Wednesday, 6 August 2008

god's Regret?


So, twice now has god decided that Saul should not be king of Israel. In fact, god is repentant about it. He says so in 1 Sam. 15:11. Of course, Saul is repentant too, he really wants to please god, but god will have none of it. This begs the question as to why god won't show mercy on Saul. Saul is trying, which is what many modern Xians tell us that we are supposed to do, yet god rebukes him for it. god wants blind obedience and if you can't blindly follow and get the commands right - which seems to be Saul's problem - then too bad for you. In fact, Saul wanted to please god, with burnt offerings, to which Samuel rebukes him by saying that obedience is much more important. Samuel sets it up that obedience is the sum all, be all of our "relationship" with god. Does this sound like a loving relationship? Should a loved one demand complete obedience from you? Would you feel loved if this were to happen?

Also, how can god feel regret? How can a perfect being do something with which to feel regretful? Yet, god plainly says that he regrets making Saul king. Of course, just 18 verses later god reverses himself and claims that he never repents, only to reverse himself again 6 verses later and re-affirm that he repents making Saul king.

How can one not look at this story and see a ridiculous god?

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who say GOD regret for HIMSELF.. HE regret for Saul option.
What i love for GOD is because HE giving us the freedom to choose..
It means that we human not robot..
And the freedom is HE let us choose between blessing or curse..And HE say 'choose blessing'..Wow HE reveal that HE is goodness...Thats why i dont like somethink evil b'cause i'am good..So must be goodness are my creator..

GCT said...

The text clearly indicates that god has regret for his actions in making Saul King of the Israelis.

Anonymous said...

There is a Sensus Plenior of the text. If you take the entire Bible as literal face value you loose any credibility to critique it. There is a deeper meaning behind the word "regret". The bible itself says not to take this word literally (1 Samuel 15: 29). In Gen 6:5-6 God also says he regrets making humans because they always act in evil ways. There is a much deeper sense to the word, and when read literally it is misconstrued. As humans cannot fully understand God, as he is a higher being, he must be given human characteristics. By saying he "regrets" humanity is to say that sin is not compatible with his sanctity, Gods plan is always opposite to sin, and both cannot be cohesive. God does not tolerate sin, but he will forgive it. Sorry if I come across slightly abrasive but your blog got me fired up. God bless

GCT said...

That's not what 1 Sam. 15:29 says. It says that god doesn't lie or change his mind, which is also patently false, since he changes his mind about Saul being king of the Israelis and does lie.

Of course, if you can simply attribute any post hoc meaning to the passages in the Bible and claim that those that don't make sense are not to be taken literally, then we are left with a meaningless document since anyone can impart any meaning they want upon it.

And, no, god doesn't have to be given human characteristics, especially if they are not true. god was given human characteristics because the authors imparted them upon their made up god.

"Sorry if I come across slightly abrasive but your blog got me fired up."

I didn't find it abrasive at all.

Anonymous said...

All literature can seemingly have infinite relativistic meanings, but with apt diligence the true meaning of a text can be extracted. It is not that the Bible can be interpreted however you want, but often it is interpreted incorrectly. It is easy to get the wrong impression of Christianity from uninspired and faulty analyzations. Here is an excerpt from Aquinas elaborating on the concept of human emotions (such as regret, anger, wratch, joy and revenge) that are attributed to God metaphorically to convey the transcendent nature of God to a limited human intellect.
"Some things are said of God in their strict sense; others by metaphor…When certain human passions are predicated of the Godhead metaphorically, this is done because of a likeness in the effect. Hence a thing that is in us a sign of some passion, is signified metaphorically in God under the name of that passion. Thus with us it is usual for an angry man to punish, so that punishment becomes an expression of anger." Q13 A3 –Summa Theologica, Treatise on God
"neither can [passionate human qualities] that even on their formal side imply imperfection be attributed to Him; except metaphorically, and from likeness of effects"
-Summa Theologica, Treatise on God
Thank You. God Bless

GCT said...

All too often "Interpretted incorrectly" really means, "I don't personally agree with that, so it must be wrong." How do you know what the proper interpretations are and that they are correct?

So, let's look at the text. In it, god annoints Saul as his man, then is let down by Saul. As an omni-max being, god should have known that this would come to pass, but he seems to be taken by surprise at it. He also claims that he regrets his choice and decides to change his mind and bring in David, all the while claiming that he doesn't lie or change his mind.

