The Bible and Culture

The Bible and Culture

Honest to God

Bble Lands 2010 214.jpg


There is no unmoved Mover

Who set the stars a-spin

And crawled back into heaven

Never seen again.


There is no old Watchmaker

Who wound all things up tight

And then retreated quietly


Removed from thought or sight.


There is no Ground of Being

Unearthed by abstract thought

No universal solvent,

We conjured, made or bought.


There is no Passive Parent

Who idly stands aside

And watches all our mayhem

And never smiled or cried.


There is no God of the gaps,

Who only intervenes

When nature is overwhelmed

Or humans are too mean.



Instead there’s God the Passionate

Who works all things for good,

For those who ever love Him

And trusted that he would.


There’s God the ever present

The One who’s ever there

The One who’s most pro-active

The One who always cares.

There’s God the awesome artist

Whose rainbows grace the skies

And all creation mirrors

The twinkle in his eyes.



There’s God the Suffering Servant

Who hung upon the Tree

And when his people suffered, asked,

‘Why’d you persecute me?’


There’s God who is the mourner

Sits shiva for the dead,

There’s God the intervener

‘Tween me and things I dread.


There’s God who is the lover,

And will not give us up,

He will not give up on us,

For us he drank that cup.




There’s God the recreator

Recycling all our trash

And making new creation,

From piles of dust and ash.


There’s God the marriage broker

His Son and earthly bride

The church his long intended one

Standing by his side.


We never were left

To fend for just ourselves,

God never was A.W.O.L.

Sitting idly on some shelf.



No absentee Landlord

Not M.I.A. at all

He wipes the tears from every eye

And catches us when we fall.


Some day we’ll see him face to face

We’ll know as we are known,

Someday we’ll learn what we now trust,

We never were alone.



Aug. 27, 2010



Comments read comments(13)
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posted August 27, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Wonderful, I love it and needed to hear it today – blessings to you Dr B

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Paul D. Adams

posted August 27, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Inspired, Ben. Simply and beautifully inspired.
Thanks for so eloquently touching our humanity and pointing us heavenward!

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posted August 27, 2010 at 7:53 pm

There’s God the poor designer
Made the universe so wrong
We’ll spend forever burning
If we don’t precisely sing his song.

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ben witherington

posted August 27, 2010 at 10:13 pm

It wasn’t God’s design that made things go wrong. It was our sin that messed things up. And you can’t have it both ways. If God is going to give us a measure of freedom so we can either be people of virtue or not, or be freely loving or not, then you can’t complain it is God’s fault we chose to mess up.

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posted August 27, 2010 at 11:24 pm

It was a pretty easy “sin”. Come on! Eating an apple! And we inherit it over all our generations?
Nope, that would be utterly bad design.

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posted August 28, 2010 at 5:59 am

Hi nnmns,
Are you conscious to say this? If yes, you are freedom to do everything you desire. If not, it shows you are ill.

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posted August 28, 2010 at 7:00 am

Bridge I’m free to say this. I suppose you find it shocking that someone could say the kinds of things that must occur to lots of people when they meet one of the main selling points of Christianity: the idea we are so broke we need its kind of fixing.
The concept of original sin was necessary to justify why you need Jesus’s claimed sacrifice but nothing can justify a god designing the universe so Eve’s eating an apple (or your being born because your parents had sex) would cause you to burn forever. The Christians try to whistle past that part but it’s right there in their doctrine. And it shows what nonsense is behind their religion.

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ben witherington

posted August 28, 2010 at 8:57 am

Well nnmns it seems clear that you don’t understand Christianity very well at all. Disobedience to God has consequences, because God set up a moral universe. The fact that something as trivial as an apple is involved is irrelevant. The issue is disobedience, and sin. Something we have to take responsibility for and not ignore or deny. The concept of sin was not generated to justify Jesus’ sacrifice. It existed long before there ever was a Jesus, so lets not put the theological cart before the horse. And my question to you is— would you want to live in a world that has neither justice nor mercy? I would think not. And God set things up so there can be either one depending on how we relate to God.
Blessings anyway,

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posted August 28, 2010 at 10:37 am

Ben, there are many parts of the world with little or no Christianity but with justice and mercy. Don’t attribute them just to Christianity. And certainly not to your “God”.
Any “God” that would create a species and then consign that entire species to eternal damnation because one of them succumbed to the temptation of a being which that “God” also created, that “God” would not be not worthy of being worshiped.
Fortunately, that “God” doesn’t exist.

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ben witherington

posted August 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm

You’re right nnmns….. that God doesn’t exist, because that is not the God of the Bible. You are truly confused. God doesn’t, and never did consign the whole of humankind to Hell because one of our race sinned in hoary antiquity. The Bible never claims such a thing. The reality is— all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
And frankly, I don’t find any infallible justice or mercy anywhere at the human level in this world.

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posted August 28, 2010 at 9:22 pm

You will only find “infallible” justice or mercy in your fantasies.
So, Ben, would you say people don’t need to accept Jesus to avoid Hell? Just what do you mean by “God doesn’t, and never did consign the whole of humankind to Hell because one of our race sinned in hoary antiquity.”?

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ben witherington

posted August 29, 2010 at 1:45 pm

I mean the same thing St. Paul meant in Romans 1 when he suggested that each person will be judged according to the light they have received and how they have responded to God’s light. To say otherwise is not Christian doctrine. For example, are you really going to argue that the patriarchs in the OT who didn’t know Jesus were all consigned to Hell because of that? Of course not. Indeed, Jesus in his parable of the rich man and Lazarus tells us Abraham is in heaven. As for what I meant by the ‘God doesn’t….’ sentence you cite, I mean exactly what I said. I think the problem here is you are confusing medieval Christian theology of various sorts with what the Bible actually says. These are not one and the same thing, frankly. As for infallible justice and mercy, someday we will all face that face to face. I hope and pray you and I will be ready.
Ben W.

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posted August 29, 2010 at 9:14 pm

So you would agree with me that the radio and tv preachers who claim we need tto send them money to get ourselves or others into heaven are offering an unnecessary “service” even if we disagree on why it’s unnecessary?

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