The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
11 Points

The Biblical God cannot be shown immoral

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/22/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,467 times Debate No: 34023
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
Votes (2)




I propose a simple debate that I'm sure many critics of the Bible will find intriguing, that the God of the Bible cannot demonstrably be shown immoral, and His actions in both the Old and New Testaments can be justified. I contend that no definitely complicit actions exist by God as recorded in the Bible, and a contextual reading of the Bible as a whole reveals a depth of moral soundness to God's actions.

I look forward to a professional and courteous debate on this subject.


I accept, and will use the Gricean Maxims to help facilitate the academic and courteous debate pro is looking for.
Debate Round No. 1


I strongly believe the God of the Bible is a moral God, and that the actions shown in the Bible do not indicate immorality. Many of the accusations commonly made commit the following fallacies:

-Assuming that because it's in the Bible, it's God approved. In reality, the Bible frequently presents the flaws of its authors, including Moses, David, and the apostles. It mentions Moses' stubborn rebellion against God, refusing to trust God to work through him in Exodus 3, and how his disobedience ultimately kept him from entering the Promised Land. It mentions how David's adultery and consequent murder of a woman's husband was punished by God, he was not allowed to build God's temple and forced to flee from his own family members throughout his life. It mentions how the apostles bickered amongst themselves over who would be the greatest and lost faith that Jesus would be the Messiah after the crucifixion. In short, the Bible is no Quran, glorifying its human author(s), but openly admits their mistakes that God alone may be glorified, and mentions some cases as evidence of what not to do, or simply for historical detail.

-Assuming that because two passages mention different details they are necessarily in contradiction. However, there would be no need for multiple Gospel accounts if the writers knew the exact same material and wrote the exact same accounts. Where the details are compatible and there is no reason to assume a contradiction, none should be assumed. It is no more a contradiction for two passages to mention varying details of the same event than for science papers to mention different levels of detail about a subject, or dictionaries to address different words.

-Going by an English translation without considering the original text, the Hebrew and Greek original words which are translated into English. The Bible was originally authored in ancient Greek and Hebrew, which thanks to manuscripts like the Dead Sea Scrolls we can see for ourselves. The KJV was for centuries the best translation available, but was authored in old English in the 16th century, and differences arise between such ancient English and our modern version of it. One must account for the translation process.

-Overlooking the context of a passage to cherrypick words that in the broader scope of the chapter or book make perfect sense. This is more understandable when the answer requires a holistic reading of the entire Bible than a single chapter, but even when the answer occurs within the chapter occurs too often.

-Applying a broad definition to God based on popular perception of what God is like, rather than what the Bible says. For example, I would argue the Bible does not portray God as all-knowing, as He is portrayed Biblically as tricked and sabotaged by Satan in Matthew 13:28; having created things good, and having Satan mess things up behind His back. Similarly it is popular conception that people go to Heaven when they did, the Bible actually presents a concept of 'sheol' deep in the earth divided into two halves by a great gulf fixed where the dead go. (Luke 16:26) Likewise, it is popular conception that God oversees the Earth, when Satan is referred to as the ruler over both the earth (Matthew 4:9, Ephesians 6:12) and death (, the "god of this world." (2 Corinthians 4:4)

I provide these in good faith, the burden of proof now rests with Con to show evidence that the Biblical God is indeed lacking in morality in light of how the Bible presents said God.


I’d like to thank pro for engaging me in this debate, wish him the best and hope it’s as enlightening as it is interesting.

The Biblical God Cannot be shown immoral. My initial impression is that this resolution is true. God can’t be shown immoral because God doesn’t exist, and what doesn’t exist can hardly be immoral. Furthermore, God is defined as being morally perfect. As such, it’s simply a contradiction in terms to say a morally perfect being isn’t morally perfect. Thus, at first pass, it seems whether God exists or not, he cannot be shown immoral.

Clearly then, to have a meaningful debate about whether the Biblical God can be shown immoral we must (i) suppose for the sake of argument that God exists, and (ii) do not suppose that God is morally perfect. Otherwise, this resolution is not debatable.

So, supposing that YHWH exists but reserving judgment on his moral character, how might we learn what sort of individual YHWH is? What source could inform us of whether he is moral or immoral? In the philosophy of religion, we’d typically look to our experiences and observations. If we observe or experience something we’d expect from a good YHWH, we have reason to think he’s good. If we observe or experience something we’d expect from an immoral YHWH, we’d have reason to think he’s immoral.

But, pro seems to have restricted the source that could inform us of YHWH’s moral character to the Old and New Testaments (presumably, that canon containing only 66 books).

In order for these Biblical texts to inform us of YHWH’s moral character, they must be reliable sources. I don’t think we need to suppose they’re inspired and inerrant in order for them to relay authentic historical information and thus will simply suppose that they’re authoritative in their descriptions of YHWH.

