Originally Posted by heb13-13
That's great that you and your family had a "lively discussion" about this. It is an old problem. It looks like you got your material from this article http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/bio_6.htm, is that correct? It lays out a very similar argument.
It's funny that you bring up David, because I have the same problem with the Biblical statements concerning the idea that he "did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD" -
1 Kings 15:5 Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.This verse seems very strange. If we spell out the sins involved in the "matter of Uriah" we see coveting, adultery, deceit, and murder. Right there we have gross violations of four of the ten commandments! And sense he ignored God in all this, we have five violations. And what about the 70,000 Israelites that lost their lives as a direct result of the census he ordered? And what about his many wives? Was that "right in the eyes of the Lord" too? If so, then the Christian doctrine of monogamy is contrary to God's heart, or God changed his morality.
I still don't understand why the Bible would say that Lot was righteous, let alone emphasize it three times in a single verse. And to add to the confusion, the Jewish tradition is that Lot was very wicked! Here's what the Jewish Encyclopedia says:
Lot is generally represented by the Rabbis in an unfavorable light. When the quarrel arose between his shepherds and those of Abraham (Gen. xiii. 7), there was a quarrel between Abraham and Lot also. The latter sent his flocks to graze in fields that did not belong to him; and when Abraham, induced by the complaints of the wronged owners, remonstrated, Lot showed himself rebellious (Targ. of pseudo-Jonathan and Yer. to Gen. xiii. 7; Pesiḳ. R. 3 [ed. Friedmann, pp. 9b-10a]; Gen. R. xli. 6-7). Lot, while separating himself from Abraham, separated himself from God also, saying, "I have no desire either in Abraham or in his God" (Gen. R. xli. 9-10). It was only after the wicked ("rasha'") Lot had left Abraham that God spoke again to the latter (Pesiḳ. R. l.c.; comp. Gen. xiii. 14). Lot was given over to lust; therefore he chose Sodom as his residence (Pesiḳ. R. l.c.; Gen. R. xli. 9), and his daughters' act of incest was due to his neglect. The account of it was therefore read every Saturday in the synagogues as a warning to the public (Nazir 23b; Gen. R. li. 12).It looks like 2 Peter could be propagating a competing Jewish tradition concerning Lot.
And all this leads to the one question of greatest importance. Why did God fail to report anything that would make Lot look righteous if he intended us to know, as in 2 Peter, that Lot was so very righteous? And what does this tell us about the meaning of "righteousness?" I would never deliberately write anything so confusing. Is there any reason for us to believe that God would really choose to be the author of such confusion? Why then does anyone choose to believe the Bible is divinely inspired and without error?
As for "learning from Lot's mistakes" - sure, that's great! I can learn from Hitler's and Judas' mistakes too without claiming that they were "righteous."
As for God "judging men's hearts" - again, that's fine, but why would God tell us that Lot was so very righteous if it did not show in his life? What does that teach me about "biblical" righteousness other than it is totally disconnected from the normal meaning of that word? And this goes back to the most fundamental problem I have with the Biblical teaching on righteousness and the Gospel itself. The meaning of "righteous" has no meaning when sinners are declared "righteous" when in fact they are not. If the word "righteous" does not mean, as John says, "to do righteousness" then what does it mean? Christians have invented the logically incoherent idea of being "positionally righteous" while in fact being a sinner. That seems to me to be the primary source of the moral corruption we see in professing Christians. They have no insight to the meaning of righteousness at all. It has been disconnected from its true meaning.
Great chatting my friend! Maybe this will lead to another good conversation with your family.
All the best,