Apologetics Thursday – Sproul Claims Blasphemy

RC Sproul writes:

If we took the discussion between Moses and God in Exodus and pressed the apparent meaning to the ultimate, what would it teach us about God? Not only would we think that God relented, but we would think that He relented because Moses showed God a more excellent way. Is it even thinkable to us that God should have an idea that is corrected by a fallible creature? If we entertain such a thought the ramifications are sobering.

For example, in the Exodus incident Moses pleaded with God, arguing that God would look bad to the Egyptians if He carried out His threat. Then God changed His mind? Think of the meaning of this in human terms: If God first thought about punishing His people, He must have overlooked the consequence of that action on His reputation. His reasoning was flawed. His decision was impulsive. Fortunately, Moses was astute enough to see the folly of this decision and persuaded the shortsighted Deity to come up with a better plan. Fortunately for God, He was helped by a superior guidance counselor. Without the help of Moses, God would have made a foolish mistake!

Even to talk like this is to border on blasphemy. That God could be corrected by Moses or any other creature is utterly unthinkable.”

The substance of Sproul’s argument is: “The face value meaning of the text suggests something blasphemous, thus it cannot mean the face value meaning.” This is known as the fallacy of an Appeal to Consequences http://www.logicalfallacies.info/relevance/appeals/appeal-to-consequences/ . Statements are true even if they may lead to unsavory consequences. For example, “Children are abused in the world”. This statement is true no matter if someone is uncomfortable with thinking that children are abused in this world.

The historical evidence that this event was taken literally by that generation of readers and future readers is already well documented. The question then becomes “Why does Sproul take a literal and well attested meaning and then declare this meaning “blasphemous”. Sproul is claiming that throughout the entire history of God-fearing Israelites were being fed a blasphemous picture of God through the writings of Moses. Because Israel literally believed Moses, Sproul is calling them blasphemers.

If anything, a reading that causes the text of the Bible to be discounted should be the “blasphemous” reading. In this case, Sproul is blasphemously claiming that God’s creation cannot affect God. Whereas, God defines Himself by His relationships, Sproul sees this as blasphemous.

To Sproul, if a creature influences God with an argument, then this would mean God had not considered the argument, or at very least, God did not know the argument would be advanced and cherished by God’s creature. Sproul discounts a major theme of the Bible in order to advance his own Platonist understanding of God. Sproul was hopelessly engulfed in Platonism, which probably caused God great sorrow.

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