A Question I Was Asked:

Was the God of the Old Testament Actually a Volcano?

The Question:

Hi, I have enjoyed this website a lot. However, I have been looking for articles that debunk the theory that has been going around that the God of the bible was actually a Volcano due to the references to fire and a pillar of smoke in the old testament. I was wondering if you have heard these theories and what you think about them. I know that they are not true, but I would like facts to back these claims up.

UK Apologetics Reply:

Look, I don't doubt your sincerity, but sometimes one just has to say that a certain idea or claim is so absurd one is not going to devote too much time to it!

If the God of the Old Testament was merely a volcano, this was a volcano who could breathe the breath of life into the first man, deliver a nation out of slavery, deliver a set of Ten Commandments, give often quite detailed instructions to people like Moses and Joshua and later work with several prophets, this was a 'volcano' who could pass on detailed instructions for the construction and use of a portable tabernacle, and later, a most beautiful temple at Jerusalem, a 'volcano' who felt anger at people's rejection of laws which were entirely for their own good, a 'volcano' who sent many thousands into a clearly prophesied captivity because of their rejection of a covenant which had clearly previously been mutually agreed upon, a 'volcano' who - in keeping with prophecy (which this 'volcano' itself had inspired) - brought a large segment of these peoples back out of captivity circa 70 years later, then caused a special man, a supreme deliverer, to be born in the time and place which this 'volcano'-inspired prophecy had referred to several hundred years before this birth actually took place. Do I need to go on?

I do know that the rather daft idea that the God of the Old Testament was merely a volcano is currently going around but to assert such a thing on the basis of just a few Bible verses, such as 'the pillar of fire' and the 'thunderings and lightnings' aloft Mount Sinai, and so on, is just absurd. Sometimes a theory is so incredibly silly that it is questionable whether one should even distinguish it by responding to it. But I would just say this: Why only pick on volcanic-type Scriptures relating to God? Why not the huge majority of other Scriptures which reveal a personal, loving, merciful though judging omnipotent God?? If an investigator is gathering evidence, it is a well-established principle that everything must be considered, not just certain selective bits in order to fit some favoured (or, latest) theory!

If I stated - on several occasions - that I would like to sweep filth off the internet (which I would), would that make me some sort of cosmic or electronic super-sweeping brush? Hardly! A person might spend hours - I suppose - looking at the thousands of words which I have written over the last ten years or so, and find a few which might fit in with the (plainly deranged) theory that Robin Brace is not a human person, but a cosmic/electronic super sweeping brush - but that would not alter the fact that I am quite an ordinary person of the Homo sapiens sort!

The revelation contained within the Bible is plain enough for everyone, it is expressed in plain human language, but if people don't like that revelation, or just love coming up with very odd theories there is little one can do about that. What more can one say? The idea that the God of the Old Testament is based on belief in a 'god of fire' or a volcanic deity is just absurd beyond belief. Unfortunately you and I just have to accept that people who have no belief in an all-powerful God are just going to keep coming up with these various rather daft ideas.

Robin A. Brace. June 11th, 2012.