Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What Took God So Long?

I can't help but ask anyone who believes in any form of the Abrahamic God what took God so long to show up and do anything for humanity?

The earth is around 4.5 billion years old and human beings, in their current form, have been around at least 200,000 years but the God of Abraham (the God of the Jews, Christians and Muslims) doesn't show up until 4 or 5 thousand years ago. Abraham and his covenant with God is roughly 4,000 years ago, Moses supposedly the author of the Pentateuch is only 3500 years ago, Jesus who Christians claim is God who had to become a human to save us, doesn't bother to show up until only 2,000 years ago then finally Muhammad the seal of the prophets doesn't come onto the scene until about 1400 years ago. That's at least 195,000 years without the God of Abraham and even since then that God has been involved with far fewer people on this planet than have existed during that time. So if humanity is truly the crown of creation, made in the image of God whom God loves and wanted to be in a relationship with, where was God during all that time? Quite simply, what took so long?

Please know this isn't meant to be a rhetorical question. Any and all thoughts are welcome.


  1. Z, interesting question. While I don't believe in this Abrahamic God as you describe... for the sake of argument, what if the answer to your question is equally simple? You ask, what took so long? What if the answer is, perhaps we didn't need God until now, so it's not a matter of haste, it's a matter of timeliness?

  2. Well I guess I would have to ask a few questions. But first I would have to say that I don't think that answer works from the point of view of any of the Abrahamic faiths. Basically their accounts of history don't allow for that and I don't beleive any of them (orthodox) would say that.

    Now even if your answer works I have two questions. First, what changed? Instead of "what took so long" the question becomes "why now?" And second I would say that still doesn't address the issue of how limited this God's interaction/help/interference with humanity was. Why did God deal with so few people?

    On a side note I never described this God, so I'm not sure what you meant when you said you don't believe in this God as I describe him? I just pointed out the timeline of science along with the timeline of the Abrahmic faiths and asked a question.

  3. I know the answer is a bit sketchy from the point of view of orthodox believers, but one can alter the wording a bit to take the side of the dispensationalists. I won't do that, but the argument's been made.
    If we follow my devil's-advocate line of reasoning, and now must answer the question "why now?", I'd say that, most obviously, now we have consciousness (self-consciousness, group consciousness and spiritual consciousness). There was no use for God to try and "contact" us before we were able to "hear" him. Secondarily, we're now much more capable of killing one another, so perhaps this factors into the timing as well. If Job and Abraham are about 4000-4500 years ago, that places them soundly inside the flourishing of the Bronze Age.
    (And as for the last point, I didn't intend to say you had described the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob... I merely know personally, from earlier, what you meant! I should have said "mention" rather than "describe.")

  4. It's definitely an answer worth thinking about whether someone else from a more orthodox position would or wouldn't support it.

    Please know I didn't mean to sound upset or annoyed or anything with that last comment about describing that God. I was just double checking in case you were seeing something I didn't. You know me about as well as anyone so you have a larger scope when chatting with me about all these fun things.

    And finally I can't help but go back to the still unanswered question; even assuming everything else about God's timing is fine, why did this God speak his will to so few people both historically and geographically while expecting all of humanity to obey and worship him? I'm not asking you to answer of course. These questions are meant for those with the more orthodox positions so while I know you love playing devil's advocate, which with me usually means defending this God, you're not the main target I'm seeking.

  5. Fair enough! Maybe someone can throw in their two cents... my devil's advocate answer, for what it's worth, is that God can only communicate to those who are willing to listen... but even that has major flaws. Many (if not most) of the prophets were, to put it mildly, unwilling.

  6. One of the things that comes to mind here is the difference in time, both for the abrahamic perception of the world, its origins and its' age, versus the scientific perception of the world, its origins and its age... Is science aiming to understand how/if God has intereacted with the world or is that the question of theology? Are you trying to marry the two? Are you using a timeline that is effective for an alegory and applying it to real life? If so then is it possible that you are mixing unmixable terms/timelines/perceptions? Also if science is to be belived, based upon our understanding of the history of the world, what is to suggest that God had not interviened in an earlier period? Are you suggesting that because the bible does not specifically mention those periods of history that God could not or did not speak? Furthermore, is it possible that God did/does speak outside of the confines of the hebrew bible? What if God has revealed himself, and continues to do so in time and outside of time? Since all of us are on this side of life, we can't really say solidly what God has or has not done? Can we?? We can make claims based on conjecture and best guesses, but is that not the best we can do... guess? Just my thoughts...