“God doesn’t make mistakes.”
Bet? The idea that God doesn’t make mistakes has been the major blowback I’ve received from conservatives recently. Let me give a little sliver of context. I recently wrote an article called Jesus is Trans(figured), and as you can imagine, many pearls were clutched. As per usual, I feel the need to address this from multiple angles.
First, it’s really bizarre to bring a Bible to a science fight, but here we are… again.
Trans folks have always existed. This isn’t even up for debate historically. There are examples of trans people existing across all cultures. Trans people are not a mistake. However, as human science has evolved, we’ve had both a better understanding of the reality of the trans experience, and we’ve also developed better ways to help folks with gender-affirming care.
From the vantage of science, gendering affirming care from hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to surgery is absolutely no different than braces. You were assigned crooked teeth at birth, and then a doctor said, “we can actually do something about that.” The same is true for eye care. If God, in their divine plan, always got it right, then why isn’t the evangelical response, “those are the teeth the Lord dealt ya.”
And we could extend that all the way out to things like cancer. Yes, there are some Christian sects that do not allow for any medical care, but they are rare. The average church wouldn’t say, “well, God gave you cancer, so you better just say thanks!”
Science continues to help humans become the better and healthier version of themselves. We might have been dealt an unlucky hand genetically with our teeth, eyeballs, or tits, but science has a solution for it all. Gender-affirming care is just the next level in our ability to conform our outward self to better match our inward self.
Putting science aside for just a tick, let’s look at what the Bible actually says about God never being wrong.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and everything in it. The first three chapters of Genesis is God creating humans, telling them not to touch just one f+cking tree, we don’t listen, and then BAM! We’ve got bugs and periods. So things aren’t going to terribly well with this whole creation business. It’s going so badly that by Chapter Six, we are in a real situation, and God is none too pleased with Himself.
It says that God “regretted” making humans and that He “repented” of having done it at all (Gen 6:6-7). Now, the divine solution to this was to flood the entire earth. Which, I might add, is a super weird reaction. Couldn’t you just, I don’t know, snap your fingers and start over or something? But no, God decides infanticide by way of drowning. Super pro-life, Lord.
Fast forward a bit; God has now made a few improvements to his original model. For example, He’s decided to shorten the life span of humans so they can’t cause as much trouble (Gen 6:3), and He’s starting to set some ground rules because humans are eating stuff that will kill them, like uncured ham. But humans keep screwing up, so God is getting hot-tempered again and decides to blow us up this time (because They promised no more floods but didn’t say sh+t about fire).
Anyway, God and Moses get into a big argument about it, and Moses reminds Big Guns about the premises He made to His children. No joke, Moses basically shows God the contract He made with us, and the scriptures say that God “repented of the evil he planned to do.” (Exodus 32:14)
Like most parents, God decided to chill a bit after having His golden child, Jesus, who They repeatedly reminds us that They are “well pleased” with this one. It only took God about 4000 years, but They finally got a good egg out of the batch.
What is the first thing that Jesus starts doing? Healing people. Now, if God doesn’t make mistakes, then why would people need healing? It kind of sounds like God is fully aware that there are some bugs in the software. Jesus is Daddy God’s last ditch effort at correcting the error of Their ways.
One such healing that Jesus performed was restoring the sight of a blind man who had been blind since birth. Now, one could say that this person was assigned blind at birth. Jesus decides to change them from a blind person to a seeing person. But before he gets to the healing but, people asked Jesus, “who sinned to cause the blindness, this man or his parents?”
Jesus hits them with a zinger, “Neither, this man isn’t blind because of sin! He was born to show you how mighty God is!” (John 9:1-12)
What’s fascinating is Jesus tried to heal another man of blindness, and it didn’t work out so well. The man could see a bit but said everyone looked like trees. So Jesus had to go in for a second go. Does that sound like a God who never makes mistakes? No, that sounds like a God just trying to do the best They can. (Mark 8:22-26)
When I read the Bible, I don’t see an omnipresent God; I see a God who sends angels to find out what’s happening on Earth (Genesis 18). I don’t see an omniscient God; I see a God who is surprised to find Satan chilling in the throne room (Job 1:6-7).
In Jesus, we see a God who understands that humans are flawed by design and need healing. Sometimes that healing comes in the form of restoring sight to the blind, and sometimes it comes in affirming someone’s gender identity. Yet, the church is doing what they’ve always done and says, “God, why is this man like this? Is it because they sinned or because their parents did?” And Jesus is saying what he said two thousand years ago, “Neither, this woman isn’t because of sin! She was born to show you how mighty God is!”
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"When I read the Bible, I don’t see an omnipresent God; "
Neither do I. I see an egomaniacal mass murderer in the Bible god. Definitely flawed, as a god created by men, in man's image, not the other way around. IF (big if), there is/was a creator, they are having a bad sitcom to watch every day. And, we species-centric humans are the perfect foil.
This is one of the best!