Ananias and Sapphira ( Acts 5:1-11 )

So what is a historical example of somebody (anybody … anybody at all! - perhaps other than the blessed Enoch) that God hasn’t ‘murdered’, Klax? I’m trying to picture what happens to those not ‘murdered’ by God. Can you you help me picture what that looks like or give me an example of one?

I agree. We should take it seriously, but not literally

I’m sorry? Intentionally assassinating ordinary people for over-declaring their charitable giving with heart attacks is murder. No? It’s not like they were Herod Agrippa. And what was his capital offense again? As for historical examples, no sorry, there are about a hundred billion people God has not gone out of His way to murder or whatever euphemism you need. As in there are no exceptions. He didn’t drown tens of millions of people 4370 years ago just to set the tone. He didn’t kill hundreds of thousands of Egyptians around the Exodus. And He didn’t kill tens of thousands of Israelites and Assyrians and allow Satan to murder Job’s children. Did He. Because Love doesn’t do that. Are you saying the fact that everybody dies means God kills us all?

its there all the time but happens as soon as you become part of him again which can be way before your physical death

Perhaps the fact it was the very beginning of the church when it happened is important? If God is the author of life can He not, on occasion, remove that life? Open theists would probably argue Peter’s understanding as recorded by Luke of what happened was wrong, that God didnt strike them down. But Im not so sure.

But it can’t happen after? Ah well.

Nothing is, can be, that important. Not to God. Absolutely nothing is worth Him being a killer. An assassin. A murderer. He’s not worth it if He were. Transcendent immanent Love is competent. They ground existence, nature and supernature. From eternity. Nothing is written. They’re not grubby like the CIA.

Hi DGX37 (I wish i knew your real name…it would make my response far more personal and less distant)

What a really great question and I am absolutely delighted to see a question of this nature on these forums. Thank you for posting it.

I have read most of your interpretation…some i have skipped over but i want to not get tangled up in your assumptions about why or why not a Loving God in a parallel lesson, would allow the Devil to kill off a Godly man’s family in Job (Satan killed Jobs family not God. Correction 1 in your reading of the scripture)

Caveat…i have intentionally not read any other answers yet…i wanted to give you my immediate thoughts to your question without influence of others. So if i repeat something someone has already written…sorry. However that should only reinforce the theology you should consider here.

Ok so have you ever read in the bible the definition of the unforgivable sin? It is lying/blasphemy against the Holy Spirit!

There is no forgiveness for that sin in the Bible. That is the short version of why Annanas and Saphira were killed. Hard lesson, seems barbaric, we cannot explain why anyone in our modern day doesnt drop dead the second they do it, however, that is the theology behind the story.

So, was it to be read literally? My belief, based on a lot of reading and ensuring that my theology remains consistent across its pages, is as follows:

The event took place because its demonstrates with a real example the consequences of such foolishness as to lie/deny/blaspheme against the Hoy Spirit. There are other examples where individuals and even entire groups of people in the Bible were immediately struck down by God. The context of the illustration and the nature of the way in which everything surrounding the event itself has been described does not allow for a non literal reading of this passage without throwing the entire bible into the fiction category (as there are too many similar illustrations used across the 66 books).

Oh an update…

my view that the importance of this in the New Testament is also related to the New Covenant originally defined in Jeremiah ch 31.

31 Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD,

when I will make a new covenant

with the house of Israel

and with the house of Judah.

32 It will not be like the covenant

I made with their fathers

when I took them by the hand

to lead them out of the land of Egypt—

a covenant they broke,

though I was a husband to them,g

declares the LORD.

33 “But this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel

after those days, declares the LORD.

I will put My law in their minds

and inscribe it on their hearts.

And I will be their God,

and they will be My people.

34 No longer will each man teach his neighbor or his brother,

saying, ‘Know the LORD,’

because they will all know Me,

from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD.

Remember Jesus said to his followers, unless I go my Helper (the Holy Spirit) cannot come. The Holy Spirit is the person who convicts us…lying against that conviction basically means we are refusing to be convicted of the Gospel. If we do this, we cannot be saved simply because we are refusing it.

