172 – THE IMAGE OF GOD 2
Jehovah god hurt the nations with terrible and devastating plagues, which he called his armies. He would send clouds of locusts, plant louse, and caterpillars: an infinite number of plagues which modern insecticides are not yet able to destroy (Joel 2:26). He would hurt with malignant diseases that destroyed entire populations. Jehovah resorted to every evil weapon of destruction against his own people: “I will heap misfortunes on them; I will use My arrows on them. They shall be wasted by famine, and consumed by plague and bitter destruction; and the teeth of beasts I will send upon them, with the venom of the crawling things of the dust” (Deut. 32:23-24). It was an unequal war between an all-powerful god, and defeated and unprotected men, which Jehovah called worms (Job 25:6). Jehovah carelessly killed old and young, virgins and mothers with nursing babies. Jehovah gave this order to Saul: “Now go and strike Amalek, and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey” (1 Sam. 15:3). Jehovah gave this same command to Moses and to Joshua (Num. 16:27; Deut. 2:34; 3:6; Josh. 6:21). The innocent were killed together with the guilty, and the righteous with the unrighteous. “Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey” (1 Sam. 15:3). This same command was given to Moses and to Joshua (Num. 16:27; Deut. 2:34; 3:6; Josh. 6:21). The innocent were killed with the guilty, and the righteous with the unrighteous. “And say to the land of Israel, “Thus says Jehovah, ‘Behold, I am against you; and I shall draw My sword out of its sheath and cut off from you the righteous and the wicked. Because I shall cut off from you the righteous and the wicked, therefore My sword shall go forth from its sheath against all flesh from south to north” (Ezek. 21:3-4). There is a proverb that says: “A craftsman that makes one basket, makes a hundred.” What does this mean? A soldier under the command of Jehovah, coming into Canaan, would get to a house. At the door, the father protecting the family is soon cut to pieces and killed. The soldier goes in and sees the mother with her arms tightly around her children, a little one in her arms. The soldier, in obedience to his god, beheads the children that cling to their mother, and then cuts them through their bellies, tearing their flesh. After three or four houses, this soldier has so lost his conscience and mercy that he is become like an animal.
In our days, a convert to Christianity, hearing the message of the infinite and inscrutable love of God, the Father, manifested in Jesus Christ, when he reads the Old Testament, he is shocked with these horrible crimes against human life, and asks, “Why was God so hard, cruel and insensitive before Jesus, and is so loving and merciful now?” The explanation is always the same: “Men were cruel and hard as rocks.” The new convert, goes on to ask, “How did that happen?” The answer is, “That happen with the fall of Adam. The serpent deceived Eve and she sinned, eating of the tree of science. All men inherited the sin and became evil and wicked. The new convert asks again, “Are there any evil and wicked men today?” Of course there are, answer the doctors. “Why is there grace and forgiveness for the wicked after Christ through repentance, and before Christ there was none? Does God love the ones who were born after Christ, and did not love the ones who were born before Christ? He treated men with hatred and fury before, and changes to kindness and love afterwards?” And the new convert goes on questioning, “Why God, being so sublime, reacted to evil with like evil? Was not God hard and wicked when he killed children from their mother’s bosom?” Harshness does not bring in good results. Violence brings on violence. Repression is like the waters of a dam. One day the barricade of prohibitions breaks up. The law prohibits, but does not educate. The teacher of the Bible gives more explanations, “These are the mysteries of God.” Paul said, “I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think” (Rom. 12:3). When men became more capable and rational God sent his Son with the message of love (John 3:16-17). The new convert asks, “Are you defending the theory of evolution of Jean Batiste Lamark (1,744 through 1,829)?” In his book “THE ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES”, published in 1,859, he declares that the more capable alone survive: betterment happens through natural selection. Genetic mutations occur as a result of use and disuse, and the transmission of acquired characteristics. It is the law of adaptation. If it is so, man was not created in the image of God, but this image was smeared by the sin of Adam and Eve, and God sent his Son in the fullness of time, to regenerate men through saving them. The new convert continues, saying: “Two more questions: Prisons are overfull with men which are true monsters: rapers of children, fratricides, homicides and parricides, perverted, serial killers, cold and insensible corruptors, without any human feeling. They are true beasts. These have a chance to salvation, but the ones who lived before Christ did not have this chance, even the many righteous, as History and the Bible register?” Their answer: “The secret things belong to Jehovah our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever” (Deut. 29:29). The new convert asks a last question: “Is it not true that the less gifted and able deserve a better attention and care? The evangelist Luke reveals to us that God is good even to the evil and ungrateful (Luke 6:35). Being so, why God, who is the Father of lights, and giver of the perfect gifts, treated those poor needy men so cruelly, which, instead of love, received condemnation? Could it not be the case that some usurper taking the place of God treated sinners with tyranny, and that God permitted that, so that the angels and their evil and satanic master would materialize their nature through evil works, in order to be judged by men, as Paul says in 1 Cor. 6:3 ?
Could it not be that God, the Father, did not manifest himself to men before Christ, so that he would not be confused with the usurper? When men called Jesus good Master, he said: “Good? The Father is good, not me.” And Jesus said further: I came to reveal the Father. “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son, except the Father, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27). “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). “No one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6
by PASTOR OLAVO SILVEIRA PEREIRA