Does / can God lie?

It is if YECs insist.

Nope. Jesus simply made a prediction that did not take place. In fact, Christian theologians who are explaining this (and Matthew 16 too) have to change the words. (“This” becomes “That” generation) or “generation” becomes “race”, but it only becomes in that one passage.

I care for the truth though. That’s one reason I cannot in good consciousness be a Christian.

I admit I’ve not been interested in this thread from the start. I ask myself how do people who have faith in the presence of God come to believe they know the attributes of that entity. I’m of the opinion that the entity is either formless or incompletely expressed in every form. But I also believe the presence we feel is real, important and better thought of as a who than a what. Beyond that I remind myself what a fine thing it is that we as people have such a powerful imaginative ability. Through it we have poetry, literature and the visual arts as well as body of works dedicated to recounting experiences of encounters with that which has inspired so many to God belief.

Back to the thread’s topic. I don’t think God is an entity that uses language the way we do. As such, lying isn’t an issue. Probably what inspires the thread is the question of whether those who speak authoritatively for God and/or that which has been written and been accepted as canon can deliberately speak falsely. Short answer: of course, any of us can misrepresent the truth and some of us are quite good at it. But does that which triggers the accounts left by those with vivid experiences of God in the world, does what many feel more weakly as the presence of God - can that be false? I don’t think so.

Numbers 23:19 (NIV2011)
19 God is not human, that He should lie, not a human being, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?

You shall not bear false witness!

John 8:44 (NIV2011)
44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

A human assumption rather than a Biblical Truth? I think Not. Of course some church leaders seem to feel free to bend the truth to fit their ideology today.

God does hate sin, which includes lies, because sin hurts people whom God loves.

God sends confusion to those who hate God. However God does not really send confusion because those who do not love God are confused. God does not deceive or trick people into not believing in God. People who do not believe in God do so because they are confused and deceived.

“The heavens are telling the Glory of God.” “Only a fool says in his/her heart, ‘There is no God.’”

First of all this is not a question of deception v. truth. This is a question of relative motion, which is appears to observers as misleading. Science has given us tools for observation and thinking which enable us to better understand God’s Creation and therefore God. God did not lie if God gives us the tools to understand what God is saying.

Second, I do not think that you want us to accept the misunderstandings that the earth is flat, that the sun revolves around the earth, and the earth does not fact, while some want us to accept the idea that God created the earth in sex days with the false evidence of age as fact.

There’s a sliding scale of literal to metaphoric fulfilment. And rumours of goings on by one eye witness. So what definitely didn’t come to pass?

YECs are blessed with ignorance. I could really care less about their ideology aside from it being a poor witnesses to Christianity in general.

If God, in his great wisdom and sovereignty, decided he wanted to create for me a mature tree in my yard, ex nihilo, I am not following why it having rings is a lie or a deception. A mature tree is supposed to have rings :man_shrugging:. The appearance of age theory is untestable and unfalsifiable. It can’t be dismissed otherwise as it’s an invisible pink elephant. But so many apologists, who resort to the same type of muddy thinking when it comes to many other biblical difficulties as YECs, resort to “deception” to bypass it, which logically speaking, just isn’t there. The problem is that if they didn’t do this, by their own standards and Biblical defenses, this “harmonization” by YECs is on equal intellectual footing with their own harmonizations. But they can’t have that. It’s all about that desire for certainty.

Whoever proof-text hunts the most verses supporting their view wins? That isn’t how my exegesis works.

It is hard to imagine what a tree created mature would look like. The problem is that rings are indicative of a history. Each ring usually represents a year of growth, and the width and characteristics of that ring indicates the conditions of that year. If in a mature created tree, neither of those things would be true. It would be like if Adam were created mature, and a year later, was presented with a birthday cake with 18 candles on it since he looked 18 years old. The candles would be a false representation of his age.
On the other hand, a tree created mature without rings would also be a strange creation, and possibly structurally unsound, not having the lamination intrinsic to a ringed trunk. Interesting to consider, but fortunately as I hold those sort of things as imaginary rather than real, I don’t have to waste too much time thinking about it.

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And coming up with fake rings is just the smallest of problems. There are certain life wisdoms and knowledge that accumulate as a kind of birthright to a growing human; things a 50 year old is privileged to have experiential wisdom about that will be unavailable to 20 year olds, and that a 20 year old knows that a 12 year old just won’t have the mental shelving in place to appreciate or care about yet, and that a 12 year old knows that a four year old can’t yet fathom, and so forth. Unless God literally imparted a lot of fictional life experience into the brain of a grown Adam, he would be the mental equivalent of an infant. There would be no appreciable or substantial continuity between Adam and the rest of us such as Romans-based theology demands. Tree rings are hard enough for the YEC to explain, but they would be child’s play compared to plopping a fully formed human down who has had none of the human experiences all the rest of us lived through and learned from.


