17 February 2009

Remember Lot's Wife (Forget Jesus)

Although this is God's fourth killing event, it is the first of God's 2,552,452 countable victims.

It's interesting that God's first countable victim is unnamed. God killed Mrs. Lot without even knowing (or at least telling us) her name.

And what was it that got God's attention? What did she do that caused him to kill her?

She looked back at the place she had lived all her life. She looked back as her family, friends, and neighbors were being smashed and burned to death by God. She looked back.

But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. Genesis 19.26
And, of course, the angel told her not to.
The angels hastened Lot, saying ... take thy wife, and thy two daughters ... Look not behind thee ... lest thou be consumed. Genesis 19:15-17
Or did he?

Who was the angel talking to here? To Lot alone or to him and his family? And if it was to Lot alone, did Lot tell his wife? Would it matter to God if no one bothered to tell her? Would he kill her anyway?

Who knows? Or cares? A God who would kill a woman for looking back as everyone she has ever known [except for her “just and righteous husband” (2 Peter 2.7-8) and her father-fucking virgin daughters (Genesis 19.30-38)] is being burned to death, is a monster God. An arbitrary, random killer.

I have met Christians who ignore this story, as they ignore pretty much everything else in the Old Testament. They sometimes call themselves "Red Letter Christians," meaning that they base their beliefs on the words of Jesus.

But Jesus believed in the story about Sodom and Gomorrah; he believed in the story about Lot's wife. He saw nothing wrong with any of it. In fact, he said that when he returns at the end of the world it will be just like that. You can check for yourself in your Red Letter Bible.
As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. … Remember Lot's wife. Luke 17.26-32
Jesus had no problem with God's first two mass murders (the flood of Noah  and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah ), or with God's killing of Lot's wife. It'll be just like that at the end of the world, if Jesus has anything to say about it. He is just as nasty as the Old Testament God. Maybe nastier.

So remember Lot's wife. And forget Jesus.

God's next killing: The Shechem and Dinah love story/massacre

22 comments:

FrodoSaves said...

I think the real question here is how dehydrated must Lot's wife have been with all that sodium chloride in her? Early evidence against eating too much red meat? Eh? Eh?

Good post. I just watched Religulous, so the Lot/angels/raped daughters thing fits in nicely with it.

Thanks!

matt311 said...

Now that you've framed it in that manner, I suppose God did Lot's wife a favour, considering she was married to a man who would offer up her daughters to an angry mob and had spawned two daughters who engaged in incest. Geez...

I suppose it's sort of like me looking back as my hometown is suddenly burnt to a crisp by the wrath of a vengeful god. She was killed because she was only being human.

I Am said...

Excellent post. I've heard a number of times the line that Jesus and/or New Testament is better, that they're what really count, not the Old Testament. I'll have to remember this passage the next time Old vs. New Testament comes up.

These verses from Luke show that Jesus is not only acknowledging two unjust massacres and one unjust murder by his Father in the Old Testament, Jesus is saying it will be just like that when he returns, too.

Like Father, like Son, I guess.

FrodoSaves said...

If by "being human" you mean "disobeying god by being a feckless sinner", then yes, she was killed because she was just being human.

Isn't the Old Testament fun?

Jonathan Bennett said...

Wow.. that God would have been a really nasty bastard if he actually existed.

But he doesn't.

And all this story about Lot might have just as well been written by the Brothers Grimm.

Perhaps I should found a Religion based on Snow White? Who knows, with enough money and 2,000 years of indoctrination, the sky's the limit!

catermark said...

Romans 9:20 (King James Version)

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
---------------
In other words, if you are the creation and God is the creator, who are you to judge how the creator of the creation decides to make the clay?

Weather it is unto obedience or unbelief unto destruction?

Who are you to judge how God destroys or saves that which he created?

Finally,if thou art so headstong against the words of the bible, you attest to it`s correctness otherwise you would not say anything, because to believe it.

legardien23 said...

Catermark,

Your point would be valid, were it not for the TREMENDOUS logical leap you make at the very beginning.

If.

You know how stupid you think those ancient Greeks and Romans were for actually believing in those mythological gods? You ever actually laugh at the nonsensical story of Zeus appearing as a cow?

Yeah, that's us. Laughing at you.

Markus Arelius said...

And Lot said to his wife: "Whatever you do, my love, don't turn the other cheek...oh damn!"

Toby said...

I love the blog. I try to get over hear for a Bible study at least one a week. Best Bible study I've ever attended and sadly in my 32 years, there have been a lot of them.

LoveGod said...

