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I’m new here and I would to ask something, even though some of may not like this question, I would like to here answers from only Christians. Atheist and such might come to this post and probably start ridiculing me or something and will not understand what’s going on here.

Now, the other day on Quora, I asked about how should a Christian talks about Gods wrath and such without making people think he is a tyrant, and user yesterday(who is obviously a Christian)answered me: “God is a tyrant. Why wouldn’t you want a perfect tyrant ruling over you?

Remember that Jesus tells us the ones who are meant to get it will get it.

John 10:27-28 King James Version (KJV)

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand”

I replied to him:“If you are suppose to be a Christian, let Me ask you, so you believe that God is a cruel oppressive ruler? Because that is what the definition of what a tyrant is, and a Christian saying that God is a tyrant, in a “deal with it” kind of way will totally NOT get ANYONE to want to come to him!”

He than replied to me: “Then go away. We can’t change His nature. We can only seek to understand its wisdom.”

What this person has said to me has been kinda bothering me, and I don’t want to see God as a cruel master!

  • The person might be thinking of the word despotes as used in Luke 2:29, Acts 4:24, Revelation 6:10 (of God) and 2 Peter 2:1, Jude 4 (of Christ). But one must consider the question of whether despotes (in Greek) has the same meaning as 'despot' inEnglish. – Nigel J Apr 7 at 19:13
  • This is not a Christian site, it is secular – Adam Heeg Apr 7 at 23:04
  • @AdamHeeg Yeah but, I can still ask Christian related questions though – Jordan Walker Apr 7 at 23:16
  • Of course you can. But answers here are restricted and not always satisfying in some peoples opinion. Truth questions particularly so. – Adam Heeg Apr 7 at 23:26
  • @KorvinStarmast I’m sorry about that, but what how does the mustard seed story go again? – Jordan Walker Apr 8 at 0:53
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From Brittanica.com:

Tyrant, Greek tyrannos, a cruel and oppressive ruler or, in ancient Greece, a ruler who seized power unconstitutionally or inherited such power. In the 10th and 9th centuries BCE, monarchy was the usual form of government in the Greek states. The aristocratic regimes that replaced monarchy were by the 7th century BCE themselves unpopular. Thus, the opportunity arose for ambitious men to seize power in the name of the oppressed.

  1. God did not usurp authority not righfully His. He created the universe and we belong to Him.

  2. God is not the oppressor of mankind but its liberator. He set the Hebrew people free and gave them laws to keep them free, if they would only follow them.

  3. When God performs miraculous events considered harsh or tyrranical, consider the objets of his wrath: murderers, adulterers, slave traders and harsh masters, empires and religions that command their people to offer child sacrifice, adult human sacrifice, etc.

  4. God freely pardons all who confess their sins to Him.

  5. A mark of the tyrant is to sacrifice others (or get them to sacrifice themselves in his service) for the sake of his power and self-aggrandizement. Jesus offered his life as a sacrifice for others.

I just don't see how the label of tyrant fits. The wrath of God could only be tyrannical if it was

  • undeserved
  • executed without warning
  • implemented with no recourse for the subject to appease
  • offered switftly, without permitting a reasonable chance for reflection and action

God is slow to anger and abounding in love. The Bible is filled with ample examples of God issuing warnings centuries in advance. The warning of the flood was given 969 years before it happened. One of the tribes wiped out by the Israelites as they entered the promised land was warned at least two hundred years before. Despite that, when Rahab helped the spies, she was spared by Joshua.

God also does not show favoritism. Has he not executed the same punishments against Israel that he did against her enemies when they rebelled?

These are not the marks of a tyrant. It is our vain belief that we are "basically good people" that blinds us (willfully!) to the fact that we deserve hellfire immediately, but every day are spared until we die.

What is the proper attitude to take? The most righteous man to ever live (apart from Jesus) was Job. He lost his oxen (used to produce crops), his sheep (for clothing), his camels (for transport), his children (for posterity and companinship), his health, his reputation, the respect of his wife, the loyalty of his servants, the compassion of his siblings, was persecuted by his friends, and then chastised by a young man. Finally, he was rebuked by his own creator. To all this, Job said,

My ears had heard of you
    but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes.

Job questioned God's justice and fairness until he met God face to face and understood why he was wrong. So, like Job, you can call God a tyrant. Just be sure that when you meet Him, that you take it back.