So, what is the correct interpretation here for such a series of errors?

Anonymous said...

Anthropomorphisms are used to describe God, with human characteristics. Try not to read it too literally (haha i think ive said that 20 times in my several responses.. sorry). Well its difficult to argue with a pure relativist, but I guess it comes down to this... if you have reason, does your reason lead to any truth...? If it does not, then this whole blog is pointless, there is no truth for you to debate. But if reason leads to truth... then even in the Bible there is a reasonable and logical way to read it, with your intellect, not your passion. Try not to read and then shut the book and say "Ohh that story was horrible". Try to extract what the story is attempting. thank You and God bless

Anonymous said...

The Bible has been translated. The original translation was in hebrew and the word used was nacham which means to express sorrow for. So God did not change his mind he was expressing sorrow for Saul's choice. Hope this helps

GCT said...

That only makes sense if you ignore the context of the verse and the surrounding verses. This verse clearly has god saying that he feels regret for his choice to make Saul king.

cramnella07 said...

If you read prior to this passage you will see that God instituted having Kings not because he so desired, but because the people wanted a king. God even warned the people what it would look like, but they ignored the warning and demanded a king (1 samuel 8) As far as the word regret being used it is clear that God wished Saul was not king, but his regret comes from the fact that people desired Saul over Him as their king. Later when He says God will not regret for he is not like man, it is over a decision that God made alone. You see God may regret things we do or desire, but He does not regret what He has done out of His own desire.

GCT said...

That's a rather twisted interpretation of the plain words used where god says that he regrets that he chose Saul as king. god is the one that decided that Saul was his buddy and should be the king.

Anonymous said...

God regrets this decision because He warned the people about how having a king would go in 1 Samuel Chapter 8. In order the understand the Passage you have to use context and back up to that point and really even further. Despite God's warning the people, through the God-given gift of free will demanded to have a king. Perhaps, ( and i know even using that word might make you want to invalidate me completely and that's ok) God' regrets the decision to not contradict Himself and deny the people their free will. My struggle with the story of Saul is in 1 Samuel 18:10 when an evil spirit from God came upon Saul and eventually leads to Saul committing suicide by falling on his own sword. In search of discussion and wisdom i actually landed here and if you read the previous passage 1 Samuel 18:6-9, perhaps(again, i know) the evil spirit is in response to Saul's anger and jealousy against David in which He brought it upon himself. I don't proclaim to be a scholar or even take either side. the bible is full of tough passages, but anyways, that's my input.

GCT said...

And, your input has already been dealt with. Perhaps (there's that word) you could try actually looking at the other comments.

Anonymous said...

he is a filthy no good scumbag for putting me on this rotten earth to suffer. all i ever wanted out of life, was to meet the right woman for me and have a family today. why does he make other people find happiness?, and not me?. i never did anything wrong in my life for this to happen too me, that is for sure. why should so many other people be special? i always meet the nasty women, with their no good attitude problem. what filthy LOW LIFE PIGS they are. cannot blame myself, for wanting to have what is normal.

GCT said...

Stop the women bashing.

Anonymous2 said...

GCT,
Thanks for stepping in on behalf of women. Bashing women is clearly wrong.

Unless they are stupid Xians. Then it would be OK.

GCT said...

Your attempt at wit is clearly noted and clearly off base. I don't bash Xians, I bash beliefs/ideas. Learn the difference and stop wallowing in your religious privilege.

Anonymous said...

TO GCT, if god gave me a good woman from the very beginning, i would of had it made. oh by the way, i am a straight man that had been married at one time, and she cheated on me. i never cheated on her, because i was very committed to her and did love her with all my heart at the time. NOT MY FAULT.

Anonymous said...

All of what was said about God not regretting is correct,and the translation of the word "regret" does make difference here. I think it was pretty clear to whomever want to see that, but there is 2 things that was mentioned and I think was not properly addressed. (1) what is the right interpretation; (2)and why bad things happen to good people.

