The god of the Pentateuch does not exist. This is not news. The entire premise of such a being is as Jeremy Bentham would have said, “Nonsense on stilts”… and we should all be very, very pleased that such a creature does not exist. The god of the Pentateuch is a bad god, and we can prove that here by something I’m calling The Argument from Consistency, or perhaps more accurately, The Argument from Consistency in Justice
A story is recounted in Acts 5 where a couple in the early Christian commune, Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, were killed by Yhwh for the (victimless) crime of lying.
Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
Three hours later, in verse 10, Sapphira is questioned by the apostles, repeats her husband’s lie about the money they had withheld, and is then also struck down dead.
The question then exists: Was Yhwh’s killing of Ananias and Sapphira consistent with the crime? Said in another way, was the killing fair justice from a god who is claimed to be the embodiment of justice and ultimate arbiter of truth? (See 2 Thessalonians 1:6, Jeremiah 17:10, Job 36:6, Acts 17:31, 1 John 1:9, Romans 3:23-26, Deuteronomy 32:4, Chronicles 19:7, Romans 9:14)
For justice to be meaningful (for it to be good) it has to be consistent. If we cannot rely on this consistency then we do not have “justice,” rather some haphazard, arbitrary dispensing of punishment according to the erratic emotional states of the judge and executioner.
If Yhwh was a consistent god, a dependable and just god, then we should expect him to repeat his behaviour. In matters of justice and punishment we should see no deviation in his actions, and so we would expect him to execute all people for the same “crime:” lying.
So, have we seen a consistency in this god’s behaviour before, and since? No. Abraham’s wife, Sarah, lied to Yhwh, but did he execute her? No. Abraham lied to Pharaoh and to Abimelech, but did Yhwh execute him? No. Jacob lied to Isaac, but did Yhwh execute him? No. Laban lied to Jacob, but did Yhwh execute him? No. The Potifar’s wife lied, but did Yhwh execute her? No. Rahab lied to everyone in Jericho, but did Yhwh execute him? No. Saul lied to David, but did Yhwh execute him? No. Hitler lied to Chamberlain, but did Yhwh execute him? No. George W. Bush lied to the world, but did Yhwh execute him? No. If I lie tomorrow, should I expect to be executed by Yhwh? Can I depend on Yhwh to behave in the same manner as he did with Ananias and Sapphira and strike me down dead? I doubt it, and this is an inconsistency in Yhwh’s behaviour.
It is erratic. It is untrustworthy. It is, therefore, not the stable and dependable execution of justice.
Demonstrably, Yhwh is an inconsistent god, and if he is inconsistent then he is not a just god, and if he is not a just god then he is not a being worthy of admiration, let alone veneration.
The corollary then follows:
- A good god is a just god
- For justice to be meaningful it has to be consistent.
- The killing of Ananias and Sapphira is not consistent with the crime
- Therefore, Yhwh is not a just god.
- Therefore, Yhwh is not good.
 Harrison, Ross (1995). “Jeremy Bentham”. In Honderich, Ted. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford University Press. pp. 85–88.