God Vs Pharaoh: Of Hardened Hearts And A Cruel Deity


There are many things that do not make sense in the Christian Bible, when it’s taken as a standalone work of literature and subjected to rational enquiry. There are stories teaching terrible morals quick fits of anger from God, often leading to mass deaths, and tons of tons of contradictions.

One story that has stood out to me recently is the story of Moses and Pharaoh, and the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Those verses of the Bible contain some of the greatest atrocities, demonstrating God’s love for mass punishment instead of targeting those at fault. Still, the plagues are not my focus today, but something just a little bit earlier.

Now God is an omniscient and omnipotent deity, of that there is no doubt (according to Christians anyway). Now when God wanted to get his people out of slavery and sent Moses to make the petition, he could have just made Pharaoh acquiesce to the request. That would have saved a lot of lives in the long run, and I’m sure every first born in Egypt would have been grateful for that.

Absent that, God could have just let the situation play out, and let Pharaoh reach a decision on his own. But not only did he refuse to intervene favourably, he intentionally hardened Pharaoh’s heart so he would stop the exodus despite all the harm befalling his people.

I’m struggling to process this, so maybe I can get some help. God told Moses to ask Pharaoh for his people to go, and then God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so he would not allow God’s people to go (Exodus 4:21). And then God wreaked harm on the Egyptians, and then hardened Pharaoh’s heart so he would not let them go despite the harm.

This seems counterproductive. Asking someone to do something, then forcing him not to comply, and then punishing him for failing to comply.

The only reason to take this course, and indeed the text mentions this; is for God to show his power to the Egyptians (Exodus 10:1). But remember, these are not just plagues inconveniencing the Egyptians, but leading to death and destruction.

The last plague killed every Egyptian first born, both man and beast. The only reason things progressed that far is that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart whenever he was ready to relent, so one can conclude that even all the way from the beginning, God wanted things to progress to the level where he can commit mass murder.

This series of events, in Exodus, is one of many gems in the bible that point to God’s supposed merciful and kind nature as being a mirage. And I just feel that’s worth pointing out.

I am also very interested in knowing how Christians can read this same as me, and still remain convinced that God is good, kind and benevolent; because the actions described here are anything but.

Just the wonderings of a bewildered atheist.

Every time God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in the Exodus story: Exodus (7:13, 9:12, 10:1, 10:20, 10:27, 11:10, 14:4, 14:8)


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1 thought on “God Vs Pharaoh: Of Hardened Hearts And A Cruel Deity”

  1. Hahahahahaha ohhh Chris, I m always amazed at de way u always find de best things jst to gt pple to comment here which will always cuz arguments…resulting in always keepn pple here n getting more…..hahaha. ….gud work though..


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