I’m putting all the above fairly simply but that’s the gist of my entire response above as to why Ananias and Saphira died instantly. Some characters in the bible did not die instantly when they sinned. However, there are a very large number who most definitely did die instantly when they committed certain sins. Why God chooses those ones to illustrate “in the day thou eat of it thou shalt surely die”? only God can really comprehensively answer that. I can theologically explain why Adam and Eve were not immediately killed…if he had killed them, Lucifers charge against God in heaven would have been justified (that’s the short and simple reason why and its further illustrated by the story in Job)

you are going down a bit of a theological rabbit warren here phil…explain then the following:

Numbers 3
4Nadab and Abihu, however, died in the presence of the LORD when they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD in the Wilderness of Sinai.

NKJV uses the term “profane fire” …irrespective of which translation, clearly the fire being offered was an abomination to the Lord.

These guys were fully trained Priests. They were Aarons successors to the Priesthood and yet look at what happened to them.

The story in Leviticus 10 is also one reason why Seventh Day Adventists Doctrine says do not drink alcoholic/fermented wine. Note what God said directly to Aaron after Nadab and Abihu

Ch 10: 8 Then the LORD said to Aaron, 9 “You and your sons are not to drink wine or strong drink when you enter the Tent of Meeting, or else you will die; this is a permanent statute for the generations to come. 10 You must distinguish between the holy and the common, between the clean and the unclean,

You are blaming the wrong person here Klax. The usual tendency for most atheists is to use the claim that if there was a God why would he allow death and kill everyone and worse, allow young children to suffer terrible premature deaths.
They then say that if a powerful God could stop all of this but doesn’t, then there is no God.

Essentially you are making a similar argument theologically. Trouble is, the Bible clearly illustrates across its entirety that this is an inaccurate account of what is going on.

Tell me something Klax…is a judge committing a person to death, who has murdered one or many people, himself a murderer? Is the individual who “pulls the trigger” in the death chamber in order to carry out the sentence imposed by the state, a murderer?

I think you might be oversimplifying what is going on in the Bible story. We say that killing a person without reason/evidence and without state-sanctioned trial is murder do we not?

I think that a God who is the judge/jury/and executioner probably has the credentials to make the choices he does when it comes to Ananias and Sapphira…especially when they had know all their loves what the rules were. Same as Nadab and Abihu.

The theme of the Bible must be your first clue Klax:

God rules the universe and has a host of angels who serve him
God creates for his own glory (we cannot understand this because it seems self serving from a sinful perspective…ie non caring of others needs or wellbeing. The bible clearly says that is a corruption of Gods intentions/motives)
Lucifer decides he wants more power and seeks to dethrone God with charges of selfishness and control
God allows the charge Lucifer makes to play out on “this world stage”. What is going on here on earth is the evidence being submitted in the trial against God.
Jesus (God) came and died to pay the price for sin because God and sin cannot coexist and the law demands penalty as punishment. One must die and Christ did that for us.
Second coming is the final act of redemption…those of mankind who choose the Gospel are removed from this corrupt planet and God then completely destroys all traces of sin.
New heavens and New Earth

If you keep the theme above front and centre in your mind Klax, then despite the seemingly barbaric nature of what is going on, you must appreciate that God is purposefully not bringing down the hammer on Lucifer/Satans head. God is allowing all creation (the universe and those on this planet) to see first hand exactly what the real intentions of Lucifer were/are. Unless God allowed this to play out on the world stage, what evidence does he have to discredit Lucifers original claims? None of Gods creation are robots…everyone ever created in all occupied worlds in the universe has the same power of choice we have. God only makes one claim…He really is Selfless, Just and Loving, however, he cannot coexist with transgression of His eternal law. Anyone who does will die!

The Nuremberg executions took place on 16 October 1946, shortly after the conclusion of the Nuremberg trials. The sentences were carried out in the gymnasium of Nuremberg Prison by the United States Army using the standard drop method instead of long drop. The executioners were Master Sergeant John C. Woods and his assistant, military policeman Joseph Malta.

