while giving them time to repent.

God is a God of longsuffering patience who sends his rain on the just and the unjust, and is withholding judgment to give all people more time to repent.

Romans 2:3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

Matthew 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

2 Peter 3:9 ¶ The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Romans 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Matthew 13:27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

In Jesus' case, He held His peace for thousands of years, was put to death and persecuted, but will ultimately execute justice in the Earth.

Isaiah 42:14 I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once.

Matthew 12:18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.
21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.

God can be both a God of love and of vengeance. Many great martial artists, who are ordinarily very peaceful, like Bruce Lee, are the most capable and deadly fighters imaginable. Inner peace, love, and patience also allows for unspeakable rage at injustice. As John Drysden once put it, "Beware the fury of a patient man." God's love of justice will ultimately necessitate punishing the wicked; indeed paradise for good people cannot exist so long as evil people are in it, for they will persecute the righteous and corrupt such a creation the way they have this one. People ask why God allows evil in this world, seemingly unaware that for God to remove evil from this world, He would have to remove all evil people who cause evil from it.

Concerning specific verses brought up showing God's fierce wrath, such as Numbers 25:3, many relate to the Israelite adoption of a Canaanite practice to sacrifice one's children alive to idols such Baal and Molech, burning them alive and then eating them. This was the main reason God had Canaanite nations destroyed, to stop the global spread of a horrific and immoral pagan practice of cannibalistic child sacrifice. For a discussion of the subject, see Destruction of Canaanites.

Verse 12 (Christian Unity)

Patheos' Bob Seidensticker claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[2]

No one can see God (or can they?)

1 John 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

1 Timothy 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

But Adam and Eve saw God. So did Abraham and Moses:

Genesis 18:1 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

Exodus 33:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

No one has seen God the Father at any time. That it is evident a distinction is being drawn between God the Father and Jesus, the Son of God, is evident from John 1:18, as they are both mentioned separately. However, Jesus as the Old Testament Angel of the Lord has been seen, and seen consistently throughout the Old Testament. Jacob even later states that it was an Angel whom he was wrestling, and whom he called God. See Genesis 48:16, "The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth." For more on Jesus as the Old Testament Angel of the Lord, see Christophanies.

Verse 16

Jim Meritt of Infidels.org claims the Bible contradicts itself here and asks "Cruel, Unmerciful, Destructive, and Ferocious or Kind, Merciful, and Good"?[3]

Jeremiah 13:14 And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.

1 Samuel 15:2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

1 Chronicles 16:34 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalms 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

First of all, for a full explanation of how God could be justified in His destruction of the Canaanite nations and punishment of Israel, see 'Destruction of Canaanites where it is pointed out that both were being punished for widespread practice of the horrible crime of child sacrifice. Meritt in quoting Jeremiah 13:14 here ignores the fact that the Israelites were being so horribly punished by God for sacrificing their own children by burning them alive.

Jeremiah 7:30 For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it.
31 And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.
32 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place.
33 And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away.
34 Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate.

Jeremiah 32:34 But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it.
35 And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

Concerning Amalek, God wanted to destroy the nation that had cowardly attacked the women and children of Israel. (Exodus 17:16)

Deuteronomy 25:17 Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt;
18 How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God.
19 Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.

Ultimately, the answer to this question of whether God is cruel or kind is both. God is cruel to the wicked and unrepentant and kind and merciful to those who turn from their wicked ways. This answer is reinforced throughout the whole Bible. Making this an Either/Or ignores the truth of the Bible.

Sources

  1. Morgan, Donald. Bible Inconsistencies: Bible Contradictions? Internet Infidels.
  2. Seidensticker, P. (2018, October 20). "Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions." Patheos.
  3. Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html.