I’m not sure you will want to post this as it is rather long. But I have read some of your blog entries of the years, and they are just so far off from any kind of real analysis, I felt I’ll respond to the latest one. It is unfortunate that you are so judgmental of Christians and the Bible. Most Christians do not ignore the OT. Not sure where you get this stuff? Christ is both the source and fulfillment of the OT promises, the law and God's never-ending mercy. On subject of Lot and his wife: It seems YOU are the one ignoring most of the OT. It’s clear you have no understanding of what came before this event (or after really). Now to the specifics:
1. Lot's wife did NOT in fact live in Sodom all her life. Originally they all lived with Abraham together in one territory (Lot is Abraham's nephew). When both families got so big and disputes broke out, Abraham generously offered Lot first choice of ANY of the land he wanted (although Abraham had the right/authority to choose first).
2. So what does Lot choose? To live with the most wicked people around! The moment Lot has the freedom to choose, he shows his propensity to choose evil. And you see that in his descendents, i.e. with the daughters' sinful behavior, etc.
3. Ok, so Lot gets his pick of the best and it turns out Lot likes evil places. But guess what else? Lot had already been rescued once by Abraham. He rescued Lot and his family and many inhabitants of Sodom, when their city was attacked & plundered by their enemies. See Gen 14. See God was very good to Abraham and Abraham was very good to others, even those who weren’t that great to begin with. One could argue that Lot could have repented at that point and NOT gone back to Sodom. In a sense, he had already been saved from Sodom and he went right back!
4. But Lot never repents & never changes and neither does anyone in Sodom! They continue to be wicked. By the time God intervenes, you can see Sodom's state of wickedness and the influence it had on Lot by the way the city's inhabitants want to rape the messengers and he offers up his only daughters in Gen 19! Lot is no better at this point than the inhabitants. This is just the way things are done in good ol Sodom! This was a nasty, nasty place.
5. So, God felt it better that a people so evil be destroyed. Would it be a merciful God who does nothing and allows these evil people to continue their evil against each other and others? I find it ironic that you choose this episode, the destruction of Sodom and Lot's wife as a model of God as a "monster God, an arbitrary, random killer"! This is probably one of the best examples in the bible of God specifically, righteously destroying wickedness! God is not being arbitrary or random at all in this instance.
6. Not only that, but God is SO merciful, he ALREADY said he would NOT destroy the town if only 10 good people could be found! See Gen 18:32. Only 10! And guess what? Even Lot's family wasn’t good, nor did they make up 10! God saved Lot and his wife and daughters out of kindness to Abraham! See Gen 19:29: “But God had listed to Abraham’s request and kept Lot safe, removing him from the disaster that engulfed the cities on the plain.”
7. But that brings us to the destruction and Lot’s wife. What is the scripture saying here? That she missed her home? No! Lot's wife turned back! She wants to go back to an evil, disgusting place that is about to be destroyed rather than be rescued by God!! Huh?? Even if she wasn’t a good person, wouldn’t that just seem ah, stupid?
8. But it wasn’t just stupidity, nor as you try to infer, was it ignorance. Oh, did she know? Did the angel tell her? Please READ the scripture YOU quoted: Gen 19:16 makes it VERY clear the angels were speaking to them all: “While Lot hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of HIS WIFE and two daughters...Run for YOUR lives, don't look back or stop!"
9. One other smaller point, when you say God did not even know Mrs. Lot’s name - that is not true. Just because it is not recorded by this writer in the bible, that does not mean GOD did not know her name. Other scriptures make it clear that God knows each of us before we were born (Jer. 1:5 and Psalm 139) and that he calls each of us by name. See:
a. Isaiah 43:1-3: “But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine’.”
b. Christ emphasizes this as well: "The sheep listen to the voice of the shepherd. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out." John10:3. Who is the Shepherd? Christ! See John 10:11. Who are the sheep? Even the OT notes we are the sheep. Psalm 100: 3: “Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”
10. Look at it this way, Lot’s wife was not innocent and neither are we. Lot’s wife was disobedient and her heart was bent on evil, not God. What happened to Lot’s wife is not just a literal recording of an event, like a news article, but a metaphor for us all! So, yeah Jesus gets it right!! Don't turn back to that nasty evil place. "let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot's wife." Luke 17:27-32. Luke, a new Christian, who did not ignore the Old Testament gives us this as a warning. You are in error and have really missed the point of the story. The point is God saves. God rescues. Choose to be rescued, dummy!
If you want to argue with God, you gotta do better than this. But, I will agree with you on one point: Remember Lot's wife.

uzza said...

Everyone please stop blaming the victims. The Bible's whitewashing of Lot's incestuous rape of his two daughters is exactly what any D.A. hears whenever some creep is pulled in for raping a little girl. He is absolutely blameless, she is an evil slut, it's entirely her fault, etc. Anyone who cannot see through such a stereotypical, transparent excuse has no clue of what goes on in the real world.