1) The right interpretation, according to the Bible is given by the Holy Spirit
John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
So it's clear that we need help to make the right interpretation of the word. Otherwise our deceitful hearts just twist everything to justify our acts (i.e. how many people have killed in the name of God?). So the Holy Spirit is key to understand the word of God. In the past, it was the prophets that helped people to understand it, then Jesus came and he was explaining that, and after him, it was left the Holy Spirit to us. If you don't open up your heart to let him talk to you (and here you can imagine any form or way) then you won't be able to understand what the scriptures say or even understand other people that have had this "revelation". It's like speaking in another language. 1corinthians 2:14 "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned".
Then, it becomes nonsense to discuss the point in question for we would be speaking in absolutely different languages.
2) "Bad things" happen to everyone. It's not a privilege of one specific group. If there is something that Jesus assured is that we would have trials in this life, but he also said we should take heart or courage because he overcame the world. If that happened to you is because God was seeking to let you know what is in your heart and also for that situation He had an open door of salvation. Your marriage didn't have to come to an end. But because you didn't endure and believed that God had everything under control, you lost your blessing. Think about Job. Apparently, Job was a good man and he didn't do anything wrong to cause him the distress he went through. However, God tested him, taking away all his tangible goods. Even, when he lost his family Job didn't turn against God. But when he became sick, then God revealed to Job what was going on in his heart. And what Job had was doubt. He doubt God was righteous and fair. He also thought that every good thing he had was due to his deeds and didn't give God the honor for his mercy (we can't buy God's grace or mercy). That's why Job repent in the end of the book and God gave him the double of what he had before (in the end he didn't lose anything, but he got the double. Plus, his testimony served for generations through generations to save and teach people like us). Please, understand that what your ex did was horrible and indeed brought the whole distress, but you forgot who you are in Christ, who makes you more than conqueror through Him. God has saved my family, so I know He can save anyone's too. It took me a lot of effort and trust on Him, but He never let me down. He is the faithful one.

GCT said...

OK, there are tons of holes in your story. Let's deal with interpretation first.

1) We have to deal with the text that we are analyzing. I notice that you assiduously avoided doing that. In the text, god twice decides that he should not have made Saul king of Israel. Remember, it is god that had elevated Saul to this office. It is now god that is looking back and saying that he made a mistake. (This also happens with the flood story incidentally.)
2. Your "answer" is a complete cop-out. Of course those who have a sincere belief that there are no problems with the Bible will see no problems with the Bible no matter what you point out or how many times. This is not a way to answer Biblical criticism, however, because it's begging the question (among other things).
3. You run head first into the problem that there are literally thousands of Xian denominations, and I doubt that you can even find 2 people who have the exact same views on god. If the holy spirit is telling us what is right, then why can't people agree on anything?
4. Why would god set up a system whereby most people will be unable to understand his word, thereby damning them to eternal torment, especially when he claims he desires that people should not go to hell? IOW, he's set up a system rigged for failure while simultaneously claiming he doesn't want us to fail. This is contradictory and makes no sense.
5. The idea that you can't explain the point in contention unless I already believe as you do is also a cop-out. It fails from the same problems I've already mentioned. It's also a fancy way for you to say that it makes sense without actually having to back it up. Yet, there's no reason why the text can not be explained without recourse to supernatural revelations. The words written do not take on special meanings simply because some spirit has whispered in your ear.

Now, let's look at your theodicy:
1. Job? Really? Have you read the story? In that story, Job is faithful. He's faithful until god continually pushes him past the breaking point. He finally speaks up because he doesn't understand why he's being punished for being faithful and maintaining that faith throughout the ordeal until he finally hit his breaking point. That's when god bullies the crap out of him some more and taunts him saying that god is more powerful and can therefore do what he wants (as if might makes right). When Job gets the message and grovels before god, that's when god gives him replacement things (as if a new wife and children would somehow replace the old, but they were seen as property in the Bible...)
2. I find it highly callous for you to interject yourself into someone's personal life and tell them that their marriage ended because they had lost the proper faith, of which you obviously know what it is, even though many Xians out there would probably disagree with you on many points. Not only is this callous but it is highly arrogant.
3. If god takes away blessings and hurts people, then god can not be said to be omni-benevolent.
4. Why do bad things happen to everyone? You've not actually explained that. You've simply claimed it's true and then claimed that the question is somehow solved. You then went further to claim that you know why a seemingly bad thing happened to the person you are speaking about. Yet, bad things supposedly happen to proper Xians too, so how do you know why this happened to the person in question? Why does god punish proper Xians who believe as you do (since you have the infallible ability to know how to be a true Xian)?
5. You're utilizing the no true Scotsman fallacy.

That should be enough. Bottom line: you don't have any answers, you simply have logical fallacies and special pleading.