Troubled by the whole thing, I went on to read Ananias and Sapphira's story again:
Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet.Notice something about this story? Nowhere in it does it say that God killed Ananias and his wife Sapphira. That is left somewhat of a mystery, but not too difficult a mystery. I would say that their dishonesty, they selfishness, and their indifference is what killed them and God knows we can learn a lot from that kind of a story. We can learn much more from that than we can from a story about God killing people who disobey him.
Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to people but to God."
When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?"
"Yes," she said, "that is the price."
Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also."
At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.
I find it interesting that the only story that I, and apparently that the leader yesterday, could think of from the New Testament which might promote violence, does not do so. I am stumped to come up with an example of a New Testament story promoting violence. So maybe the kid got it right after all. Maybe God does not approve of violence in a world where death has been defeated by Christ's resurrection. That's the world the church lives in.
Yes. :) That, and I think God killing people is very different than people killing people. Let's say God DID kill those people--that doesn't mean he approves or promotes violence. Right?
I agree with you Sarah. That's another element I chose not to address but I think you're right. God doing something is not necessarily God telling us to go out and do the same. But at the same time it would still be problematic if God made ethical decisions that would be wrong for us to make. Problematic as it may be, I still don't see how it would serve as "proof" that God approves of violence.
Post a Comment