A Question I Was Asked:

'What If God is a Liar?'



Here is the question:

"... If our only source of knowledge about God is from God himself, then we are probably already assuming that he cannot lie before we read that he cannot lie.

But is this sufficient foundation for a religious belief which will change thousands of lives? Let me give you an example. Assume I could create people (which of course I don't have the power to do so, but just figuratively speaking). In their ignorance they would know absolutely nothing about me, so I might write them a book explaining about me. In that book I might claim perfection, including the claim that I cannot lie and that I am indeed all-powerful. This would not be true, however, but since that would be their only source of knowledge about me, and they would already know that I had superior knowledge and power to them, they would be very likely to accept this to be the case.

Now apply this to the notion of God, and it confuses me. You see in my heart I know that God is a good God but my head is full of this question. Ever since I pondered it, reading the Bible has become a struggle. To simply put aside such a question is hard for me.

Would you say that the evidence is conclusive enough to say - beyond a shadow of a doubt - that the Bible is a totally accurate source about God? I genuinely believe with my heart that God is totally good; I just need to get my head to a place where it is beyond any doubt that I can trust what he says about himself.

What I'm beginning to wonder is if the question itself however, is just philosophical nonsense. How could we possibly know about God without the Bible, yet I must take God's word that it is truth. I am in a muddled state, and am in need of anything that could help rest my mind.

As I currently stand, I am assuming the truth of God and am avoiding confronting the question. Perhaps just knowing someone else has pondered the question may be a help."



My Response:


Okay. This is probably a good philosophical question.

Do we only have to take God's word for it that He is good? Do we have to accept His word that He cannot lie?

Let me approach this from a different angle: I really agree with the apostle Paul that the created world itself shows us enough about God for God-rejecters to be without excuse (Romans 1:18-20): we see all around us beauty and design, then - as human beings -we learn to deeply love our parents, our husbands/wives and our children. What parent ever hated his/her own children? So we learn about love in our families, and then we learn about the value of loyalty, consideration for others and honesty in all of our lives. Yes, I really believe that every human being learns about these things, whether everybody will later admit it is another question. When we do wrong, lie, cheat or steal there is always a 'boomerang effect' somewhere. Someone suffers. We see liars, cheats and weaklings bring turmoil on themselves and those around them. So we somehow emerge into this world which, while plainly not perfect, nevertheless appears to continually teach us moral lessons. Now people are free to ignore these moral lessons of life - and many do - but every single one of us are aware of these moral lessons. We call this 'inner voice' of right and wrong our 'conscience.' Interestingly, even people who are very imperfect and have done much wrong in their lives would generally agree that stealing, lying and cheating are wrong. Some of history's biggest scoundrels have - nevertheless - taught their children not to lie; I think that this tells us quite a lot.

So we come to exist in a world in which, apart from the good, we also see pain and suffering and untimely deaths. But I submit that the sheer beauty of this world, the family love and the continual moral lessons which life seems to keep throwing at all of us teach us a whole lot about God and His values. But then we witness hurt, disappointment and suffering, and we get to wondering why this world is good yet very definitely has evil and suffering within it. What is the answer?
Regarding the existence of anger, hurt, hatred and suffering, I think that no philosophical or religious work has ever given a better explanation for all of these apparent contradictions than that which may be found within the Holy Bible! There really is no better explanation out there which fits in with all we see, experience and hear.

Philosophy has always struggled with this dilemma, and atheistic evolution says that everything in life is meaningless and random, so why even worry? Yet the human experience of every single one of us testifies that the 'randomness and meaningless' explanation of atheism simply does not hold water. Moreover, every single evolutionary atheist must put aside his philosophical conclusions every single day when he deals with his wife and children. For he treats them with love, compassion and concern even when his whole life philosophy tells him that love, compassion and concern are meaningless, a trick of the genes at best! So the atheist must live his or her life in daily contradiction!! (As a brief aside, I may say that it plays straight into the hands of any good Christian Apologist when a professing atheist attacks the Christian God for being "unfair" - for, if evolution theory were true, "unfairness" would immediately become a meaningless term!)

I propose that only the Holy Bible satisfactorily explains why there is obviously great beauty and good in the world, alongside the presence of suffering and evil. This testimony relates how a Creator God created all things in great perfection and beauty but that a 'Fall' took place as the result of the activity of an evil spirit being. But that Creator God has not given up on His Creation and a full restoration is coming. I have read other religions and other philosophies and none of them - I repeat: none of them - provide a better explanation for the way the world is than that explanation which may be found within Biblical Christianity.

But could God secretly be evil and not good all along? Could He even be a liar? Depends if you believe that God is Creator. If you believe that He is (and you do seem to believe that), then it is surely He who will have built the love and concern into human family units, also the continual moral lessons which human life keeps throwing at us.
But why would God lie if He was able to inspire the writing of the Bible? (which your speculation seems to accept). Does not everything which we see and experience show us that liars are weak, cowardly and in moral retreat? God would surely have no reason to lie if He could do that much. But if He had to lie and made everything up then nothing would matter anyway, for - believe me - there is no better explanation out there. Yet human life seems to teach us that certain things really do matter and that certain things, or goals, are worth striving for. Moreover, this is our whole individual human experience. This is why atheists must deny the logical outcome of their beliefs every single day (of course an atheist could continually behave as though atheism is true and be an absolute tyrant, only living to molest and to kill as his moods might dictate, but since most atheists I have ever met seem to want to be successful in life, they might find such a lifestyle counter-productive).
Why do you, the questioner, even speculate on this? Because human experience has taught you that certain things really do matter. Also, if God were a liar yet created the world (your basic thesis), why would He have created a world which so powerfully teaches us that (as I stated earlier), liars, cheats and weaklings bring turmoil on themselves and those around them? Would He not have created a world in which the continual lessons and observations of life would demonstrate that lying and cheating were meritorious activities?

The truth of the matter is that a Creator God does exist and that a restoration of His human creation, through the work of Jesus Christ, is currently underway. Moreover, the truth is that God cannot lie; such a thing cannot even be contemplated within His holy character!

Romans 3:4 (b): '... Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: "So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge."'

Titus 1:2: 'A faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.'

Hebrews 6:18: 'God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.'

James 1:17-18: 'Every good gift and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.'
Robin A. Brace, 2007.

UK APOLOGETICS HOME