Member Rara Avis
He expected perfection at that time and was willing to kill whatever, or whoever, did not meet His demands.
"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
God has always, from the time of Adam, demanded perfection. Sin is just another word for disobedience, and just as you can't be half-pregnant, you can't be almost obedient. You are or you aren't. Like any good parent, God established parameters and defined consequences. Do this and that will happen. Do that and this will happen. Unlike most human fathers, God then did exactly what He had said He would do. I wouldn't call that cruel and vindictive. I'd call that perfect consistency.
While it's certainly easy to conclude that "Jesus was created by God to be the one being on Earth capable of following all of God's laws," such a conclusion will eventually raise many more questions than it answers. It's not necessarily intuitive, but the only conclusion that works in the long run is that Jesus, like the Father and the Holy Spirit, have always existed and were not created at all. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
The relationship between God and Adam, and later between God and Abraham, was a legal one. The former was a very simple "contract" and was inherited by every human born of Adam. It foreshadowed the latter contract, which was much, much more complex and is still in force today for every Jew and Muslim born of Abraham. When Adam and Eve broke the first contract, the result was death, both a spiritual death and eventually a physical one. For God to do anything else would have made Him a liar. All who have died since then have died at the hand of Adam, not God. At most, God may have picked the time. Do you spank your errant child in ten minutes or in thirty?
Generations later, God offered Abraham a partial out. Do this and do that, said God, and the spiritual death earned by Adam can be lifted. There were a whole lot of this's and that's, of which the Ten Commandments were only a part. Integral to this contract was the concept of appeasement through blood.
Some say this, too, actually goes back to Adam. We usually remember that Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves, but Genesis also tells us that God, before kicking them out of the Garden, made "coats of skins, and clothed them." This is the first recorded death in the Bible, and perhaps a harbinger of what was to come - that shed blood would be a covering for sin. "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." (Hebrews 9:22)
Jesus didn't "convince" God that our "survival was worthwhile, even with all of our imperfections." That was never necessary, and even the idea of convincing an omniscient God of something boggles the mind. Jesus, rather, fulfilled the contracts God had made with Adam and Abraham. If the blood of a bull or goat or ewe could wash away a little sin, the blood of Jesus would wash away all sin. Completely. Totally. For all time.
There are too many contradictions to consider Him so.
But, Mike, there are also too many contradictions to NOT consider God omniscient.
Virtually everything Jesus did in his brief time on Earth was foretold hundreds and even thousands of years earlier by the prophets of God. The place of his birth, Bethlehem, was prophesied in Micah 5:2. The time of his birth was prophesied in Daniel 9:25. In Psalm 69:9 we learn He will be heralded by John the Baptist, in Psalms 78:2, we learn that Jesus will teach in parables, and in Malachi 3:1 and Psalm 69:9 we learn how Jesus will drive the money-changers from the Temple. In Psalms 41:9, we learn of the betrayal of Judas and in Zechariah 11:13 the price of that betrayal, thirty pieces of silver, is foretold. Vivid details of His crucifixion and death are sprinkled throughout the Old Testament, in Isaiah 50:6 (spitting and slapping), Psalm 22:16 (piercings), Isaiah 53:12 (crucified with criminals), Psalm 22:18 (casting lots for His clothes), Psalm 69:21 (vinegar to drink), and Amos 8:9 (the darkening of the skies). Some few of the prophecies might be coincidences. Many could be manipulations by those who wrote the New Testament. But there are literally thousands of such minutia, none of which have ever been proven false.
And what of the New Testament and the book of Revelations? To believe that God doesn't know the future is to deny the prophecies of John and the second coming of Jesus. The most important messages of the Bible depend on God's accurate predictions of a future yet to come.
The bottom line is that God and Jesus either know the future or have repeatedly lied to us about knowing the future.
If one believes that God is indeed omniscient, then one must believe that God has directed events to make the world what it is today and what it has been in the past..that all of the wars, brutality and man's inhumanity to man are by His design.
How does one reconcile these contradictions with the ones you noted? I don't even pretend to understand the answers to that question. But I long ago learned that anything and everything of worth always carries a price. My mom didn't send me to grade school to catch the mumps, chicken pox, and measles, though I'm sure she knew that would be a cost of going. At the time, I'll admit that I couldn't imagine ANYTHING being worth the mumps, and years later, I'm still not too sure it was. But Mom thought so.
Free will is the greatest gift in the Universe, and I have to suspect the price is correspondingly high. Could God have made us perfect? Sure, but we would not have been mankind. We would have been angels. Beautiful, glorious, utterly servile, but very different from what God apparently intended.
The very existence of mankind, something created by God but with the choice to follow or not follow God, is a paradox of the highest order. Had Adam not disobeyed God and been cast from Eden, there would have been no war, no disease, no death, no brutality, none of the contradictions that point to a God that is other than love. But could there be free will without disobedience? If there was only the theoretical possibility of disobedience, without the reality, would it still be free will? Can there be salvation without sin? Can a sword be tempered and made hard without searing heat?
As fond as I am of analogies, there isn't anything that even remotely describes our relationship with God. I sometimes imagine myself writing a computer program. By definition, the program has to do exactly what I tell it to do, because, frankly, I don't know how else to do it. Even random choices can only exist because I explicitly randomize them. So, how do I tell the program to disobey me? I can't. And if I could, if the computer program really did disobey me, wouldn't it only be doing so because I told it to? Wouldn't its disobedience be just another form of obedience?
Our relationship with God is a paradox. On good days, my faith insists there is a reason we are unlike the angels and the beasts of the field, insists God has a plan far beyond my understanding, insists that we are being prepared in the only way possible for something very, very special. On bad days, I find myself wondering if maybe mankind is just another incredibly funny platypus?