Tower To Truth Question:
14. Why did God encourage Abraham & Sarah to lie in Abra. 2:24? Isn’t lying a sin according to the 10 commandments? Why did God tell Abraham and Sarah to lie when 2 Nephi condemns liars to hell?
In the Bible, there are accounts of God commanding or approving less than complete disclosure. These examples seem to involve the protection of the innocent from the wicked, which fits the case of Abraham and his wife nicely.
To learn more: Why would Abraham lie?
Another example of FAIR not living up to their acronym. I can only wonder how frustrating it must be for them to find ways to rationalize their beliefs and how exhausted they must get after all the mental gymnastics they have to go through to fit the Bible into their doctrine. Let’s look at what you’ll find at “Why would Abraham lie?”
First, they say
Critics fail to note that the Bible records Abraham’s lie to Pharaoh, and then God rewards the lie (see Gen. 12:17). This seems a strange action if God disapproved their action.
Furthermore, there are times in the Bible when God has commanded His prophets to protect the innocent by giving the wicked less than the whole story.
For one thing, God did NOT reward Abram’s lie–which wasn’t really a lie, since Sarai was indeed his half-sister. That said, there could not be a more twisted misuse of this Scripture. In Genesis 12:17, Pharaoh finds out he has been lied to when God brings plagues upon his house. This was not a reward for Abram! In fact, what this did was to expose Abram for being a liar, and made him lose credibility in Pharaoh’s eyes. Genesis 12:18-20—18 And Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’? I might have taken her as my wife. Now therefore, here is your wife; take her and go your way.” 20 So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they sent him away, with his wife and all that he had. Now, notice something here. Pharaoh, even after he finds out that Sarai was Abram’s wife, sends her back to him. He could have still kept her, but he didn’t. Why? I believe that God was not so much punishing Pharaoh as he was making Abram look smaller in Pharaoh’s eyes because of Abram’s deceit. Imagine how much better things would have worked out if Abram would have trusted God instead of trying to work things out on his own by lying (Also, consider what happened when he tried to “help God” by sleeping with Hagar.). I truly believe that God would have protected Sarai if Abram would have been honest.
Next up, they mention the Hebrew midwives hiding the male children from Pharaoh. That somehow this is supposed to justify their twisted “Book of Abraham” account of God “commanding” Abram to lie. They say,
The midwives are confronted with a command from the head of state which offends their personal/professional morality. They decline to participate, and actively deceive the Pharaoh–they even lie to him or his officers so that the deception may continue, as well as to (one assumes) spare themselves his punishment. The subsequent verses indicate God’s approval of their action. (See Ex. 1:20).
Honesty to the wicked is not the primary moral value: obedience to the
will of God is.
Another example of their lack of biblical scholarship. After all, did any of the apostles lie about Christ when they were brought before the Jewish authorities? Was Stephen less than truthful when rebuking the Jews, even when they were taking him out to stone him? It would not take a lot of resaerch to find the apostle’s answer to the officers of the temple when they tried to stop the apostles from preaching Christ. Acts 5:29—But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” You see, the head of every government is God (See Romans 13:1-4). So when the government tells us to do something, we should examine whether that order contradicts the word of God. If it does, we should obey what God says rather than man, because God is over every government on earth. That said, the midwives’ act of hiding the children against the orders of Pharaoh was not deception, or lying–but rather obeying the command of God, who in fact raised up Pharaoh for such a time (Romans 9:17).
Next they try to say that God told Moses to be deceptive:
The second example comes from the prophetic call of Moses. The Lord speaks to Moses and says:
17 And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. (Ex. 3:17)
The Lord announces His intention to liberate the Israelites from slavery. But, in the very next breath, He tells Moses what to tell Pharaoh—what the “public story” should be, if you will:
18 And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God. (Ex. 3:18)
The “public stance” of Moses and the Israelite leaders is to be that they only want to go three days’ journey to sacrifice. So, here the Lord is advocating some degree of deception. This extends to even deceiving their Egyptian neighbors:
21 And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty:
22 But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians. (Ex. 3:21-22)
Because they are just going to make sacrifices, in the public version, the Israelites are to “borrow” valuable goods from the Egyptians. But, the true intent is clearly spelled out: they are to “spoil” (i.e. “loot”) the Egyptians.
Pharaoh is, of course, nobody’s fool. He seems to strongly suspect that there is more to the story than Moses is publicly admitting. He offers all sorts of compromise positions, seemingly designed to assure that the slaves will return after fulfilling their duties.
In a nutshell, they try to say that when Moses asked Pharaoh to let the people go three days’ journey to sacrifice, that he was lying to Pharaoh and was trying to lead the people out for good. But that’s not the case. If you notice, FAIR just happens to leave out Exodus 3:19-20—19 But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand. 20 So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. God is giving Moses a condensed account of what is going to happen. Moses will ask Pharaoh to let the people go and sacrifice, Pharaoh will say “No,” and because of this, God will stretch out His hand against Egypt. There is no deception, there is no trickery. God is simply telling Moses what will happen.
God is not one for commanding someone to lie. If He was, He would not be Holy. He would not be righteous. He would not be God. Besides, there is much Scriptural evidence to say that God CANNOT lie.
- Titus 1:2—…in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began…
- Hebrews 6:18—that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.
- Proverbs 6:16-17—These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood…
- Psalm 40:4—Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust, and does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
Again, FAIR throws out the blanket statement that God “commands” people to lie. But what does the Holy Spirit say? Let God be true and every man a liar (Romans 3:4). FAIR is smearing the name of God by calling Him a liar, and heaping up wrath for themselves for the Day of Judgment.