However, these authoritative texts tell us that God is perfectly moral [Ps. 18:30; Matt. 5:48; 1 Jn. 4:8, etc.]. How can we assume that texts which tell us God is perfectly moral are reliable when we aren’t supposing that God is perfectly moral? Well, we simply need to bracket the texts which directly or indirectly describe YHWH’s moral character. Otherwise, the resolution is not debatable, for then the resolution would be trivially true: of course God cannot be shown immoral, we know he’s morally perfect.

This has the interesting consequence that while sin exists, we cannot suppose it deserves punishment. Committed or contracted sin would only deserve punishment if it was wrong to disobey God. But, that supposes that God (or his commands) are moral. For the purposes of this debate, we cannot suppose beforehand that disobeying God is any worse than disobeying Hitler.

Thus, we can’t agree that sin provides God with any morally sufficient reason for punishing human beings.

But, this raises innumerable questions about God’s moral integrity. Reading over Genesis 3 and how God curses humanity and the earth for Adam and Eve’s sin, Gen. 7 and how God drowned nearly every living thing, Rom. 5 and how death and condemnation befell all of humanity because of Adam and Eve’s sin, the only question left in my mind is how isn’t YHWH immoral?

But, let’s narrow our focus and think of those texts which tell us YHWH commanded or convinced people to kill children and infants. I’ve found at least 13 such places in the Old Testament, but let’s look at just one for now: 2 Samuel 11-12. These texts relate how David lusted after a married woman, sent her husband off to war to be killed, and then took her for his own. She gave birth to a son. In punishment for this terrible action of David’s, YHWH not only gives David’s wives to other men so he can ‘do in broad daylight what David did in secret’, but inflicts his newborn child with a fatal illness which kills him after 7 days of struggle.

What reason could YHWH have for murdering an innocent newborn? Why would YHWH cause David’s wives to commit adultery? Well, 2 Sam. 12:14 tells us the reason YHWH has done these things is because David showed contempt for the Lord. That’s it. Because David disobeyed God, his wives and child were punished. Even if a person deserves punishment for showing God contempt (something we can't as of yet suppose and which I'd struggle to buy after reading stories like these), why does that person's family thereby deserve punishment? They didn't show God contempt. Recall however that we’re not allowed to assume sin deserves punishment, lest the resolution be trivially true.

So, here’s my problem. YHWH’s action violates the following plausible moral principle:

1. If anyone intentionally kills an innocent child, unless we have overriding reason to think they were justified in doing so, we should regard them as immoral.

Given that YHWH intentionally killed David’s child for something David did (by striking it ill for a week no less!), we have no overriding reason to think YHWH was justified in killing this poor infant.

To win this debate, my opponent must show that this innocent child and David's wives deserved to be punished for something they had nothing to do with, from Biblical texts which say nothing of the sort.

I shall take it that therefore that YHWH should be regarded as immoral and consequently that the Biblical God can be shown immoral.

Thank you for reading.

Debate Round No. 2


I likewise thank Con for engaging in the debate and look forward to discussing with him what is both a highly interesting and important topic.

Concerning Con's second paragraph, the argument that God exists is a separate subject but one that can be addressed, though to do so here would distract the subject at hand. However, Con's contention that a non-existent being can't be shown immoral is not quite correct, since it is simply a hypothesis that can be evaluated regardless of the existence of the deity in question.

Concerning Con's third paragraph, one does not need to presuppose for purposes of this argument that the Biblical God is morally perfect, indeed common atheistic criticism rarely does so. Richard Dawkins, e.g., levies a series of vague, unspecified critiques against the God of the Bible based on perceived attributes according to the Bible. One can debate the Biblical God's morality without presuming His existence, simply for purposes of theory.

Concerning Con's fourth and fifth paragraph, I did not say that the only source which can inform us of YHWH's moral character is the Bible, and that personal experience and observation is inapplicable. Rather, I said that any criticisms should be viewed in light of what the Bible says - in other words, the Biblical God's attributes and justification for what He does should be viewed in the lens of scripture, so that it serves as a source of information about what God is like. In other words, it is fine to level criticisms of God's morality from observation, but the Bible can be used to make points about God's reasons and justification from a logical standpoint.

Concerning Con's sixth and seventh paragaphs, the argument itself assumes that the Bible's claims of God being perfectly moral are debatable; the debate itself infers that. While one cannot simply answer criticisms of God being immoral as seen from His actions in the Bible with a Biblical statement like "God is good," one can examine the Bible for clues as to how God could be justified in said actions, and for context surrounding the case at hand. For example, it is a common accusation that God's actions regarding the Canaanite nations in the book of Judges were immoral, yet the Bible says repeatedly that God was going to destroy those nations because they were practicing child sacrifice(Leviticus 18:21,24; 20:1-5; Deuteronomy 18:10,12), and God did not want the practice spreading. (Deuteronomy 12:30-31; 20:17-18) In that context, God's actions become justifiable when it is evident God was seeking to stop a global evil from spreading in the same way we bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki to stop the Axis forces from conquering the world. There are mitigating circumstances for the destruction of human life when said life is doing evil and destroying other lives.

