It could be possible that many men in history have acted as the God they perceive in the Bible, treating their children the same way He1 has and justifying their actions with the Bible. Conversely, God could be fashioned by the writers of the Old Testament to act as men already did in the ancient times. Most children in ancient times, when the Old Testament was written, were not considered to be special or worth the staggering amount of time and attention that parents lavish on children today.
Thus, I believe it is important to note that the qualifications for a good parent in this text are reflected as present-day American culture understands them. By these standards, The Lord (as evidenced from The Book Of Genesis) must be seen as a totally, embarrassingly, and unquestionably awful parent. First of all, God is a poor parent because he either lacks foresight, or has foresight and doesn’t use it. He is consciously negligent of his children. This is so in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18-19).
In Genesis 18:20-21, God says to Abraham, “There are terrible accusations against Sodom and Gomorrah, and their sin is very great. I must go down to find out whether or not the accusations are true. ” If God had the foresight to foresee what would become of Sodom and Gomorrah, as a parent, he should have given them warning or aided them in finding a path that was “right. ” Instead, God rained down sulfur and fire on their towns. However, God may have had the foresight, but refused to help the people, preferring to see how they progressed and finally destroy them.
Secondly, God is a bad parent because he is a poor communicator. He often shows a disinterest in the fragile emotions of his children, hurting them with negligence. In the case of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-16), sons of Adam and Eve, Cain was always jealous of his brother, Abel, because Abel was the first-born child. Abel became a Shepard, herding animals, while Cain became farmer, harvesting the land. One day, Abel brought God an offering of roasted lamb, and God showered him with affection and blessing.
Cain, his jealousy increased by his brother’s success, worked very hard to prepare a large portion of his harvest as a tribute to the Lord. God, however, rejected Cain’s offering, and gave him no sympathy when his countenance fell and he became sad. Angered to madness by God’s lack of love, Cain found his brother, Abel, took him into the field, and killed him. God, who does not see that He had been a bad parent, and that it was His fault that Cain killed Abel, punished Cain, and made him wander the Earth as a burden on other people.
Had God communicated better with Cain, the entire situation would have been avoided. Lastly, God is a poor parent, by modern standards, because He is the most amplified version of man. He bears many qualities and nuances that are so overly human, that if He walked among us as a man, He would be institutionalized. For parents today to be successful (“good”) parents, they constantly have to exert an inhuman amount of patience and understanding toward their children. It is rare that good parents are free, selfish, self-interested people, because this would show a negligent disinterest in their children.
God shows these aforementioned negative qualities. For instance, He uses great power, without the knowledge or responsibility to control it. This is seen throughout the Genesis, but especially in the story of Noah (chapters 6-8, Genesis). In these chapters, God sees that there is much wickedness in the world and, as though in a “mood-swing,” of rage, regrets He ever created man (one cannot blame him for this, of course. As the phrase goes, “To error is human”) and decides to wipe all intelligent life off the Earth with a flood. He takes pity, however, on a holy man named Noah.
He tells Noah to build a roofed boat of great proportions, stock it with certain numbers of all life forms, and ride out the mighty storm with the animals and his family. After the storm ended and Noah had restored all life on Earth, God once again finds error in his ways and regrets his decision to destroy life in such a massive way. God promised never to destroy life in such a catastrophic manner again. From this, we can deduce that God both (1. ) Makes errors and, (2. ) Has an inability to control His anger or harness it into a productive form.
To conclude, due to the overwhelming body of evidence presented in the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament, God is revealed as a negligent, self-interested, and poor parent, who lacks foresight and has problems expressing himself or his anger in productive ways. 1 For the purpose of this document, God shall be referred to with the pronoun “He,” as that is the way the LORD is described in the Old Testament. This is, mainly, a device of convenience and does not reflect my opinion as to whether God is male or female. The gender of God is irrelevant to this essay.