Were the judges murderers?
Were John Woods and Joseph Malta murderers?

To me that looked like the implication of your approach. Sort of like if I fellowshipped with a congregation of believers who believed that all alcohol consumption was a sin. But one night I go out drinking and driving, get in an accident and get myself killed. A few decades down the road, somebody writing a history about our church makes a spiritual interpretation that Merv partook of forbidden substances, and God struck him down. And their writing goes on to become sacred writ some millenia down the road. So now God is, at the very least, an ‘executioner’ (as some on this thread would have it) or even a ‘murderer’, the way you put it. In the end, though … we all get “struck down”, whether it be by disease or accident or even just … time. And if one believes God is sovereign over and through it all, then … it’s all just on God, and we say with Job, the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away.

It would seem that God is in a different category than you or me. If we give or take away, that makes us thieves or even murderers. But it is a category error to try to fit God within those judgments I think. Or maybe not. Maybe all we can do is, along with Job, shake our fists at the sky.

If He’s a killer, He’s as useless as we are.

Well and anything that you find useful certainly could not even be a small ‘g’ god, much less the big One.

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looks like you still don’t get it. in God you have eternal life. your physical death is your summon to the court of eternal justice. our category of murderer or assassin are nonsense in the eyes of God as you are called home

If God has to murder people, what use is He?

No I get you just fine. But I’m not you. Or @adamjedgar. All but universalist pragmatic literal theodicy no longer works for me.

The Love that would have to ground infinite being from eternity does not need to murder and torture to demonstrate itself. Murder and torture are human. And nobody’s fault. Cruelty is intrinsic to life. Only civil society can barely contain it. Creating Love in that image is innocent blasphemy.

Your reaction is interesting because it reveals what you value. You seem to value the life of mortals so much that ending a life is a no-no even for God.

Throughout the biblical scriptures, it seems that God has a plan that guides events through millennia. If we live forever, a few years of life are not very important compared to the eternity. If some are destroyed forever (annihilation instead of eternal hell, as some believe), they will not suffer if they die some years early. This makes me believe that ending a life is not as big thing to God as it may be in the mind of a short-lived human. Even if the length of life would not be a big thing, how someone lives and dies matters - murderers will be judged one day.

Instead of focusing on the length of a live, we should perhaps focus more on the quality and consequences of a life. Helping people live a life worth living. Considering what kind of consequences our life and actions have on others.

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As should God.

If we believe that the biblical scriptures are inspired by God and reveal the will of God, then we cannot say that God has not tried to affect the quality of life. It just comes to the question of free will - do we have a free will to do decisions against the will of God?

There has been long debates about free will on the forum. I believe that we have some amount of free will, enough to act against the will of God. Even if we get good advice and commands and would make the world a better place to live by following the advice and commands, is it the fault of God if we decide to live against His advice and commands? Should God take away all bits of free will to ensure that we all live according to His will? Then we would be programmed robots rather than humans.

To prevent the spread of cancer, there is sometimes a need to do a radical operation. When people select to live and act against the will of God, God needs sometimes to act like a surgeon - cut away what threatens the future of many. That is at least my impression. Why He does not do it more often is another question.

Not an if I believe for one moment or could be changed by a Damascene conversion, a Gideon’s fleece that carries me in absolute, total certainty, come what might, to my last breath. Regardless of whether God is revealed through Jesus, all other theology, all other doctrine, all other eschatology, all other atonement theories, all other sacred history is stuff we make up. Subjective, cultural. If there is any supernatural truth at all, it is the incarnation cycle. What anybody and everybody, including the incarnation Himself, makes of that, is weak, ignorant, human reaction. It’s entirely up to us to be the will of God. Love. He, Love never murders. We do. And project it on Him from our shrunken head idealized selves.

i always find it entertaining when people think that the prophesy to Adam & Eve that on the day they eat they will die is read that they will physically drop dead on that day.

To the Israelites you were also dead to them dead when you left the your family, not when you left them physically but spiritually,