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Bible Study Day 4: Honorable Sin

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Genesis 43 – Exodus 6

Exodus 1:15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.”17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”

19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”

20 So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.

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Does God ever reward sin? Can God reward sin? This is a topic of much debate amongst biblical scholars both Christian and Jewish alike.There are many theories to this idea that include God not rewarding the sin specifically but the actions of the midwives in saving the babies, or that perhaps the midwives didn’t lie but were merely telling half-truths. I think all these theories are fine and can indeed be accurate but I tend to think differently in this sense.

There is a trope that exists among Christians that goes along the lines of “all sins are the same in the eyes of God”, by the way I love when people tell me about the eyes of God. This idea is used in several ways, some good like the idea that you’re no worse off than anyone else because God will judge us all the same, but some bad uses include those that use this trope to manipulate people to think that things that aren’t sins (not tithing) and say this is indeed a sin. The idea that “all sins are the same” is an obvious lie in itself and it renders God either unjust or a fool.

Think about it, the brave individuals who helped hide the Jews during Nazi Germany does God view them in the same light as the Nazis themselves? Of course not, any reasonable person would not say disobeying a rulers dictate to murder people is equivalent to murdering them yourself. So then why has this idea seem to have permeated over all these years. I think it’s because of the former idea I presented earlier and not the latter; the idea that if you commit a grave sin then you can lean on God’s “lenses” and say well I’m just like the person who lied about why they were late for work.

All sins are not the same, lying about where you bought a tie is not the same as armed robbery, God does judge us all the same when we stand before Him, but if you think God is a fool and say that all sins are the same that can incentivize terrible behavior because all the people who commit “white” sins now subsidize the terrible ones.

The more interesting question however I think is it a sin to lie in order to save someone’s life like we find in the first chapter of Exodus. Drum roll please because I may say something that will get me excommunicated from most fundamental churches because my answer is no. Imagine aiding someone in protecting their life and when asked about that person you answer truthfully and the person is arrested and murdered, would you believe you did a moral thing by being honest or that perhaps lying was actually the moral thing to do, otherwise you may as well just have murdered the person yourself.

These are obviously complex situations and with binary answers it draws an obvious line in the sand for some while it remains gray for others, what I think is important however is that we remember God is not an idiot. It is of little value to think we can see things through God’s eyes lest we think ourselves so arrogant, I recommend thinking things through yourself with the scriptures as your guiding tool as we approach more complex matters that deal with the heart of a person.

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