Concerning's Con's eighth, ninth, and tenth paragraphs, Con is correct that for purposes of this debate one need not assume God's commands are in and of themselves moral commands deserving of punishment. The debate's inferred purpose is to question the morality of those commands and by consequence the Biblical God. However, Con is incorrect that the only reason sin can deserve punishment is that it's "wrong to disobey God." Biblically, God is the Judge of the Earth (Romans 3:6) who has an obligation to do what is right. (Genesis 18:25) Sin itself is wrong for its own reasons, indeed these are referenced by America's Declaration of Indepence - God gives inalienable rights to men, and it is wrong for men to infringe upon these God-given rights.

Concerning Con's ninth, tenth and eleventh paragraphs, there are valid explanations in the light of Biblical context for each of the cases referenced.
  • In reference to Genesis 3, the actions of mankind corrupted their once-perfect natures, placing them under the control of a malevolent evil rebel angel named Satan. (Romans 6:16-17; Ephesians 2:2; John 8:34-35, 44) They made themselves the servants of sin/corruption by doing what was wrong, and began a process of harming one another and creation itself that lasts until the present day. As such, there was justification for the punishment of mankind.
  • In reference to Genesis 7, we are not told the specific details in Genesis 5-6 of what the circumstances were, so it would be premature to assume that God could not be justified in the particulars as we do not know them. God, as previously mentioned, destroyed the nations in the book of Judges for committing rampant child sacrifice, and it is reasonable to assume an even greater destruction involved at least equivalent evil. Global human sacrifice or its equivalent would be justification for God hitting the reset button on humanity as it were, so that life could be born without such abuse. At any rate, we simply are not told the justification for God's destruction of humanity, and as such cannot adequately judge the moral reasoning behind it; all we know is that there could well be mitigating circumstances which would justify it.
  • In reference to Romans 5, I would argue that when one asks why God allows evil to exist in the world they are subconsciously acknowledging that mankind perpetuates evil to such a degree that God's judgment/intervention is necessary. Hitler or other genocidal atrocities are simply extremes, humans commit evil acts against one another incessantly. Death was necessary for God to institute in the Earth so that particularly evil people like Hitler do not become constant, and are replaced by others; that the constant acts of evil they implement are kept to a minimum. Furthermore, death according to the Bible is simply a temporay waypoint before God's final Judgment when the ultimate destinations of mankind will be determined, and as such is not inherently immoral since it does not cause a creation to stop existing, merely sends that creation to a place in waiting for a final court hearing.
  • Concerning 2 Samuel 11-12, the Bible makes clear that unborn children who die prematurely go to a place of peace. (Job 3:11-19) Jesus says of Judas that because of his egregious evil it would be better for him that he had not been born, showing that those who would do horrible evil during their lives would be better off not being born at all. (Matthew 26:24) As for God's reasoning in such a case, it was not simply that "David showed contempt for the Lord. 2 Samuel 12:14 says that David's actions gave God's enemies much reason to blaspheme, but the reason they did so is actually mentioned in earlier verses in chapter 12. Nathan begins by telling the parable of a poor man with a pet lamb who had a rich man come kill it for his supper. God's stinging condemnation of David as seen in v. 9 is that "you have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon." David had killed an innocent man so he could commit adultery with his wife, and she may not have been innocent either as she agreed to it and possibly seduced him by washing nude in sight of his palace (2 Samuel 11).

Concerning Con's twelfth to fourteenth paragraphs, I would argue that if we should hold one guilty until proven innocent in court of law when we are subjects of the Creator, we should be even more cautious when potentially condemning our Maker and Judge. A prisoner should be careful in falsely condemning his judge, and a servant his king, even so should we give God the benefit of the doubt unless evidence exists showing beyond a shadow of a doubt that what God did was wrong. Ultimately, the assumption that David's wives were not involved may not prove correct, as again, Uriah's wife may quite possibly have instigated David's adultery.

I maintain that the mitigating circumstances of each of the cases in question provide details through which one can see how God could be justified in His actions, and that there is no definite implication of guilt or abuse on God's part from the cases in question.



In this post I'll address Pro's Opening Essay.

Before evaluating whether Pro has provided us with good reason to believe the resolution, we should be clear on what the resolution means.

The resolution before us is that the Biblical God cannot be shown immoral. Taking this at face value, it would seem to mean that it's impossible to show that God is immoral. On the one hand, this places an unbearable burden on Pro and on the other, a remarkably light burden on me. For, all I'd need to show is that there's nothing ridiculous about the Biblical God being immoral, and while this position may be highly unlikely, surely it's not ridiculous.

