As I go around the internet reading about God, Christianity, and encountering the disbelievers, I usually notice they always come up with the most ridiculous of accusations against our faith. Recently, one of them has tried to come up with the claim that the Bible invokes God as one who sins! So, how did they come up with such a claim? Well, let’s take a look.
God told Moses that when He was giving the Ten Commandments, He was a jealous God.
[Exodus 20:4-6] Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands.
This is the Third Commandment. Now, the disbeliever that I encountered had also known of a text in the New Testament which condemns jealousy.
[1 Corinthians 3:3] because you are still fleshly. For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not fleshly and living like unbelievers?
This verse condemns envy, however jealousy and envy are two synonymous words. Paul also outright condemns jealousy in Galatians 5:19-21, so the challenge that is given is not fictional. So what is the solution? God simply does not commit the fleshly of course, and so the solution bears down to the meaning of jealousy in the two passages. There is a difference between sanctified jealousy and sinful jealousy, and that is what we are going to be looking at to solve this discrepancy.
- Sanctified jealousy. Sanctified jealousy is the natural response one has when an established relationship is violated — if a husband or wife find out that the other has committed adultery with another person, the husband or wife would experience jealousy, as a negative response to the violation of their relationship.
- Sinful jealousy. Sinful jealousy is when one covets another possession from another, such as if you know someone who is quite wealthy, and you are jealous that they bear possessions that you do not. Sinful jealousy involves no relationship, rather when one takes a look at another unrelated person and feels as if they should have or bear what that person possesses, even though they have no claim to such possessions. This is similar to what is condemned in the Tenth Commandment.
As we can see here, God’s jealousy of us breaking our covenant with Him, of us made in His image worshiping false man-made idols, is sanctified, whilst is of course not sinful whatsoever. Thus, we can see this discrepancy being solved once we take a much deeper look at the issue at hand, and we realize that we should never doubt God — who are we to doubt God’s glory when His knowledge is infinitely greater than our own?
[Psalm 139:17-18] God, how difficult Your thoughts are for me to comprehend; how vast their sum is! If I counted them, they would outnumber the grains of sand; when I wake up, I am still with You.