The Broken Promises of the Bible

Titus 1:2: “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;”

The Breaker of Promises

This post is in response to the comment by metalpants on my “Be a Good Christian: Kill Your Children?“ article, which stated:

“You seemed to have forgotten to mention the fact that God kept all His promises given to His children, all the miracles, all the undeserving mercies, and just about every good thing that God has ever done for us… Including creating us just so that we could experience life and giving us the freedom to choose what we want to follow. He didn’t need us… At all. He can live along just fine without us. But He wanted to share the wonders of life with us just out of love. Perhaps you need some more studying to do cause you’re unable to explain how such an “evil” God is also capable of being so loving and merciful. When you look up stuff on Satan you’ll always find evil. Never good. Never love. Always selfishness and malice. But how can God be evil and good at the same time?”

Honestly, I think the sentiment is quite lovely…if only it were true. In reality, I’m not sure where to begin a discussion in relation to the innumerable broken promises in the Bible, the question of free will in relation to the God of the Bible, and the third point raised by metalpants that poses the argument (unless I’m reading it incorrectly) that God couldn’t possibly be evil and good at the same time.

So first; the slew of broken promises in the Bible:  For undeniable evidence of how the God of the Bible didn’t keep all of his promises (or perhaps even most of them), one needs to look no further than the very beginning of the Bible for the first few critical examples.  These examples, by the way,  only scratch the surface in relation to the broken promises of the Bible as well, and don’t include prophecies that never came true, prophecies told after the fact, or outright lies the God of the bible spouted to his “chosen people” to get them to do what he wanted (a very human trait, by the way).

So, 3 examples, of many, from Genesis alone:

1. Genesis 2:15: “”You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

That is as vivid as a promise gets.  If you eat of the tree, I promise that you will die.  Adam actually DID eat of the fruit later in Genesis, but not only lived; he managed to live another 930 years as well!  Right from the start we’ve got a God who did not make good on an explicit promise.

2. Genesis 46:4: “I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again.”

This was the God of the Bible speaking to Jacob, promising that he would bring him back from Egypt safely.  But, in a few short verses later, we find that either the God of the Bible forgot his promise, (or in infinite wisdom that’s far beyond our understanding), or he changed his mind.  Genesis 47:28 states; “Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven.”  Jacob died in Egypt, probably wondering why this explicit promise by the God of the Bible wasn’t kept.

3. Genesis 15:18: “In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”

Wow; that’s quite an incredible promise!  The land promised to the “chosen people” reached far beyond the  modern-day borders of Israel, also encompassing the modern-day nations of Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq!  Defenders often argue that the promise was taken back when the God of the Bible’s chosen people worshiped other gods than him (although these words appear nowhere in the Bible I can find).  It only takes looking to Deuteronomy 9:5 to rebuke the rebuttal by the defenders where it’s clearly stated and reiterated: “It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

And, as stated earlier; these few examples barely scratch the surface of broken promises.  There are actually carefully-detailed lists elsewhere on the internet.  One is an article an article called “Prophecies, Promises, and Misquotes in the Bible” and another is called “2000 Years Late“.  Listed are innumerable examples of broken Bible promises are explained in detail.  They all illustrate a basic point that, no matter what any of us choose to agree or disagree on in relation to this topic, adds up to an indisputable fact:  The God of the Bible did NOT in fact deliver on ALL his promises, actually breaking many explicit promises that were made.

If anyone broke so many promises in my world, if they let me down on so many occasions, I might start to question if this was someone healthy to have as a part of world.  In fact, choosing to fall back on the nonsensical argument that we need to have a proven liar who constantly lets us down dictate our life to us would land us in counseling so we could empower ourselves to stop the abuse and better our lives in any other situation.

And this brings me to the question of how defenders are capable of dismissing the “evil” part of the God of the Bible simply because he has allegedly performed so many “good” works.  Again, when these kinds of arguments are presented, it’s difficult to know how to respond only because the basis of the argument itself is so comprehensively flawed.

There is no question that the God of the Bible not only lied to his people on a fairly regular basis, but also committed an enormous number of atrocities among many other amoral acts…that’s not the question, and the Bible itself clearly and in no uncertain terms, vividly outlines and supports this point.  The question is how a Christian chooses to justify the atrocities, broken promises, historical inaccuracies, and flat out unfulfilled prophecies in the Bible while still retaining their faith.

I was unable to do so, but I do believe that Jesus Christ was a revolutionary in ways that has been twisted into what has become a mockery of what he originally stood for.  So, I’m all ears when it comes to at least acknowledging the fact that the God of the Bible was a murderer and liar; that at least gives us a place to begin a debate.  But, when the Bible itself is rife with so many indisputable facts that reveal the God of the Bible for the amoral being he was (within the pages of the Bible as most know it, at least), and there are so many who still deny there is nothing that the God of the Bible did that might be construed as “evil,” then there’s no way to open a discussion.

And that is why I often look to moderate Christians to try to arm them with practical ideas that will empower them to take back the religion that was taken from them by extremists who have, as they have throughout history, twisted, transformed, lied about, and outright rewrote whatever parts of the Bible they needed to fit their particular agenda.