FrodoSaves said...

LoveGod,

What happened to Lot’s wife is not just a literal recording of an event, like a news article, but a metaphor for us all!

Know many people who have literally turned into a pillar of salt, do you? Or was that a column? I'm awfully sorry, I know it makes a huge difference.

In isolation, your explanations might make a trifling bit of sense. But as we're always reminded, we're supposed to take the Bible in its greater context, aren't we? Perhaps you'd like to shed some light on the reason why god chose to create us all in the first place, then create sin, which - if you believe the predestinationalists - man had little hand in choosing to engage in, time and time again, and yet somehow manages to remain responsible. Maybe you'd like to explain why, returning to Lot's wife, she had to bear ultimate responsibility for something which was - in its greater context - entirely of god's creation. I could go on, but I expect by now you're quite aware that anything you could respond with will be thoroughly unconvincing.

Please, take your time.

FS

Dave said...

One small question, LoveGod…

The verse says “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”. How do you go from “looked back” to your version “turned back” and somehow deduce that she wants to return to Sodom? That’s a stretch of convenience not supported by scripture. The word used for look, according to my concordance, is “nabat” which means “a primitive root; to scan, i.e. look intently at; by implication, to regard with pleasure, favor or care:--(cause to) behold, consider, look (down), regard, have respect, see.” I see nothing here that says she “turned back”, let alone expressing any desire to return. Did you modify in your mind the meaning of words here as a form of cognitive dissonance?

Jessica said...

That's a good point, Dave, I went shuffling through concordances and found the same meanings of "look, see, show regard to." To me, though, that bolsters rather than undermines LordGod's point - Lot's wife looked back towards Sodom with regard and pleasure despite the terrible things practiced there. I don't find it difficult to move from 'looking upon the city with pleasure' to 'wanting to return given the chance,' but even without that jump we still have her liking the city despite its evil. Does that seem less cognitively dissonant, or have I missed something?

This is an excellent conversation, thank you.

Markus Arelius said...

What amazes me is how de-sensitized we all are about these extraordinary events on the Old Testament. Just think about what it must have been like. These people in Sodom in Gommorrah were brutally and painful destroyed as a result of God's wrath? There must have most certainly been innocent people living in these cities, young children, babies, mothers, etc. It's awful to think a love and just God could cause such wanton destruction.

It's not unlike the response to the tsunami in the south Pacific years ago. Innocent people suffered horrible, painful and brutal deaths under the waves, bone-crushing debris and collapsing buildings. Then Austrian Bishop Ludwig Schwarz calls this cataclismic natural event "God's punishment for human sinfulness and homosexuality"! Hundreds of young children and mothers died in this disaster.
I was a Christian at one point, but this kind of God speak disgusts me and I don't wish to be remotely associated with people who believe such extraordinary stupid claims.

Andy said...

This kind of fatuous, gullible, irrational apologisticism(itudinositiness?) always cracks me up:

LuvGod said: "5. So, God felt it better that a people so evil be destroyed. Would it be a merciful God who does nothing and allows these evil people to continue their evil against each other and others?"

Um... yes? Duh? (Overlooking for the moment the inane implication that an omnipotent Gawd can somehow only manage to think of those two options.) Slaughtering everyone indiscriminately is not 'merciful'. I suppose you could try to argue that it's 'just', for some sick, twisted meaning of the word 'justice', possibly, maybe, but not 'merciful'. Unless you have no clue at all what the word 'merciful' means. Look it up.

Were all the babies in Sodom and Gommorrah wicked too? The kitties and puppies?

Timothy said...

"but even without that jump we still have her liking the city despite its evil." - Jessica
I live in a place I absolutely hate, it's way too hot for my comfort, I hate the city to begin with, and given the first chance, I'm moving away(I'm in college, and so funds are a bit lacking, and I'd prefer to not make any huge life-changing decisions right now...). Does that mean I can't look back and find a bit of remorse in the fact that I'm leaving a place I've spent years of my life in? Not at all. And I probably will, but ultimately will end up leaving it behind and heading to better places, and might never come back. Considering the fact that she now will never have the chance to come back, whether or not she wants to, on top of the fact that they had lived with these people for awhile, probably not just keeping to themselves, and so they knew these people and probably had a few memories from them and now knowing they are being brutally slaughtered( that's a fairly accurate depiction of raining fire on someone...). Her only crime was not blindly following what two angels told them Yahweh told them to do. As usual, Yahweh punishes thought.

Curtis said...

