The Biblical God As a Deceiver


Bassam Zawadi

You won't hear enough of Christian missionaries arguing that the Qur'an describes Allah as plotting and deceiving (refer here).

So, I think it is only fair if we return them the favor and show how the God of the Bible is a deceiver; thus, by the Christian missionary criteria, the Biblical God is immoral and should not be worshipped.

We read in:

Jeremiah 4:10

Then I said, "Ah, Sovereign LORD, how completely you have deceived (nasha) this people and Jerusalem by saying, 'You will have peace,' when the sword is at our throats."  

The word for deceived here is nasha, which means:

 1) to beguile, deceive

    a) (Niphal) to be beguiled

    b) (Hiphil) to beguile, deceive

     c) (Qal) utterly (infinitive)


John Gill states in his commentary:

surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem:
what the false prophets did, that God is said to do, because he suffered them to deceive the people;
(John Gill, The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible, Commentary on Jeremiah 4:10, Source)

The New Bible Commentary states:

Jeremiah is not indifferent to the message, which he is called to preach. In v 10 a note is struck to which he will return in relation to himself (15:18). In his distress he accuses the Lord of having deceived the people, presumably by having allowed false prophets to convince them with a message of peace (cf. 6:13-14). The only reply is the Lord's own confirmation that judgment is sure. (New Bible Commentary)

Even though it was really the false prophets who did the act of deception, the Bible is actually shifting the blame to God for actually allowing the false prophets to do the deception. This is what the "inspired" author Jeremiah said, and this is what we have to accept. God deceived innocent people.

It seemed that people were so bothered by Jeremiah's ascription of deception to God that they had to reword the sentence so that deception would be ascribed to the false prophets instead.

Ah, Lord God! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people
The Targum paraphrases this verse thus: "And I said, Receive my supplication, O Lord God; for, behold, the false prophets deceive this people and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace." The prophet could not reconcile this devastation of the country with the promises already made; and he appears to ask the question, Hast thou not then deceived this people in saying there shall be peace, i.e., prosperity?
(Adam Clarke, The Adam Clarke Commentary, Commentary on Jeremiah 4:10, Source)

We have it in:

1 Kings 22:20-22

20 And the LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?'
      "One suggested this, and another that. 21 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, 'I will entice him.'

    22 " 'By what means?' the LORD asked.
      " 'I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,' he said.
      " 'You will succeed in enticing him,' said the LORD. 'Go and do it.'

Here, we see that the man said he would resort to lying to entice Ahab, and God supported the idea and told him to go ahead and do it! 

I have no moral objections to this since I believe God could sometimes use means of deception to ensure the greater good and to use deception against evil. However, Christians don't allow this when we talk about Allah deceiving evildoers in the Qur'an. These are double standards.

We even have it in:

Ezekiel 14:9-11

9 " 'And if the prophet is enticed to utter a prophecy, I the LORD have enticed that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and destroy him from among my people Israel. 10 They will bear their guilt-the prophet will be as guilty as the one who consults him. 11 Then the people of Israel will no longer stray from me, nor will they defile themselves anymore with all their sins. They will be my people, and I will be their God, declares the Sovereign LORD.' "

God is punishing him for a crime that He enticed him to do in the first place. Isn't that entrapment?

Another passage:

Isaiah 37:6-7

Isaiah said to them, "Tell your master, 'This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard-those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Listen! I am going to put a spirit in him so that when he hears a certain report, he will return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.' "

God had that spirit spread a rumor so that the King of Assyria can return to his homeland. In short, that spirit's purpose was for deception.

Another example from the Bible:

Isaiah 19:14

The LORD has poured into them a spirit of dizziness; they make Egypt stagger in all that she does, as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit.

Here, we see God deceiving people to the extent that they become absolutely foolish.

Even though I don't believe the Gospels teach that Jesus taught he was God; however, this example is for those who believe that Jesus is God. Jesus admits that he was speaking figuratively all this time:

John 16:25

25"Though I have been speaking figuratively (paroimia), a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father.

The word paroimia could mean:

1) a saying out of the usual course or deviating from the usual manner of speaking

a) a current or trite saying, a proverb

2) any dark saying which shadows forth some didactic truth

a) esp. a symbolic or figurative saying

b) speech or discourse in which a thing is illustrated by the use of similes and comparisons

c) an allegory

1) extended and elaborate metaphor


Why wasn't Jesus always speaking in a normal and clear way? Why did Jesus then say that he won't 'use this kind of language'?

Well, here we find out why:

Mark 4:10-12

10When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12so that," 'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'

So here we see that Jesus was deceiving certain people by speaking in parables so they wouldn't (and God forbid!) REPENT AND BE FORGIVEN!

Also in:

2 Thessalonians 2:11

11For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie

So, will God delude people so that they can believe lies?

Now, Christians would argue back and ask us Muslims to understand the context and reasons why God did such a thing. However, when we tell Christians to do the same thing when it comes to analyzing certain Qur'anic verses, they don't want to do it. So why should us Muslims?

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