The Good & Evil God

With that in mind, let’s venture back to the question of how the God of the Bible could be evil when he’s done so much good, such as giving us these amazing lives to experience and share.    Let me use an analogy:  The  disturbing tradition (in more than a few cultures) is to throw newborn female babies off of cliffs, since male babies are preferred.  With the above line of thinking, as long as the mom or dad who threw their female baby to her death raise their male baby well, that makes it all perfectly fine and acceptable.

The problem is, is that raising one child while murdering the other doesn’t erase the fact that a murder was committed.  Anyone who would try to justify this type of activity, even if it were (and was) committed by their God, as a means of supporting their belief in their religion is most-likely too deeply in denial to see this simple truth.  And it’s that kind of denial in relation to the majority of Christians that terrifies me and makes it (as history clearly shows) the most dangerous religion on the planet, at laeast as of this writing.

The other popular argument that attempts to exonerate the God of the Bible in relation to the countless amoral actions contained within the pages of the Bible, goes something like this: “Evil is not a physically created thing and therefore doesn’t fall within the realm of something created by God. Evil is nothing more than something that is allowed by God humans get to choose between good and evil on their own.”

It’s also often presented like this as well; “God created man out of love. It is not God’s fault that man, using his gift of free will, chose to abuse that gift.”

The fact that anyone feels that all of the evil of the world can be explained away in this manner troubles me more deeply than I could ever hope to explain.  First, the statement itself is completely untrue from the start: The God of the Bible was actually personally responsible for the deaths of millions of people, many completely innocent children, in addition to countless other indisputable acts that few would call anything other than “evil.”  The fact that defenders of the Bible choose to overlook that fact in order to peddle a defense for their god is almost unconscionable.  I like to cling to the hope that we are far smarter and more evolved than this.

I always try to look for some sort of common ground to at least open a discussion on some of these core issues, so I offer this:  Knowing the God of the Bible has undeniably perpetrated so many evil acts upon his own chosen people, can we at least agree that the pages of the Bible, so rife with violence and sheer evil, might possibly have been mistranslated by us humans?

Debating this question in the way it’s typically debated is nothing more than another way to not have to address the true issue.  Instead of debating how the God of the Bible could have reasons for allowing a child being slowly tortured and raped until they die a slow painful death is  truly not the point.  The point is whether or not the God of the Bible is an accurate depiction of the being that may be responsible for our existence.

I can never figure out why the defenders of the Bible don’t come from a standpoint of acknowledging that the God of the Bible is an evil, lying tyrant, and that those who arbitrarily wrote, assembled, translated, re-translated, fabricated, edited, modified, added to, deleted pages of this book may be personally responsible for hijacking the words of a true mystic and revolutionary known as Jesus Christ.

It doesn’t take that much research to find out that the Bible is an excruciatingly inaccurate and  outdated series of amalgamations that has been mutilated by such a degree that’s been used as a weapon to justify more evil than any other weapon invented by humans or by gods.  No matter our personal beliefs, if we can at least start to agree that something isn’t quite right about the Bible, and that it’s not simply a matter of us all being too stupid to understand the vast goodness contained within its pages, then we can finally start to take back what could have been one of the greatest gifts humans have been given.

What the revolutionary known as Jesus Christ stood for is not at all what is described within the pages of any Bible I’ve read, and I’m shocked at how many people defend a book they’ve never read and a God they purport to live their lives by.

As usual, I’m extremely interested in debate, even if it’s threatening and/or mean-spirited.  If anyone reading this is tempted to write an angry comment in response to any of my articles here, all I ask is that first, (since you’re here), perhaps you can take a few minutes more to read a short article that is a general response to the angry comments I often get here on my blog.  It’s called “If Only I Knew the Love of God” and perhaps it will only incite more anger, but I can always hope that it won’t.

Keith Cleversley

NOTE: Please be respectful of the immense effort and research that goes into writing my articles.  Do not re-print or re-post any of my work without receiving explicit and express permission from me first. Feel free to link to my articles whenever you wish, and I am always available for interviews or comments.

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12 Comments

  • metalpants
    March 25, 2010 at 11:53 am 

    Alright so, firstlly, I’d like to apologize if came on a little too aggresively on my post. That wasn’t my intention. I was on “debate mode” if you will and I guess I got a little defensive. In any case, I want to keep debating with you (in a more civilized fashion this time around) just so that we can share each others’ points until we can’t anymore I suppose but this is a reaally busy week for me. So give me a couple of days and I’ll be back.

  • keith
    March 26, 2010 at 7:37 pm 

    I always hope to encourage passionate debate and hope I didn’t come off as too harsh by creating a new post as a response to your comment. I sometimes decide to turn comments into posts when they occur often enough in order to have an opportunity to offer a more lucid and explanatory response. Oddly enough, I feel that I’m far more on the side of contemplative, open-minded, and self-aware Christians than most might initially believe, and look forward to the possibility of a lively debate and/or discussion with you.