So, I thought this understanding of the resolution would make things far too easy for me. What else could it mean? Well, sometimes we exaggerate, and say something cannot be done or cannot be happening when we simply mean it's really hard to believe that it will be done, or that it's happening. This strikes me as a more fair, accurate interpretation.

As such, it'd place the following burden on Pro: Convincingly show that it's highly unlikely that the Biblical God is immoral. This would correspondingly evince the position that the Biblical God "cannot" be shown immoral.

Has Pro accomplished this task in his Opening Essay? Well, it would appear that he has not. Pro suggests that many arguments to the effect that God is immoral involve fallacious inferences and poor hermeneutics. While this may very well be the case, it wouldn't show that it's highly unlikely the Biblical God is immoral. At most, it would show that we've failed--so far--to show that the Biblical God is immoral.

Yet, I don't think Pro's Opening Essay shows even this. It's not clear to me that the arguments he lists are actually representative of the most formidable objections to the Biblical God's moral nature. They certainly don't appear 'common' to me from the academic literature concerning this topic. Perhaps these objections are more representative of novices, or some such. But, the state of poor objections to a position shouldn't indicate the state of reflective objections. One of the convenient--but challenging--aspects of academia is that scholars tend to ensure their arguments aren't fallacious (which isn't very difficult). That way, if their positions are to be defeated, it must be on factual grounds.

So, it seems to me Pro has a long way to go before satisfactorily evincing the resolution. This isn't to say it can't be done though, and so I look forward to Pro's response.

Thank you for reading.
Debate Round No. 3


Con would be correct that the burden upon me would be unbearable and the burden upon him remarkably light if all that were required for purposes of this debate was to show in some way that God is immoral. However, that was not the original premise of the debate which as seen in the opening statement was that "the God of the Bible cannot demonstrably be shown immoral," "His actions in both the Old and New Testaments can be justified," and "no definitely complicit actions exist by God as recorded in the Bible." I reaffirmed this with the conclusions to both my 2nd and 3rd round posts as well, stating "the burden of proof now rests with Con to show evidence that the Biblical God is indeed lacking in morality in lighty of how the Bible presents said God" and "there is no definite implication of guilt or abuse on God's part from the cass in question."

As my second-to-last paragraph sought to clarify, the burden of proof should be upon the side of prosecution/criticism to show beyond all shadow of a doubt that a witness is guilty. It is not enough to simply to make inferences that God is guilty, or provide some form of argument that God is guilty, to truly declare God guilty one must show this beyond all shadow of a doubt. The standard in court of law is innocent until proven guilty and that one is innocent by default until evidence definitively disproves all alternatives. Thus, it is only contingent upon me to show that such alternatives exist, and that the prosecution or criticizing side has not adequately provided a convicting case against God.

I reaffirm the conclusion made in the previous round, that if one is by default innocent until proven guilty in court of law, this should apply so much more to the Creator of all; and that if we are to be cautious in falsely condemning our fellow man, so much moreso should we be cautious in condemning the God who made us. As I previously said, a prisoner should be careful in falsely condemning his judge, and a servant his king, even so should we give God the benefit of the doubt unless evidence exists showing beyond a shadow of a doubt that what God did was wrong.

