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Does God Wish to Enslave Everyone?

03 Jan
Crowning Queen Elizabeth

from Google Images

Some would have us believe that God is actually seeking to enslave all mankind. The modern critic often abuses Scripture by force fitting ancient language attributed to a monarchy / theocracy into modern more democratic terminology. The servant of the king becomes the king’s slave, because under a democracy all citizens should be equal. Therefore, the word servant must be synonymous with slave. This is hardly true, because any holder of public office in a democracy is a public servant, but the Biblical critic hardly desires to let something like this spoil his point of view.[1]

God through Paul says that in his sight there is neither Jew nor Greek (gentile), male nor female, bond nor free (Galatians 3:28). This is the ideal from which man has departed in Eden (cp. Genesis 1:26-27 and Genesis 3:22). Yet the critic ignores this, preferring to think of God as a tyrant seeking to ultimately enslave and dehumanize mankind:

For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob. And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the LORD for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors. (Isaiah 14:1-2 KJV – emphasis mine)

The critic uses this language to claim the world will be bereft of freedom and forced to serve the Jews and ultimately God. Yet, how could this point of view express the promise of blessing going to all nations in Genesis 12:3? If one is to take one part of Scripture for his point of view, he must take all and use all to support his argument. Blanche Kelso Bruce was born into slavery in Virginia in 1841. However, during the Reconstruction he moved to Mississippi and there was elected by the state to represent Mississippi as a senator in Washington in 1874. In 1879 he presided over the U.S. Senate, becoming the first African American and the only former slave to do so. Senator Bruce governed those who were once his oppressors. Does this mean his oppressors had become his slaves? Logic alone shows how ridiculous this argument is. Many African Americans, the descendents of former slaves held public office without reducing their constituents to slavery.

What about those who belong to Christ (Mark 9:41; 1Corinthians 3:23; 15:23; Galatians 5:24)? The New Testament uses the language of a slave – doulos – G1401 (Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:10). What can we say of this? From a Scriptural point of view all men are slaves no matter who they are. When he who became Jesus was made man, he took upon himself the form (body) of a slave (Philippians 2:7). According to the Scriptures, men are the slaves of whomsoever or whatsoever they yield themselves to obey – whether to sin, which brings death, or obedience to God which brings righteousness and life (Romans 6:16; Hebrews 5:9).

The Kingdom of God is by nature a monarchy but with God as King; it is not by nature a democracy with God as President. One cannot exchange the language of one government for the language of another and expect the words to mean the same thing. The king’s servant may be a finance minister or an ambassador. However, are these positions, which are ones of respect and authority in a monarchy, positions of slavery in a democracy? I hardly think so. Therefore, the language in Philippians 2:9-13 whereby Jesus is placed in the highest position of authority and all men will bow their knee in worship and submission to him is hardly the language of slavery (as understood in a democracy), but one of respect (as understood in a monarchy). Jesus considers us his friends, though we are servants / slaves (John 15:15). Jesus has come not to oppress us, but to offer us an abundant life spent with him for eternity (John 10:10), not as slaves but as family members, the children of God (Romans 8:14-19; Galatians 3:7).

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[1] As I said HERE, this current theme about “making sense of the Old Testament God” is based upon the book: Is God a Moral Monster by Paul Copan. These are my thoughts about his book. He may or may not agree with the impression his book has made upon me, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading what Paul wrote and recommend his book to anyone who is looking for a good read concerning defending our faith.

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Posted by on January 3, 2016 in apologetics

 

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