Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Isaiah 51-55

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

51:2-3 - "Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, but I blessed him and made him many. For the Lord will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places, and will make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song."
51:18 - "There is no one to guide [Jerusalem] among all the children she has borne; there is no one to take her by the hand among all the children she has brought up."

52:2 - "Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem. loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter Zion!"

Isaiah 53 - No mention of any women.

Isaiah 54 - "Sing, O barren one who did not bear; burst into song and shout, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate woman will be more than the children of her that is married, says the LORD. Enlarge the site of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left, and your descendants will possess the nations and will settle the desolate towns.

"Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; do not be discouraged, for you will not suffer disgrace; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the disgrace of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. For the LORD has called you like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, like the wife of a man's youth when she is cast off, says your God. For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the LORD, your Redeemer.

"This is like the days of Noah to me: Just as I swore that the waters of Noah would never again go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you and will not rebuke you. For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

"O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, I am about to set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of jewels, and all your wall of precious stones. All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the prosperity of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you. See it is I who have created the smith who blows the fire of coals, and produces a weapon fit for its purpose; I have also created the ravager to destroy. No weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, says the LORD."

Isaiah 55 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

I am proud to present to you God's abusive husband speech! Right there in black and white! "I'm so sorry I hurt you. I promise I won't ever do it again. I mean, not like you didn't kind of deserve it, but it wasn't a nice thing to do to you and I really won't do it again. See, I brought you some rainbows. Will you worship me again?"

God sure does give you some pretty words but, if experience can be trusted, he's just as likely to strike you down with lightning or pestilence again as he is to make you prosper and healthy. Without any warning or real reason, either. Just one day BAM! you're trying to explain to your friend why God killed all your children and struck you down with the plague, while your wife sees the abuse for what it is and your friend is busy trying to explain that your brought this on yourself somehow. God has given over his chosen people to their enemies so many times now I've lost count. And when God decides to punish the enemies it seems so arbitrary, like God just gets tired of torturing his own people and decides to punish their enemies as a change of pace.

So yeah, I don't trust this speech for a minute. God, when he's not busy being a vengeful God, is busy being a mercurial jackass who kills and plagues people when he's bored. Like a kid with an ant farm. I mean, he basically says it right here: "For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will gather you." He's GOD, all powerful, all knowing, ever present and omniscient! How does he just abandon someone for a brief moment? Is that even possible? For that to be true he either isn't omnipresent and all knowing or he actually CHOSE to ignore your suffering. Who said that quote about if Godis omniscient and doesn't help you then he's evil or if he isn't omniscient and can't prevent evil then is he a god worth worshiping? I can't find it for the life of me... I know it has something to do with the problem of evil, but all I seem to be getting on google is similar arguments but not the exact quote I want.

Oh well, point is this is something that philosophers have tackled before, but it's interesting to see the Bible practically hand us the argument on a plate. God flat out states that he abandoned his people, which either makes him a huge dick or kind of a crappy all powerful invisible man in the sky. Which brings up all sorts of questions. Like, why should I bother pleasing a God who is so plainly immoral and uncaring about my life, which he has claims to have had a hand in since sperm met egg and even before then? Or how can a God judge my actions if he seems to be unable to actually see what I am doing at all times? If it's possible for him to "abandon" me without meaning to, then that implies he can be gone and unaware of what is happening to me or what activities I am engaging in. So why should I worship a God who is the ultimate judge of my eternal soul when, in the end, he wouldn't have all the evidence to judge me anyway. And is that was prayer is for? Is it like a cellphone call to God while he's on the road and away from your general area? Is that why prayers constantly go unanswered, because God just can't be everywhere at once dammit, so cut him some slack?

Or perhaps God just doesn't exist and all of these questions are just moot? Because how are we supposed to tell the difference between an apathetic God or an absent God from a god who just doesn't exist at all?

Hm, yeah, I think I'm gonna stick with my "imaginary man in the sky probably doesn't exist" theory. Just makes more sense. But it is kind of fun to sit there and pull stuff out of my ass to try to make sense of the God that is taught in church and the God that is in the Bible. Apologetics is fun! Like acrobats for your brain! :D

Friday: Isaiah 56-60 (I can't wait to be done with this book...)


  1. Not quite what you're hunting for, but this is what came to mind for me. If you already saw and rejected these, my apologies for the clutter.

    Epicurus: "Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?" — Epicurus, as quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief.

    David Hume has a famous paraphrase just below that: "Is he willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?"

  2. Yes, I think that is pretty much what I was looking for. I kept getting the Hume paraphrase which wasn't quite what I wanted. Guess I misquoted it enough in the google search engine that I didn't get Epicurus. Thanks. :)


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