To win this debate, Con should be able to show cases where God is most definitely wrong, "definitively" and "demonstrably" beyond shadow of a doubt as would be the case in court of law to show another person guilty. I am not convinced Con has done so to this point, and assert that none of the cases provided would be evidence to show a person guilty beyond a reasonable doubt as would be the legal standard.
  • In the case of Genesis 3, the act committed by mankind is nothing short of rebellion, seeking to take power belonging solely to God which had been forbidden by mankind, and conspiring with a rebel leader, Satan, seeking to overthrow God. (Isaiah 14:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:4) Satan's iniquities and evil trafficking corrupted the officeshe had been given. (Ezekiel 28:16-17) Ultimately, the U.S. like many other countries considers treason a serious crime, and mankind's rebellion in concert with Satan could thus not be taken lightly.
  • In Genesis 7, a lack of detail about what humanity's wrongdoing was means we cannot draw a conclusion one way or the other as to whether or not God was guilty. We are told in Genesis 6:5 only that "the wickedness of man was great in the earth," what this wickedness was we can only hypothesize. We are told of God's destruction of the Canaanite nations that this include the egregious sin of child sacrifice, and as such a greater destruction would logically include an at least equivalent global evil. Nonetheless, we do not know what the great evil was that necessitated mankind's destruction and, lacking such information, cannot adequately determine that what God did was immoral. The circumstances of the case could ultimately end up justifying God, we do not know.
  • Concerning Romans 5, again, God was justified in punishing the rebellion of mankind. As Paul observes just shortly before this, "But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who takes vengeance? (I speak as a man.) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?" (Romans 3:5-6) It is not wrong for a judge to punish the guilty, and a universal judge is necessarily obligated to inflict justice for sake of universal order and morality. Furthermore, death is not itself inherently immoral according to the Bible, as it does not cause a creation to stop existing, merely sends them to a temporary waiting room in preparation for a Final Judgment that will determine their ultimate destiny. The Bible makes plain that it is a final death which should be feared, not death in this life. (Matthew 10:28) Death is necessary to ensure that evil rulers like Hitler or mass murderers like Jack the Ripper do not live generation after generation to perpetuate their unspeakable evils upon the earth. When all mankind is corrupted, death becomes necessary to minimize the evil effects of the most wicked people. Ultimately, God's decisions here are perfectly justifiable both from a standard of justice, and from a viewpoint of necessity.
  • Which brings us to the last and certainly strongest argument made by Con, and the only argument left to convict the God of the Bible, 2 Samuel 11-12. Con, it would seem, acknowledges the guilt of David, but questions why God's punishment affected both David's child and David's wives. The seeming inference being that an unborn child cannot be guilty of anything before God, even though Biblically "the wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies." (Psalms 58:3) Another inference seems to be that David's wives could not have committed guilty actions as well, even though in the case of Bathsheba at least, it seems quite probable that was not the case, since she apparently instigated David's adultery. (2 Samuel 11:1-5) I would argue that as in the case of Genesis 7 we are not given enough information about the child or wives to know for sure whether God was justified or not. That both were guilty before God is evident since all are guilty before God (Romans 3:19-23) but what the extent of that guilt was and whether it was deserving of the punishment is of course debatable. Ultimately, humans look from a temporary perspective of this life only, but that David's child went to the same place David would in sheol, paradise with Abraham (Luke 16:22), is evident from what David says in 2 Samuel 12:23, "I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."

Concerning my opening statements, they were designed simply to evince what mistakes critics typically make when alleging Biblical contradictions or flaws in God's personality, that my opponent would know from the start what my reasoning would be. Again, I considered the burden of proof always upon the side of Con to show that the Biblical God is definitely immoral beyond all shadow of a doubt.

While Con's fourth argument is certainly more compelling than the previous three, it rests upon a series of assumptions, as do many claims of flaws in God's character, namely (1) that it was better for the unborn child to be born despite the fact that David's other children ended up committing grievous sins which doubtless affected their eternal destinies - 2 Samuel 13, (2) that David's wives were not guilty when 2 Samuel 11:1-5 appears to show at least one, Bathsheba, was, (3) that the unborn child was guiltless which cannot be inferred per Psalms 58:3, and (4) that death in this life is inherently immoral when the Bible says ultimate death in hell is that which is to be feared (Mt. 10:28) while unborn children go to a place of peace envied by Job. (Job 3:11-19)

Ultimately, the entirety of the Bible gives me confidence that in the end when hearts are made clear all will praise God per 1 Corinthians 4:5, and God will be able to justify Himself. I do not believe the evidence in any of these cases definitive enough to convict God.



In this second and final rebuttal, I'd like to address Pro's objections to my case against the resolution. I'll evaluate whether he's established the resolution in my Concluding Essay.

So, how did I endeavor to defeat the resolution? Primarily, I argued that the Biblical God could be shown immoral because he is immoral. Recall that we're assuming he exists.

For the purposes of clarity, I'll state the argument I gave in my Opening Essay in a slightly more structured and organized format. Feel free to check that it's an accurate representation.

The Argument:

1. If we have no overriding reason to think someone who intentionally killed an innocent child was justified in doing so, then we should regard them as immoral.
2. We have no overriding reason to think God was justified in intentionally killing David's son.
3. Therefore, we should regard God as immoral.

Clearly, if the premises of this argument are true, then I have successfully defeated the resolution. Now, there are a variety of ways one might attack this argument and Pro has used several throughout his last few Essays. Let's think carefully about them to see whether any hold water.

Premise (1):

Pro has not interacted with premise (1) [i.e. the moral principle from my Opening Essay], and I'll take his silence as a concession.

Premise (2):

What about premise (2)? Let's start with the idea that David's child wasn't innocent. If that's true, then the above argument is logically invalid as (2) is not an instantiation of (1)'s antecedent (I'd be happy to defend predicate logic if prompted to). Pro indicates that the child was guilty before God by citing Rom. 3 and Ps. 58. As I've stated in my last two Essays however, we need to bracket these texts. Otherwise, there's nothing to debate: if our sins deserve punishment, then God is moral and the debate is over. Pro responds that God is the Judge of the world and has an obligation to do right. But, these don't tell us whether he's moral. He could be a malevolent and unjust Judge who violates his moral obligations. Furthermore, even if some sins are wrong "for their own reasons"--such as murder or incest--it's entirely unclear why sins such as "original sin", "blasphemy" or holding God in contempot are wrong "for their own reasons", and ultimately it's only the latter sins that matter in this debate.

