We continue working through Pearlstein’s assertion that the Bible is anti-family. Here is the next argument in his article,
Most of us would say that incest is against the interests of the
family. Yet Lot, whom the Bible considers to be a very good man,
had sex with his two daughters (Genesis 19:33-36); and there was
no punishment for either Lot or the daughters. Indeed, it might
well be argued that Lot must have had divine help in this, since
he was able to perform sexually despite being both old and very
drunk! Of course, the poor girls had no mother to guide them,
because some time earlier the god got peeved and killed her
(Genesis 19:26), along with the two men who were engaged to marry
the daughters (Genesis 19:14).
This statement makes the assumption that all decisions made by God’s people are in keeping with the will of God.That is clearly not the case in scripture. Only God is perfect. His people make mistakes. To say it took divine intervention to accomplish this with his daughters in his aged and less than sober state is even more of a stretch. The lack of a mother points back to her disobedience to a direct command of God which resulted in her death. The men engaged to marry Lot’s daughters did not heed the warning to escape the city but decided instead to remain. Additionally, God could not find ten righteous in the city, which may imply that even these men had bought into the sexual immorality of the city. We are not certain about that but nevertheless, they ignored the warnings to leave and they died.
His next couple of examples have the same fallacy – assuming that God approves of everything that his people do. It is clear that God doesn’t approve of our mistakes. Thank goodness God can still consider us righteous in spite of ourselves through his mercy and grace.
In order to gain favor with a king, Abraham said that his wife
was his sister, and offered her to the king for sex. This
happened twice (Genesis 12:11 and Genesis 20:2). Isaac did a
similar thing (Genesis 26:6). And Lot (Genesis 19:8) once offered
his virgin daughters to be used by a mob at Sodom. (St. Peter
called Lot a “righteous man”, 2 Peter 2:8)
* Jacob tricked his own brother Esau of his inheritance (Genesis
25:31-33). Then he lied to his dying father about it (Genesis
27:19). And the god loved Jacob and hated Esau, the victim
(Malachi 1:3, Romans 9:13).
Again, God doesn’t approve of all of our actions. He works with us in spite of them to make us holy. These passages in no way, shape, or form shows an angry God who is out to destroy family. It shows a holy God who expects his people obey him.
His last example from the Old Testament comes from the plagues on the Egyptians. He makes the claim that God is anti-family because God should have softened Pharaoh’s heart in order to spare the children. What God did to Pharaoh was not out of Pharaoh’s character. Between Exodus 8:15 and 14:8 God hardens Pharaoh’s heart five times (9:12, 10:20, 10:27, 11:10, 14:8) but only after Pharaoh hardens his heart on two occasions (8:15 & 8:32) and continues to harden his heart throughout the process (9:34). Pharaoh had the opportunity to do the write thing but chose to harden his heart instead. If anyone in the story was ANTI-family values it was Pharaoh who continued to put backbreaking work on the Hebrew families and who kept them as slaves for his building projects.
If God/the Bible is anti-family I haven’t noticed it yet. Am I missing something?
Next he tackles the New Testament.