Can god lie?

Argue for and against Christianity

Moderator: Moderators

nobspeople
Prodigy
Posts: 3191
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:32 am
Has thanked: 1510 times
Been thanked: 817 times

Can god lie?

Post #1

Post by nobspeople »

Simple question, that many say has a simple answer: NO, as god is holy and pure.

But, as god is the creator of everything (before everything) god had to create the concept of sin and allow it to happen into his creation (even though he seemed surprised and upset about it, but that's another topic altogether).
Sin is defined as an offense against religious or moral law.
Who created this law? God.
To whom does god answer? No one.

It's said sin can't exist in 'the light' of god.
Says who? God.

So, in theory, god could indeed lie: he answers to no one, is all creating (including all laws both morally and naturally) and no human would be able to know if god did lie.

Or is this a concept that's not correct? And why?
Have a great, potentially godless, day!

User avatar
Miles
Prodigy
Posts: 3345
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:19 pm
Has thanked: 255 times
Been thanked: 920 times

Re: Can god lie?

Post #2

Post by Miles »

nobspeople wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 12:14 pm Can god lie?
He can and has.

Genesis 22
1 After these things God decided to test Abraham’s faith. God said to him, “Abraham!”

And he said, “Yes!”

2 Then God said, “Take your son to the land of Moriah and kill your son there as a sacrifice for me. This must be Isaac, your only son, the one you love. Use him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains there. I will tell you which mountain.”
.
.
.

10 Then Abraham reached for his knife to kill his son.

11 But the angel of the Lord stopped him. The angel called from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”

Abraham answered, “Yes?”

12 The angel said, “Don’t kill your son or hurt him in any way. Now I can see that you do respect and obey God. I see that you are ready to kill your son, your only son, for me.”


The presumption here being that god sent his angel to stop Abraham, in effect making a lie out of what god had told him in verse 2; that he wanted Abraham to kill his son, and without qualification.


.

User avatar
Purple Knight
Guru
Posts: 2112
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2020 6:00 pm
Has thanked: 668 times
Been thanked: 407 times

Re: Can god lie?

Post #3

Post by Purple Knight »

Miles wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 3:53 pmThe presumption here being that god sent his angel to stop Abraham, in effect making a lie out of what god had told him in verse 2; that he wanted Abraham to kill his son, and without qualification.
I would call this a trick, not a lie. I'm the last one to get definitional on this forum but I admit I'm a little picky about what constitutes a lie and what doesn't. (This is mostly because I'm lied to a lot and people justify it with, oh, I didn't lie, I just made a mistake, or something came up, so you can discount my whole post as being nothing but sour grapes if you like.)

Ultimately it matters whether someone was tricked or lied to, because, if you're tricked, that's technically your fault. When it matters (and this is the only time it matters) is when the letter of the law, the rules themselves, are assumed to be perfect.

If we reject being tricked, it's because we know the rules, and the makers of those rules, are imperfect. Take cheating in a relationship. The rules are, don't have sex with anyone other than your spouse. That's a fair rule but it's not perfect. We see this in the case that an identical twin hires his twin to have sex with his wife, claims adultery, divorces his wife, and takes all. Now, no sane judge would allow this to happen, because we see, the rule wasn't perfect, because it didn't account for this exact thing. In the case of perfect rules, however, tricks would be legitimate, the judge would shrug his shoulders and grant all the stuff to the husband, because the rule was fair and accounted for everything. The Non-Aggression Principle is purported to be this perfect, so in that sort of moral structure, you break it, it's on you.

In other words, when we reject a trick, we reject that the rule was fair and accounted fairly for everything.

That said, if God can trick, it hardly matters whether he can lie or not. If he wants to trick you, he will. If he wants to trick you into believing he wants you to do something, he will. Whether he technically said he wanted it or not is something of a moot point.
nobspeople wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 12:14 pmSo, in theory, god could indeed lie: he answers to no one, is all creating (including all laws both morally and naturally) and no human would be able to know if god did lie.
Furthermore, what wrong, what sin, would it be to lie to a lowly human? No more wrong than killing a lowly human. It would no more be a lie than me lying to a rock. It would no more be a lie than it would technically count as genocide just because God wiped out all of something.

We're stuck with this moral-mismatch bed because we make it. It's no wrong for me to slaughter a cow and eat it because a cow is less than I am. So, similarly, I can't claim moral rights when the being above me is greater, either.

User avatar
Miles
Prodigy
Posts: 3345
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:19 pm
Has thanked: 255 times
Been thanked: 920 times

Re: Can god lie?