So, Pro's Biblical citations afford us no good reason to think David's child wasn't innocent. Furthermore, Pro has stated several times that the accused is innocent until proven guilty and he's certainly not proven that the child was guilty. It would appear he's holding the child to one standard and God to another. Finally, commonsense dictates that a child wouldn't have been able to do anything that would deserve capital punishment, by being struck with a week long illness no less.

Pro also suggests that David's son will have gone to a peaceful afterlife by citing various texts such as Job 3. However, being able to compensate your victim for the damages you've caused does not justify you in causing those damages. Can you imagine breaking someone's window, and telling them you were justified in doing so because you'll pay them back? Furthermore, my opponent says that Job 3 "makes clear" that "unborn children" will go to a peaceful afterlife. But, David's son was not unborn. Interestingly, Pro appears to be making use of what he described as a fallacy in his Opening Essay, namely assuming that because Job 3 is in the Bible, God approves of it. Finally, the context of Job 3 raises the question of whether the author isn't speaking literally about any peaceful afterlife. Rather, as vv. 16-19 indicate, he's identifying this place of rest as the Earth. I've heard many people speak metaphorically about how peaceful resting in Earth will be after burial.

Pro notes that God should be regarded innocent until proven guilty. I agree. Presuming that someone is innocent does not amount to presuming they're moral. A diabolically immoral individual can be innocent of a given crime. But, because premise (2) is true--that is, because we have no overriding reason to think God was justified in this--we have overruled God's initial innocence. In fact, my opponent concedes that premise (2) is true when he states that "we are not given enough information about the child or wives to know for sure whether God was justified or not." Thus, we have no overriding reason to think God was justified.


So, it appears to me that we ample reason to think the Biblical God is immoral (assuming he exists).

Peripheral Issues:

What are some peripheral issues he's raised? Well, in my Opening Essay, for example, I listed a number of texts describing God as doing certain things that would firmly call his moral character into question in my mind. I glossed over these and did not propose them as reason to reject the resolution. Thus, their success or failure isn't pertinent to winning this debate. However, let me briefly interact with some of his responses.

Pro alleges that God was justified in harming and condeming humankind in Gen. 3 because Adam and Eve were sinful. But, again, this assumes that sin deserves punishment.

As far as why God was justified in drowning nearly everything that lived--including innocent animals, and newborns--he says we can't say God was justified, but we can imagine mitigating circumstancse. Can we? I certainly can't. Please, take a moment and carefully think about forcing someone so innocent to the world as a poor child, to drown. What could justify an almighty God in resorting to this kind of behavior? We're not asking for a miracle here. We're just asking God to be a decent individual. Could the maker of the Heavens and the Earth really not find another way?

To my surprise, Pro alleges that David's wives may have actually deserved the inhumane treatment of being pushed into adultery. But, even if they may have, the question is did they? And Pro gives no reason to think they actually did.

Obviously, there are a number of unresolved issues and points I'll have to neglect (as will he). However, I hope I'ved tied some of the loose ends up here and showed that Pro has failed to give us any reason to doubt either premise of my argument. On the contrary, he seems to concede both premises. But, this commits him--by the very laws of logic themselves--to the conclusion. I will therefore take it as settled that the resolution has been defeated. I'll reserve my final analysis of Pro's performance for the Concluding Essay.

Thanks for reading.
Debate Round No. 4


First of all, I would like to thank Pwner for participating in what has indeed been both a courteous and professional debate, I really have enjoyed discussing the issue and appreciate him challenging my lines of thought. I feel my thought on this issue has developed and hope others have found the debate informative and thought-provoking as well.

With all of that said, I would remind the audience that the original premise made in the first post was not simply that God could be shown immoral, but that this be done "demonstrably" with no "definitely complicit" actions by God so that God's actions "can be justified." The original challenge was to prove God's immorality demonstrably and definitely so that the possibility of God's justification was removed. I argue that I have shown conclusively that God's actions, according to the Bible, can indeed be justified in the aforementioned cases.

Ultimately, the reasoning for such a high standard of proof is that if we are to judge one innocent until proven guilty beyond all shadow of a doubt in court of law, this certainly should be the standard our Creator is held to as well. It makes no sense to protect our fellow man from careless condemnation, yet be careless in condemning the God who made us and to whom we will be ultimately accountable to.

