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The Will of God

Assembled with commentary by Dr. Richard Carrier.

Few ever actually read the so-called Good Book, and thus are unaware of what it really says. It is often said the best way to make anyone a convert for atheism is simply to ask them to read the Bible. This is just a small selection of passages that exemplify why, setting the framework for the chapters in Part 3 of
The Christian Delusion, though this chapter was excluded for lack of space. The following 24 passages are presented with minimal comment, as translated in the New American Standard Bible, with some italics and bracketed clarifications added.

It is the will of God to solve his problems with apocalyptic mass murder, including the horrible drowning of millions of people (including men, women, children, and babies) and billions of animals (though apparently sparing fish for some reason):

[The LORD said to Noah], “I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights. And I will blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made.” … Then the flood came upon the earth for forty days … The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered. … All flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died. Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark.

Genesis 7:4, 17-23

It is the will of God that you murder anyone who picks up a stick on a Saturday:

Now while the sons of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering wood on the sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation, and they put him in custody, because it had not been declared what should be done to him. Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” So all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

Numbers 15:32-36

It is the will of God that you commit genocide when he wants you to:

“When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you … and when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them. You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons.”

Deuteronomy 7:1-3


The LORD said to me, “See, I have begun to deliver Sihon and his land over to you. Begin to occupy, that you may possess his land.” Then Sihon with all his people came out to meet us in battle at Jahaz. The LORD our God delivered him over to us, and we defeated him with his sons and all his people. So we captured all his cities at that time and utterly destroyed the men, women and children of every city. We left no survivor.

Deuteronomy 2:31-34


Then we turned and went up the road to Bashan, and Og, king of Bashan, with all his people came out to meet us in battle at Edrei. But the LORD said to me, “Do not fear him, for I have delivered him and all his people and his land into your hand, and you shall do to him just as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.” So the LORD our God delivered Og also, king of Bashan, with all his people into our hand, and we smote them until no survivor was left. We captured all his cities at that time. There was not a city which we did not take from them: sixty cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan. All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates and bars, besides a great many unwalled towns. We utterly destroyed them, as we did to Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women and children of every city.

Deuteronomy 3:1-6


Thus Joshua struck all the land, the hill country and the Negev and the lowland and the slopes and all their kings. He left no survivor, but he utterly destroyed all who breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded.

Joshua 10:40


There was not a city which made peace with the sons of Israel except the Hivites living in Gibeon; they took them all in battle. For it was [the will] of the LORD to harden their hearts, [so they would] meet Israel in battle in order that he might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

Joshua 11:19-20


Thus says the LORD of hosts, “I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he set himself against him on the way while he was coming up from Egypt. Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.”

1 Samuel 15:2-3

It is the will of God that you can buy and keep slaves:

“As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you. Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession. You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves.”

Leviticus 25:44-46

It is the will of God that you can make sex slaves of prisoners of war:

“When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the LORD your God delivers them into your hands and you take them away captive, and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself, then you shall bring her home to your house...”

Deuteronomy 21:10-12


And Moses said to them, “Have you spared all the women? Behold, these caused the sons of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, so the plague was among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves.”

Numbers 31:15-18

It is the will of God that we kill people who have sex (except when they have sex with their various wives and sex slaves):

“If any man takes a wife and goes in to her and then turns against her, and charges her with shameful deeds and publicly defames her, and says, ‘I took this woman, but when I came near her, I did not find her a virgin,’ then the girl’s father and her mother shall take and bring out the evidence of the girl’s virginity to the elders of the city at the gate. The girl’s father shall say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man for a wife, but he turned against her; and behold, he has charged her with shameful deeds, saying, “I did not find your daughter a virgin.” But this is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity.’ And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city. So the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him, and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give it to the girl’s father, because he publicly defamed a virgin of Israel. And she shall remain his wife; he cannot divorce her all his days. But if this charge is true, that the girl was not found a virgin, then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death because she has committed an act of folly in Israel by playing the harlot in her father’s house. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.”

Deuteronomy 22:13-30


“If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death; the girl, because she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated his neighbor’s wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.”

Deuteronomy 22:23-30

It is the will of God that gay men be executed (but lesbians can have all the sex they want):

“If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.”

Leviticus 20:13

It is the will of God that you must abolish religious freedom with murder and terrorism:

“These are the statutes and the judgments which you shall carefully observe in the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live on the earth. … Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God. … Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it. …
      “If your brother, your mother’s son, or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul, entice you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods’ (whom neither you nor your fathers have known, of the gods of the peoples who are around you, near you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other end), you shall not yield to him or listen to him; and your eye shall not pity him, nor shall you spare or conceal him. But you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. So you shall stone him to death because he has sought to seduce you from the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
      Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such a wicked thing among you. If you hear in one of your cities, which the LORD your God is giving you to live in, anyone saying that some worthless men have gone out from among you and have seduced the inhabitants of their city, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods’ (whom you have not known), then you shall investigate and search out and inquire thoroughly. If it is true and the matter established that this abomination has been done among you, you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it and all that is in it and its cattle [!] with the edge of the sword. Then you shall gather all its booty into the middle of its open square and burn the city and all its booty with fire as a whole burnt offering to the LORD your God; and it shall be a ruin forever. It shall never be rebuilt.”