  • Ramon Arteaga
    October 5, 2010 at 3:53 am 

    I can’t wait till you die…..till we all die, maybe then we will all find out a few things…but I am confused, what in the world do you believe in? just curious

  • Mike Cordle
    December 29, 2010 at 1:16 am 

    Once I found a Bible passage that seemed to indicate it was appropriate to renege on a promise if it proved too heavy or foolish to keep. Now I can’t find it and am wondering if I’m getting my memory mixed up with a different sacred text? Do you know of any Bible verse that seems to say what I remember?

  • sexton blake
    June 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm 

    Its a pity that God is not around any more. The Israelites must surely miss his presence. Remembering how he led them in countless wars against their enemies back in the old days:the biblical days. But the Ark of the Covenant is gone, along with the radio device he used to communicate with. Gone with the spears and arrows and ram-horn trumpets. And a good thing too for the old-fashioned ways and methods that God used then, sadly could never have matched the modern weaponry the Israelis used in the Six-Day war. If God had turned up he would have been relegated to the sidelines: to sit and watch proceeding on TV like some old age pensioner. I wonder what God would have made of the jets and tanks that roared across the desert sands? But of course God is now retired: his chosen people are now on their own. And god spends his time doing what I wonder? Surprisingly the legend, the myth of God lives on. Which goes to prove a good writer can produce story that will live for ever. Amen.

    Sexton Blake

  • sexton blake
    June 15, 2011 at 5:49 pm 

    Did God forget his chosen people of did he just get tired of war?

  • Cpt. Captain C. Captain
    October 19, 2011 at 7:39 pm 

    And it never happened….

  • m.e.
    December 12, 2011 at 6:14 am 

    Hi Keith, God gave man a soul which was housed in his earthly frame the body, by breathing into his nostrils the breath of life), and man became a living soul. That soul is the real person, the unseen you. When we are talking to someone we are not simply talking to material flesh – skin, bone, flesh and blood, but to the soul of the person hidden inside. We seem to know unconsciously that inside that body of flesh there is a living soul to whom we are connected.

    When God told Adam he SHALL DIE if he ate the forbidden fruit, he was not lying, or joking. God was talking to the real Adam, his soul. To die means to be cut off from life. We talk about someone’s love dying, or affection dying for a certain thing or person, “he’s dead to me”, meaning various things to the person concerned, even though that person still is alive. We talk about feeling ‘dead’, yet we are breathing and can still drink or eat and wash.

    When we cut a single everlasting daisy off from the main plant, it immediately dies because the juice of the plant stops flowing into that stem cut we off. Yet it appears to last a very long time, even to keep its colour fairly well; hence its name. Adam indeed died or was cut off from intimacy with the God who made him. And this is shown also by the fact that God sent Adam and his wife out of the Garden of Eden never to be able to eat of the Tree of Life; so in this respect also he was cut off from Life.

    God did keep His first promise and we as Adam’s children are still paying for our father’s foolishness today. But all is not lost. Because God sent His Son whom He had named Jesus the Christ, to die in our place and quench the wrath of God against us because of our sins. Who ever (the soul of someone) lives and believes in Jesus shall never die (shall never be cut off from God who is life, again) see John ch.11).

  • Nelson
    August 15, 2012 at 3:23 pm 

    @m.e..

    Beautifully written. Totally disagree.

    “God gave man a soul which was housed in his earthly frame the body, by breathing into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. That soul is the real person, the unseen you. When we are talking to someone we are not simply talking to material flesh – skin, bone, flesh and blood, but to the soul of the person hidden inside. We seem to know unconsciously that inside that body of flesh there is a living soul to whom we are connected.” How did you come to this knowledge besides the Bible?

    As far as God telling Adam that his spirit or soul will die — well I wish many of you would actually learn Hebrew and Greek to understand the context of the scripture. The word was used as metaphor for a physical death.

  • Billy
    October 28, 2012 at 10:00 pm 

    M.E.; do you really believe what you just wrote, specifically the last paragraph? If so this is a reason I fear Christians. Essentially, your God sounds like one who has so much hate and vengeance inside him, I am having difficulty knowing why you want to worship him. You said “god sent his son to die in our place to quench his wrath”, which is human sacrifice. Knowing that, then why is it that your all-knowing God can’t come up with a better way to liberate man kind of this “evil” or “darkness” than human sacrifice?

    You spout these clear cut answers as fact but they are disgusting, yet it somehow strengthens your faith and is supposed to help convert others. I honestly don’t get it. Do you feel the Aztecs were right in sacrificing humans to their gods? No of course you don’t, because human sacrifice is only good when it serves YOUR God and YOUR dogma…LOL. Newsflash…human sacrifice is abbhorent in any culture in any religion and I feel it should be inherently disgusting to any person.

  • Keith Cleversley
    September 2, 2015 at 11:36 pm 

    Ramon,

    Nice to make your acquaintance! What I believe in is best explained at MyZen.org; one of my websites that expresses my belief system as vividly as I can.

    Peace,
    Keith

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