That being said, I will address the newest arguments:

Premise 1: Ultimately children die prematurely all the time. To make the argument that premature death is immoral is similar to the argument that temporal death in this life itself is immoral, yet since all mankind is guilty of death before God for wrongdoing (Romans 3:23; 6:23) how can one criticize God for exacting that penalty? Ultimately, all die in this life sooner or later (Romans 5:12), and we should fear eternal death rather than death in this life only. A child who God knew would become wicked would be better off not born at all (Mt. 10:28) so God actually does a child who He believes will become wicked a mercy by preventing their being born into this life so that they will avoid eternal condemnation and torture; receiving instead a blessed life in eternity. (Job 3:11-19) Ultimately, we do not have the knowledge of what the child was like or would become that God did, and would be premature in assuming that God made the wrong decision. We cannot assume God's decision was incorrect without assuming we have knowledge of what occurred equivalent to God, yet are given only a paucity of information from the chapters and should not assume that.

Premise 2: Ultimately this sets the standard for the Bible to fully explain every single detail of God's actions so that everything He does is perfectly understood which I would argue is unrealistic even for a book as detailed as the Bible. What we do know is that all mankind is guilty of death before God which is why death, including premature death, occurs, and that Biblically death is not the end, but unborn children go to a place of peace and eternal rest. Thus we have enough knowledge to see how God could be justified in His actions, and if accepting the Bible at face value, one will thus believe God could be justified.

Premise 3: Essentially it comes down to whether one gives God the benefit of the doubt or not. The evidence is inconclusive to show that God acted immorally due to a lack of detail about God's intentions, but we are told enough from the Bible to see how God could be justified. Given that, I argue that God, as with any person in court of law, should be considered innocent until proven guilty, and that the case against God's justification here is hardly ironclad.

Concerning the additional arguments made by Con:

Con is correct that neither Rom. 3 or Ps. 58 indicate God's righteousness as a judge, other texts such as Ps. 9:8; 96:13; 98:9; Is. 11:4; and Rev. 19:11 would be necessary to reference this. I won't address 'original sin' since it's a hypothetical construct debatable as to its Biblical nature; blasphemy could be considered wrong as a form of slander against God, or false condemnation. While the Bible makes clear that many such blasphemies will be forgiven by God in the end (Mk. 3:28) it is ultimately God's prerogative whether to do so or not, as He is the one being wronged.

Ultimately, the Bible makes clear that all have sinned and the entire world is guilty before God. (Rom. 3:19,23) As Romans 6:23 says, "the wages of sin is death." Indeed, death itself is only a consequence for all because all do evil.
  • Romans 5:12 Therefore, by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; so death passed upon all men because all have sinned. (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.) Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those that had not sinned after the manner of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
Furthermore, cases before the coming of Christ involving death such as that of David's child were not wholly under God's jurisdiction as it were, for it was the devil who had the power of death. Jesus actually came in part to destroy the devil and free mankind from Satan's power.
  • Hebrews 2:14-15 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
All mankind was ultimately doomed to die and fall under the power of the devil until Jesus came to remove that power. Before that, even the most righteous people like Moses were under Satan's power. (Jude 1:9) Ultimately, the Bible makes clear that all mankind is guilty of death and as such was under Satan's power. All die in this life, it is where they spend their eternal destinies that ultimately matters, not when they pass from this life.

To assume that God was unjustified in the case of David's child assumes perfect knowledge of the afterlife, David's child, and the guilt of the unborn that we simply do not have from what few details the passage gives us. We do have enough information to see how God could be justified.

Concerning Job 3, Job is referring to the Biblical concept of 'sheol' where the dead go deep in the Earth, a place divided in two halves by a great gulf for the good and bad (Lk. 16:26). It is a common misconception that the Bible says the dead go to heaven. The word 'sheol' is used 65 times in the Old Testament, 8 times in the book of Job, and is translated by the KJV 31 times as "the grave," 31 times as "hell," and 3 times as "pit." Job uses the word 'sheol' in 7:9; 14:13; 17:13,16; 21:13; 24:19; ad 26:6.

Ultimately, I argue that God could be justified in a global Flood if it involved the equivalent of Old Testament child sacrifice which the nations in the book of Judges were destroyed for. We destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki for using war to destroy life, to stop a war costing more lives, and to prevent them from spreading their evil rule to other parts of the globe. Likewise if God was stopping a horribly evil regime from destroying lives, He too could be justified by destroying a murderous civilization to give mankind a chance at a better future.
One cannot ask why God doesn't stop evil in the world, then criticize Him for acting to stop it in the past.

Concerning David's wives, in the case of Bathsheba most clearly, she appears to have seduced David into committing adultery in the first place from 2 Samuel 11:1-5, so God in doing so would just be rendering to those who do evil the consequences of their decisions.

In closing, I argue a holistic reading of the Bible provides reasonable evidence showing that God can be justified in these cases, and that God is not definitely and demonstratively immoral but can be justified as my original post asserted He could. I claim my original assertion justified.