Deuteronomy 12:1-13:16

It is the will of God that free speech be suppressed with murder:

The son of [an] Israelite woman blasphemed the Name and cursed. So they brought him to Moses. … They put him in custody so that the command of the LORD might be made clear to them. Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Bring the one who has cursed outside the camp, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head; then let all the congregation stone him. [Then] you shall speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘If anyone curses his God, then he will bear his sin. Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.’.”

Leviticus 24:11-16

It is the will of God that you engage in human sacrifice when you promise him to:

Now the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah … [and] Jephthah made a vow to the LORD and said, “If You will indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hand, then it shall be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be the LORD’S, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” So Jephthah crossed over to the sons of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD gave them into his hand. … [and] when Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, behold, his daughter was coming out to meet him with tambourines and with dancing. Now she was his one and only child; besides her he had no son or daughter. When he saw her, he tore his clothes and said,
      “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you are among those who trouble me. For I have given my word to the LORD, and I cannot take it back!”
      So she said to him, “My father, you have given your word to the LORD; do to me as you have said, since the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the sons of Ammon.” [Then] she said to her father, “[Only] let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go to the mountains and weep because of my virginity, I and my companions.”
      Then he said, “Go.” So he sent her away for two months; and she left with her companions, and wept on the mountains because of her virginity. At the end of two months she returned to her father, who did to her according to the vow which he had made. And she [had] had no relations with a man. Thus it became a custom in Israel, that the daughters of Israel went yearly to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year.

Judges 11:29-40

It is the will of God to murder tens of thousands of innocent people just because one guy did what God actually inspired him to do (which even that one guy had enough sense to know was inexplicably unjust):

Now again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and it incited David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.” … Now David’s heart troubled him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O LORD, please take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.”
      When David arose in the morning, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, “Go and speak to David, ‘Thus the LORD says, “I am offering you three things; choose for yourself one of them, which I will do to you.”’”
      So Gad came to David and told him, and said to him, “Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or will you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ pestilence in your land?” …
      Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us now fall into the hand of the LORD for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”
      So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning until the appointed time, and seventy thousand men of the people from Dan to Beersheba died. [But] when the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD relented from the calamity and said to the angel who destroyed the people, “It is enough! Now relax your hand!” …
      Then David spoke to the LORD when he saw the angel who was striking down the people, and said, “Behold, it is I who have sinned, and it is I who have done wrong; but these sheep, what have they done?”

2 Samuel 24:1-17

It is the will of God to kill pacifists:

Now a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to another by the word of the LORD, “Please strike me.” But the man refused to strike him. Then he said to him, “Because you have not listened to the voice of the LORD, behold, as soon as you have departed from me, a lion will kill you.” And as soon as he had departed from him a lion found him and killed him.

1 Kings 20:35-36

It is the will of God to hideously maul dozens of children merely for being silly:

Then [the LORD’s Prophet Elisha] went up from there to Bethel. And as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number.

2 Kings 2:23-24

It is the will of God that he will bless people who smash babies against rocks:

“O daughter of Babylon, you devastated one,
How blessed will be the one who repays you
With the recompense with which you have repaid us.
How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones
Against the rock.”

Psalms 137:8-9

It is the will of God to make deals with the Devil and allow hideous evils to befall the innocent just to win a bet:

The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”
      Then Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has. He will surely curse You to Your face.”
      Then the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.
      Now on the day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans attacked and took them. They also slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
      While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
      While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and took them and slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
      While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
      Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. …
      [Then] the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? … He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.”
      Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. However, put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh. He will curse You to Your face.”
      So the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.”
      Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes.
      Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!”
      But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”

Job 1:8-2:10

It is the will of God to be jealous, angry, and vengeful and to cruelly bring natural disasters upon the world:

A jealous and avenging God is the LORD. The LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies. The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, and clouds are the dust beneath His feet. He rebukes the sea and makes it dry. He dries up all the rivers. Bashan and Carmel wither. The blossoms of Lebanon wither. Mountains quake because of Him, and the hills dissolve. Indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence, the world and all the inhabitants in it. Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken up by Him. The LORD is good.

Nahum 1:2-8

It is the will of God that when he commands you to bake your meals with human shit and you complain, he’ll have mercy on you and only insist you roast it with bullshit instead:

[The LORD said to me, His prophet Ezekiel], “You shall eat [your food] as a barley cake, having baked it in their sight over human dung.” Then the LORD said, “Thus will the sons of Israel eat their bread unclean among the nations where I will banish them.”
      But I said, "Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I have never been defiled. For from my youth until now I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has any unclean meat ever entered my mouth!”
      [So] He said to me, “[Then] I will give you cow’s dung in place of human dung over which you will prepare your bread.”

Ezekiel 4:12-15