Post #4

Post by Miles »

Purple Knight wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 4:11 pm
Miles wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 3:53 pmThe presumption here being that god sent his angel to stop Abraham, in effect making a lie out of what god had told him in verse 2; that he wanted Abraham to kill his son, and without qualification.
I would call this a trick, not a lie. I'm the last one to get definitional on this forum but I admit I'm a little picky about what constitutes a lie and what doesn't. (This is mostly because I'm lied to a lot and people justify it with, oh, I didn't lie, I just made a mistake, or something came up, so you can discount my whole post as being nothing but sour grapes if you like.)
Just to get it out of the way


lie verb (2)
lied; lying\ ˈlī-​iŋ

intransitive verb
1 : to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive She was lying when she said she didn't break the vase. He lied about his past experience.
2 : to create a false or misleading impression
source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

I agree, it was a trick. A trick that involved lying to Abraham. The truth was, god didn't want Abraham to kill Issac IF Abraham proved himself by obeying and respecting god; however, god didn't want Abraham to know about this little "IF," so made up a lie. A lie "to create a false or misleading impression" that without exception Abraham would absolutely have to kill his son. . . . . . . .God lied to trick Abraham.

Ultimately it matters whether someone was tricked or lied to, because, if you're tricked, that's technically your fault. When it matters (and this is the only time it matters) is when the letter of the law, the rules themselves, are assumed to be perfect.
So, if it's impossible to see through to the trick, which god would have made sure of, is it their fault? Was Abraham suppose to second guess god? No and no.

God lied. Period.

User avatar
Purple Knight
Guru
Posts: 2112
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2020 6:00 pm
Has thanked: 668 times
Been thanked: 407 times

Re: Can god lie?

Post #5

Post by Purple Knight »

Miles wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 8:06 pmJust to get it out of the way


lie verb (2)
lied; lying\ ˈlī-​iŋ

intransitive verb
1 : to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive
A lie has to be an untrue statement, this is according to your definition, which is silly because of how hard it is to judge intent, and someone can always claim that their intent was not to deceive and you can't prove otherwise. Pinocchio's intent wasn't to deceive when he told the Blue Fairy that he was kidnapped rather than blowing off school and going with Stromboli willingly at the behest of Honest John. His intent was not to get in trouble. Whether he deceived or not was not important to him. People pull this with me all the time, saying, yes they told me something untrue, but their intent wasn't to hurt me so it wasn't really a lie. It's utter BS.

https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/lie
9
noun
a statement that deviates from or perverts the truth

This is much a better definition because it doesn't require the judgment of intent, which basically requires people to admit they lied in order to be judged as lying.

But let's work with your definition, which is among the worst.

"Go and kill the purple dinosaur," is not a statement at all. It's a command. Intent to deceive? Check. Untrue statement? Nope. Doesn't qualify.

And besides that, the religiosos can always just put the best face on it, claim the intent was not to deceive, and you can't prove otherwise.

User avatar
alexxcJRO
Guru
Posts: 1319
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:54 am
Has thanked: 45 times
Been thanked: 160 times

Re: Can god lie?

Post #6

Post by alexxcJRO »

nobspeople wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 12:14 pm Simple question, that many say has a simple answer: NO, as god is holy and pure.

But, as god is the creator of everything (before everything) god had to create the concept of sin and allow it to happen into his creation (even though he seemed surprised and upset about it, but that's another topic altogether).
Sin is defined as an offense against religious or moral law.
Who created this law? God.
To whom does god answer? No one.

It's said sin can't exist in 'the light' of god.
Says who? God.

So, in theory, god could indeed lie: he answers to no one, is all creating (including all laws both morally and naturally) and no human would be able to know if god did lie.

Or is this a concept that's not correct? And why?
According to the Bible, to the prophets, to God himself God had indeed deceived and caused lies.

2 Thessalonians 2:11-12
New Living Translation
"11 So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. 12 Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.”

1 Kings 22:23
New Living Translation
"23 “So you see, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all your prophets. For the LORD has pronounced your doom.”"

2 Chronicles 18:22
New Living Translation
“22 “So you see, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of your prophets. For the LORD has pronounced your doom.””

Jeremiah 4:10
New Living Translation
“10 Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD,
the people have been deceived by what you said
,
for you promised peace for Jerusalem.
But the sword is held at their throats!”

Jeremiah 20:7
New Living Translation
“Jeremiah’s Complaint
7 O LORD, you misled me,
and I allowed myself to be misled
.
You are stronger than I am,
and you overpowered me.
Now I am mocked every day;
everyone laughs at me.”