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    And God allowed all this so that He could have a full relationship with Job. I've been thinking recently about Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah in the furnace. The amazing miracle is that they (and many in the crowd) could survive the encounter with the Creator. A lovely answer. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 9 at 15:19
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    @EdwinAshworth Welcome to SE-C, Mr Ashworth. – Nigel J Apr 12 at 1:22
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The person who said, “God is a tyrant. Why wouldn’t you want a perfect tyrant ruling over you?" is simply not making any sense. I don't know where this description of God could have come from, unless he is describing a personal experience where he felt God was behaving tyrannically towards him. The term "perfect tyrant" is especially strange; does it mean that God is perfectly tyrannical? When Christians speak about God being perfect we are describing His perfect positive attributes: love, mercy, good and fair judgement, omnipotent, omniscience etc. If He is a "good" God then He can't also be tyrannical. It's a very strange comment, unless as I said, it is a reflection of personal experience.

God is good and therefore not a tyrant. Even though some savage activities were carried out in the Old Testament, seemingly at the instructions of God, I have concluded that He is good in all aspects of His character and always has been. As a Catholic Christian I look at the person of Jesus to get the best reflection of what God is really like, and I read Old Testament stories in the context of the life and words of Jesus.

He says for example in Mark 10:18:

Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.

You ask "is it biblical?"

In the Bible, Jesus says that God is good. That would suggest that it is not biblical to assert that God is a tyrant.

Either Jesus is correct - keeping in mind He doesn't just speak the truth but we believe he is THE Truth - or He is, with all due respect, lying. Presuming He is telling the truth, then we need to re-read the Old Testament stories in that context and unfortunately we may never reach a final conclusion on how God can be good in character and still allow evil things to happen (the problem of Evil frustrated theologians and philosophers for centuries). I am not a theologian and wouldn't even try to offer an answer to that one, but I now believe (know) that God is good because a) of what I see in the life of Jesus reflecting a good God and b) in my personal experience of God and seeing His life at work in myself, friends and family. I do understand the general argument that God allows evil because He allows our free will, but many others like Bishop Robert Barron, have addressed this particular quandary many times incredibly better than I could hope to achieve.

Two of Bishop Robert Barron's YouTube videos that are relevant:

  1. Why does God Allow Evil and Suffering

  2. God, Tsunamis, and the Problem of Evil

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  • I made an edit to pull out your core point as it relates to the question as asked. If you could offer a link or a reference to Bishop Barron's works, or various videos (yeah, he's pretty good at explaining things), or a quote/cite from one of his presentations or articles, that touches on this topic, that would help in providing more support for the answer. Welcome to Christianity.SE. I see you have taken the tour. How to Ask and How to Answer guidlines are also available. – KorvinStarmast Apr 9 at 12:43
  • Thanks for the links! :-). I added in a little formatting. – KorvinStarmast Apr 13 at 13:57
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Romans 1:18-

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness."

If men willfully choose ungodliness then judgment and wrath is what they store up for themselves. God is not a tyrant; He is simply abiding by His word and giving men what they choose by their rebellion and disobedience.

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“God is a tyrant. Why would you want a perfect tyrant ruling over you?"

The "God as tyrant" is a common question/complaint from non-christians, so my guess is that's who asked it on Quora. If this is true, then I would think it difficult to use biblical references to those who do not see the Bible as authoritative.

Fathers aren't "tyrants." Tyrants are defined by their cruelty; fathers are not. I think the best approach is to explain that Christians see God as a loving Father.[Mt 6:9] As adopted children, we are even to call him affectionately, 'Papa' (aka, Abba)[Rom 8:15].

Fathers who love their children correct them when they go astray.[Prov 13:24] The household of a good father is ordered. Children have rules and curfews; there are chores and expectations. God does the same in giving us structure and guidance.[Ex 20:2-17] Just as with any father, disobedience has consequences (otherwise the rules were arbitrary). On a human level, disobedience is met with punishment. It could be physical (spanking), loss of freedom (grounding), loss of luxuries (gameboy), etc. The point isn't cruelty, but correction, with the hope that the child becomes a better man or woman. God, as Father, acts in a similar manner. Sometimes the punishment is physical [Num 25, 1Chron 21], loss of freedom [Jer 25], or loss of luxuries [2King 25], etc.

If the actions of God are presumed to be without cause, then the conclusion is God as tyrant. However that is not our view as Christians. They are not without cause nor purpose of correction. They are of a loving Father intent on having His children share life with Him for eternity.

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