Thanks for reading.


I'd like to thank Jzyehoshua for a very timely, courteous, thought-provoking debate and I hope the reader has taken something valuable away from this exchange.

Has Pro successfully shown that God could not demonstrably be shown immoral? I do not believe so, for the failure of my attempt to conclusively show God immoral would not entail that every such attempt likewise fails. And beyond engaging my, very particular, argument against God's moral character Pro has not seemed to give a general enough argument to apply to all attempts.

Still, while he may not have established that no argument whatsoever against God's moral character conclusively succeeds, he may still have defended this thesis by warding my particular argument off. Has he done this?

Recall that my argument was as follows:

1. If we have no overriding reason to think someone who intentionally killed an innocent child was justified in doing so, then we should regard them as immoral.
2. We have no overriding reason to think God was justified in intentionally killing David's son.
3. Therefore, we should regard God as immoral.

The argument is logically valid meaning if its two premises are true, the conclusion must be true. All that matters, therefore, in evaluating whether the conclusion is true is how plausible the premises are. If they're plausibly true beyond reasonable doubt they ought to be accepted.

While I have numerous defenses of premise (1) it would not only be unfair of me to give them here, but unnecessary since Pro has not seemed to reject the content of the first premise. I will simply say that if your conscience can stomach rejecting (1), I invite you to vote for Pro as there is probably very little I can say to convince you God is immoral.

Pro seems to have conceded premise (2) as well, by saying that the Biblical texts are too uninformative for us to say what God's moral reasoning was. This entails that we have no overriding reason for thinking God was justified in intentionally killing David's son, which is just to say it entails premise (2).

It seems to me then that both premises are plausibly true beyond reasonable doubt and ought to be accepted.

Still, the rules of logic dictate that this argument is logically valid only on the condition that (2) is a genuine 'for instance' of the more general state of affairs described in (1)'s antecedent (or the 'If' part of the 'If, then' statement), and Pro has questioned whether it is.

In order for (2) to be a genuine instance or example of (1), David's child needs to have been innocent. As my opponent has stated numerous times though, people ought to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and I've just not seen any proof that the child wasn't innocent. Not only does the suggestion militate against our commonsense, but rests upon question-begging texts.

It strikes me as rather clear then that not only are both premises true, but the argument is logically valid. Given these conditions, the argument would provide conclusive grounds for believing the Biblical God is immoral for it'd be a sound deductive argument to that effect. At the very least, I don't see how the resolution was established. But, given my argument, I rest content to say the resolution has been defeated.

Thanks again to Pro for the debate, and to you the reader for hearing us out.
Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by yourgodlaysdeadatmyfeet 8 years ago
LOL! The light of context!!!!!!! Your light of context is unknown to you as this religion was designed by man to enslave.
Posted by Jzyehoshua 8 years ago
Well, I would think they need to be one and the same, right? How can one show the Biblical God immoral without examining this in light of Biblical context? Wouldn't that be akin to declaring someone guilty without giving them a hearing, and considering their defense?
Posted by Pwner 8 years ago
Is the resolution just that the Biblical God can't be definitively shown to be immoral, or that he can't be shown immoral when the Bible is considered holistically?
Posted by Jzyehoshua 8 years ago
God apparently lost control of humanity because it sinned, with it falling into Satan's control, that even the most righteous of people like Moses were no longer under God's power. Satan calls the shots with what happens to them to some extent. Jesus actually came in part to remove Satan's power over death and those who die, a direct attempt by God to take back the powers Satan had gained.

Jude 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

Hebrews 2:14-15 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Posted by Jzyehoshua 8 years ago
There is Biblical support. Satan rules people by default, not God, according to Acts 26:18. The Bible constantly portrays Satan as ruler of the world and in control of its kingdoms. Satan is called the prince of this world and even "god of this world." Examples include 2 Corinthians 4:4, Matthew 4:8-10, John 12:31, and Ephesians 6:12. God is portrayed as having made the world perfect and an enemy, the devil, messing it up through sabotage.

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?

Matthew 13:37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

I've addressed the subject several times on my website, such as here concerning the Problem of Evil:
Posted by Ragnar 8 years ago
That is a good way to argue it. Just have biblical support for Satan rules the earth.
Posted by Jzyehoshua 8 years ago
How did God mistreat Job? I thought that was Satan doing the mistreating. Satan is the ruler of this world, not God.
Posted by Ragnar 8 years ago
Good luck on your first debate. Likely the first case you'll need to defend is his treatment of Job and his family.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by MrJosh 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Spelling and grammar by a hair; arguments were more thorough.
Vote Placed by yourgodlaysdeadatmyfeet 8 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I removed conduct from Pro because demonstrated the bible is anti PC which was the base of Pro's argument. Pro's spelling seemed off...but who am I to talk.

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