The arguments in this post are interesting.

For arguments sake if we accept the fact that God was able to make fire rain from the sky, flood the Earth or turn a woman into a pillar of salt then we have to accept the creation stories (for the argument).

If God created Sodom and Lot and his wife why can he not destroy them if he is displeased?

The tenor of the blog and the replies have read seem to imply that God is unjust. If he created them then its not unjust for him to destroy them.

If we are trying to use the text of the narrative to prove that God is just or unjust you cannot introduce concepts from outside the narrative.

Steve Wells said...

Curtis,

"If God created Sodom and Lot and his wife why can he not destroy them if he is displeased?"

I suppose he can if he wants to. But just because he can do it, doesn't make it right.

Why did he choose to kill Lot's wife for looking back, but not Lot for offering his daughters to a sex-crazed mob of angel rapers and then getting drunk and impregnating them? Why does he consider Lot a just and righteous man?

Do you think Lot was a just and righteous man, Curtis?

Would it be OK for God to burn someone alive and then burn them forever in hell for no reason at all? Would it be OK for him to do that just for the fun of it?

Do you have any moral sense at all, Curtis?

Xolotl-Tzin said...

Why did he choose to kill Lot's wife for looking back, but not Lot for offering his daughters to a sex-crazed mob of angel rapers and then getting drunk and impregnating them? Easy. I will answer this question, not with Christian theology nor with anything about "God".

The answer to way Lot offered his daughters up rather than his guest angels has been hotly debated. But to anyone familiar with Mesopotamian customs at the time its quite obvious... In ancient Mesopotamia Hospitality laws, the guest was of utmost importance. It would be rude for Lot to let the guests be treated that way. (See here. Pg. 19-20for a detailed explanation.) Gods even followed these rules. There was several times where Inanna broke them, however.

BC Falls said...

I think the main point here is Satan wanted both Lot and his wife for their inequities but God would not let Satan kill Lot. God is merciful and allowed Lot to live.

XO said...

God is not ignorant of outcomes.

1. Most often kids become what their parents are (out of choice). I've witnessed this numerous times. Though the parents were the 1st to take steps towards evil, would the kids have made a different choice had they preceded their parents? Most humans choose a destructive evil path. We see this in the events leading up to the flood (and throughout the Bible). Christ also points this out in Matthew 7:13. God chooses when, where and what patrents bring us into this world.

Growing up in a poverty stricken Harlem in the 70's-80's, it was clear that many wanted to continue on in the lifestyle of their parents. However, there were a few who ended up as collateral damage. Jump from a tall enough cliff, you'll die. Jump from a cliff with a baby in your arms, you'll both die. Through God's grace, I choose otherwise. And sadly, I'm one of the few who are still amongst the living from that generation.

It's not about how much or how little we sin, it's the fact of sin. And we all are what we will eternally become (and God knows this). We limit ourselves to chronological time. God does not operate according to a clock.

2. During my formative years I prayed to God for death, to escape the horrible abuse I was subjected to each day. I've learned later on that God (in His mercy) does this on occasion cf. Isaiah 57:1-2. God took King David's son (early), only to reunite them both later (after the 1st death).

So (it can be argued from Scripture) that some of the young (who would have grown up to be righteous) were simply spared the torment of evil: 2 Peter 2 7,8

Some of the young (who would grow up to be evil) were allowed to exist: Romans 9 22-24

Some of these ancient cultures (according to Biblical and secular accounts), that weren't dealt with early on, took things further in subsequent generations e.g., sacrificed children, committed acts of cannibalism.

Do we blame the US for going into Afghanistan? Was there collateral damage (young children, pregnant women being killed)? Is the US capable of preventing the youth from filling the shoes of their parents? Or have they opened up a can of worms and gotten into a mess Israel has been dealing.

3. Is death the end? Is it really all that bad relative to eternity? Scripture mentions not to fear the one who can destroy the body, but fear Him that can destroy both body and soul. Death of the flesh is not an end-all. Eternal judgment that can result in a 2nd death is what ultimately matters.

4. On Lot and his daughters:

Scriptures clearly indicate that Lot was drugged. He had no recollection of what his daughters did.

What is grace? God grace doesn't cover everyone. It does cover ignorance. On occasaion, it even covers willful acts of sin. It will not cover the reprobate. Was Lot a riteous man? Parallel Peter and Judas. They both betrayed, they both felt guilty, they were both influenced by the devil. Christ prayed for one, and told the other to do what he had to do. What was the subtle difference between the two?

Also, Lot's daughters did not have sex with their father out of lustful intentions either, their motivation was to have children. Big difference.

If you are going to critique the Bible, do consider its rules as well.