What make you think that God would create a tree for you or for any other reason? What makes you think that God would create a tree ex nihilo? What makes you think that if God created it ex nihilo that it would have the rings of a mature tree?

You do not know and we should never talk about what we do not know, esp. where God is concerned.

Exodus 20:7 (NIV2011)
7 “You shall not misuse the Name of the YHWH, your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name.

Senseless speculation about God and using God to justify our ideology is the abuse of God’s Name, YHWH, I AM WHO I AM.

Matthew 24: 26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

29 “Immediately after the distress of those days

“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

Did not happen.

Matthew 16: 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Did not happen.

Yes it did.

The Kingdom of God is already here. It came in the first century. In the same way genesis is full of creation mythology revelation is full of apocalyptic myths. The problem is fundamentalism. Take the lake of fire in revelation. It’s hell. Says hades is tossed into it. That lake of fire is interpreted as the second death. It’s why gematria leads to Nero having been the anti Christ. Which was hinted at in last weeks podcast on the genealogies. The Bible Project also has a good intro series on it.

Are rings indicative of history for all trees or or only those not spontaneously made by God in full maturity? If God did create things with the appearance of age, then a heck of a lot of trees would have been created ex nihilo and your uniformitarian and naturalistic assumptions are certainly not beyond reproach.

If God wanted to make me a tree I am sure he is capable of making the rings anyway he chooses to, including having them perfectly aligned to what the tree would have looked like if it had in fact existed here its entire life.

If I walk by a house and see a withered fig tree, can I only assume that it had to have happened completely naturally over time? I mean, a tree withering is indicative of a period of time where the tree doesn’t get sufficient water, correct? Is a withered fig tree also a deception since I would think it withered naturally?

God can’t make mature trees. God can’t wither fig trees. I don’t think God did either one of those things but all I see is a lot of telling God what he can and can’t do because we imagine deception in place of our own ignorance.

The first couple not knowing good and evil and being punished for disobedience is a silly thought. A talking snake magic fruit, surrounding myths Genesis draws on… the list goes on an on. A literal Adam and Eve is an extremely and primitive absurd notion in my eyes. I doubt there is anything historical in Genesis 1-11 and much of the rest of the book is highly suspect as well. I am only commenting on the notion that God couldn’t make light in transit, a mature tree or rapidly wither a fig tree if he so chose to. If he can rapidly wither a fig tree, he can rapidly create a tree. I am not saying he did these things, only that I don’t see the deception.

Aye, it’s a challenge to make 28:26-31 work preteristically. Particularly as you map 16:27 to 24:27. 16:28 happened six days and the next verse after He said it of course.

Soooooo, how did Jesus get it so wrong? According to Mark 13:26-27? The earliest known source gospel. Written after Matt. 24:1-27 had already happened of course, like Daniel written 4 centuries after what it ‘prophesied’. Written 40 years after Jesus spoke on Olivet.

Preteristically I can make it work, from Jesus’ hyperbolic, oracular style, recalled by only one old man after 40 years. Jesus got so much else wrong after all, He was still right being God incarnate. Where was Jesus right would be a better question.

How far do you take this?

Would the rings vary typical of trees having experienced wet years and dry years?
Would there be fire scars?
Would there be signs of insect infestation?
Would there be compression wood to indicate the lean of the tree or asymetrical to the prevailing wind?
Would radiocarbon dating indicate greater age progressing from the cambium to the pith?
Would stable isotopes such as oxygen indicate climatic temperature drifts?
Would the tree rings correlate with what is known of other history such as volcanic eruptions?

More generally…
What is the line between essential characteristics and extraneous detail?
If every conceivable detail is present in an ex nihilo creation, would the apparent age be retroactive authentic age, as actual as age can be and indistinguishable from the real thing? Does this lead to last Thursdayism?

Questions such as these lead to consideration concerning not so much God’s ability, but rather the nature of God and nature, time and process. Henry Gosse’s Omphalos hypothesis was widely rejected on theological grounds; but in his book he developed his core idea quite soundly - that when it comes to a “mature” creation, it is very awkward to be a little bit pregnant.


Interesting. Or everything Jesus said already took place and we have conflated his prophecy with “the end times.” When he said, “the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory,” the word “coming” could just as legitimately be translated “going.” In fact, Jesus is referencing Daniel, in which the Son of Man goes to the throne, not comes from the throne.

That changes everything.

But it did not exist there for its entire life, and that is the deception. God would be making something to look like something it is not. That is the lie.

The Quran says that Allah made Jesus appear to die on the Cross, but He in fact did not. Some others say that Jesus only appeared to die on the Cross. God does not deal in lies like these.

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Why would all the tribes of the Earth mourn to see Him going, from where? Or passing (by), another meaning. And when and where did this happen and to whom? In fact?

And when did the moon turn to blood? Like…literally? It became red liquid?

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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