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Is there a single instance in the Bible where:

  • Parents lied to Children and
  • God approved of it?

There is an instance in 1 Kings 22:22 but that appears to be God -> Angel -> Deceive a King. However, that seems different from Parent/Children relationships.


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Welcome to the site. This is not bad for a first question. It is a little close to a "list" question, but I think the community will be happy to leave it open. However, an answer that says no will probably be very disappointing. –  fredsbend Dec 20 '13 at 20:10
Irony: I think Adam pointed out we don't seek God's approval. Unless you want to lie to yourself. –  WelcomeNewUsers Jan 19 '14 at 21:52

1 Answer 1

Finding God's approval for men's actions is uncommon. More often than not, the actions of people are recorded in all their embarrassing detail without an explicit endorsement of condemnation by God.

I concur with the problematic comparison of humans to God, for God knows exactly who he is and what he should do, he is sovereign and sinless, and doesn't exactly have to behave the same way as we do (e.g. worship, prayer, etc.).

I cannot think of an instance in the (Protestant) Canon when a parent lied to his children in an attempt to do something morally good.

Is Lying Ever Allowable?

On the contrary, one could make an argument that God doesn't want us to lie at all. One example I can think of is Jesus' praise of Nathaniel: "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!" (Jn 1:47, NASB)

There are at least a few instances where people lied for "good reasons" and God blessed them (without necessarily approving of their method, but perhaps of their motives). One example is the Hebrew midwives who wouldn't murder the newborn sons they were to help deliver (Ex 1). Perhaps they were actually telling the truth and only deliberately arrived after the children were born, but I think it's safe to say that they deliberately employed a measure of deceit in what they told Pharoah.

A strict "no-deceit" rule of personal conduct does introduce difficult questions, like when I play a strategy game and do things to trick my opponent. It doesn't seem like it ought to be wrong since everything is strictly hypothetical and your opponent has no assurance that you are attempting to represent yourself in a plain and transparent way, but I consider this a weakness either in my argument or in the way I live.

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Abraham lied to (or at the very least deceived) Isaac, surely. –  lonesomeday Dec 20 '13 at 19:51
Paroah's daughter lied to her father.... –  Flimzy Dec 22 '13 at 10:11
@lonesomeday, If I try to imagine what a father would say to his beloved son in the situation with Abraham and Isaac, I would consider this "not answering the question" as opposed to willful deceit. Providing a vague answer is not the same as lying. –  mojo Dec 23 '13 at 15:55
@Flimzy, in what way are we certain that Moses' adopted mother lied to her father? The text of Exodus 2 doesn't record or summarize any conversation. –  mojo Dec 23 '13 at 15:59
Lying is all about intention. Without the intent to deceive, you are only making a mistake. Even factual representation with the intent to decieve is a lie. –  mojo Dec 27 '13 at 12:17

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