Ezekiel 14:9
New Living Translation
"9 “‘And if a prophet is deceived into giving a message, it is because I, the LORD, have deceived that prophet. I will lift my fist against such prophets and cut them off from the community of Israel."
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?s ... ersion=NLT
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?s ... ersion=NLT
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?s ... ersion=NLT]
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?s ... ersion=NLT
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?s ... ersion=NLT
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?s ... ersion=NLT
"It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets."
"Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived."
"God is a insignificant nobody. He is so unimportant that no one would even know he exists if evolution had not made possible for animals capable of abstract thought to exist and invent him"
"Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer."

User avatar
Miles
Prodigy
Posts: 3345
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:19 pm
Has thanked: 255 times
Been thanked: 920 times

Re: Can god lie?

Post #7

Post by Miles »

Purple Knight wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 9:46 pm
Miles wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 8:06 pmJust to get it out of the way


lie verb (2)
lied; lying\ ˈlī-​iŋ

intransitive verb
1 : to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive
A lie has to be an untrue statement, this is according to your definition, which is silly because of how hard it is to judge intent, and someone can always claim that their intent was not to deceive and you can't prove otherwise.
So the authenticity of lie (the intent to deceive) rests on whether or not someone other than the liar can judge it correctly. *Sheesh*


..........I give up.


.

User avatar
Tcg
Savant
Posts: 7139
Joined: Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:01 am
Location: Third Stone
Has thanked: 1268 times
Been thanked: 1499 times

Re: Can god lie?

Post #8

Post by Tcg »

[Replying to nobspeople in post #1]

From my point of view this is a bit like asking, "Can Bigfoot square dance?" It is an interesting question though and the answer would depend on one's view of god. If god is considered benevolent then god could lie if it somehow served a beneficial purpose.

There is no reason to conclude that a god would necessarily be benevolent. A tyrant god could of course lie to confuse, torment, or even torture. An odd thought, do gods ever have bad days? Days they are much less kind than other days. One wouldn't want to get their "get into heaven ticket" punched on one of those days if they do.

Anyway, yes, a good god could lie, and an evil god could lie.


Tcg
To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

- American Atheists


Not believing isn't the same as believing not.

- wiploc


I must assume that knowing is better than not knowing, venturing than not venturing; and that magic and illusion, however rich, however alluring, ultimately weaken the human spirit.

- Irvin D. Yalom

nobspeople
Prodigy
Posts: 3191
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:32 am
Has thanked: 1510 times
Been thanked: 817 times

Re: Can god lie?

Post #9

Post by nobspeople »

Tcg wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 2:50 am [Replying to nobspeople in post #1]

From my point of view this is a bit like asking, "Can Bigfoot square dance?" It is an interesting question though and the answer would depend on one's view of god. If god is considered benevolent then god could lie if it somehow served a beneficial purpose.

There is no reason to conclude that a god would necessarily be benevolent. A tyrant god could of course lie to confuse, torment, or even torture. An odd thought, do gods ever have bad days? Days they are much less kind than other days. One wouldn't want to get their "get into heaven ticket" punched on one of those days if they do.

Anyway, yes, a good god could lie, and an evil god could lie.


Tcg
Other than 'because that's what I've been taught' or the like, why, IYO, is a lie considered 'evil'?
Have a great, potentially godless, day!

nobspeople
Prodigy
Posts: 3191
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:32 am
Has thanked: 1510 times
Been thanked: 817 times

Re: Can god lie?

Post #10

Post by nobspeople »

Miles wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 3:53 pm
nobspeople wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 12:14 pm Can god lie?
He can and has.

Genesis 22
1 After these things God decided to test Abraham’s faith. God said to him, “Abraham!”

And he said, “Yes!”

2 Then God said, “Take your son to the land of Moriah and kill your son there as a sacrifice for me. This must be Isaac, your only son, the one you love. Use him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains there. I will tell you which mountain.”
.
.
.

10 Then Abraham reached for his knife to kill his son.

11 But the angel of the Lord stopped him. The angel called from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”

Abraham answered, “Yes?”

12 The angel said, “Don’t kill your son or hurt him in any way. Now I can see that you do respect and obey God. I see that you are ready to kill your son, your only son, for me.”


The presumption here being that god sent his angel to stop Abraham, in effect making a lie out of what god had told him in verse 2; that he wanted Abraham to kill his son, and without qualification.


.
Thanks for the reply.
In this thread, we're assuming god is 'real' as many believers suggest.
In that vein, how can humanity know if god is or isn't lying? Or can't they know?
Have a great, potentially godless, day!

Post Reply