Proof #51 - Think about God and Baal

In the Bible, in the book of 1 Kings, in chapter 18, there is a fascinating story about God and Elijah. In this story, we have Elijah, as a prophet of the Lord, meeting with Ahab, a powerful king. Obadiah is a messenger. The story starts out like this:

    [16] So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. [17] When he saw Elijah, he said to him, "Is that you, you troubler of Israel?"

    [18] "I have not made trouble for Israel," Elijah replied. "But you and your father's family have. You have abandoned the LORD's commands and have followed the Baals. [19] Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table." [20] So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. [21] Elijah went before the people and said, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him."

This is a fascinating situation. Ahab and his people have started following a god named Baal instead of Elijah's God. And Elijah wants to prove to Ahab that Baal is an imaginary god. So Elijah sets up a challenge:
    [22] Then Elijah said to them, "I am the only one of the LORD's prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. [23] Get two bulls for us. Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. [24] Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire—he is God."

    Then all the people said, "What you say is good."

    [25] Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire." [26] So they took the bull given them and prepared it.

    Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. "O Baal, answer us!" they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

    [27] At noon Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!" he said. "Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened." [28] So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. [29] Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

    [30] Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come here to me." They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which was in ruins. [31] Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, "Your name shall be Israel." [32] With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs [a] of seed. [33] He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, "Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood."

    [34] "Do it again," he said, and they did it again.

    "Do it a third time," he ordered, and they did it the third time. [35] The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

    [36] At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. [37] Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again."

    [38] Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

    [39] When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!"

On command, the Lord does Elijah's bidding and proves that he exists by bringing all-consuming fire upon the altar. The fire even vaporizes the stones! It is an amazing display, and the people accept that Baal is imaginary and God is real.

What happens to the prophets of the false god? They get the death sentence:

    [40] Then Elijah commanded them, "Seize the prophets of Baal. Don't let anyone get away!" They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.
What we see here is fascinating: the Bible is laying down the criteria for proving that a "god" is real, and then demonstrating the punishment for those who teach about false gods. And the criteria is very simple: The "god" in question has to prove its existence through demonstrable actions in our world. The reason that Ahab's people were supposed to believe in God rather than Baal is because, on command, God proved his existence. Baal, being imaginary, did nothing. The fact that Baal did nothing proves that he is imaginary.

What should we do today when, upon calling on God to show himself, nothing ever happens? As we saw in proof #1 and proof #2, praying to God has absolutely no effect. Asking God to display any sort of supernatural force in public (like, say, lighting a fire) has absolutely no effect. God has absolutely no effect in our world today.

What we should do is exactly what the people in the Bible did with Baal. The lack of any evidence for God's existence should lead us to the obvious conclusion that God is imaginary, just like Baal is imaginary.

Understanding that God is imaginary, should we slaughter all of God's false prophets like they did in the Bible? Should we kill the Pope along with all priests, ministers, pastors, imams and rabbis? No - that would be barbaric and inhuman. Any rational person knows that, unlike the inhuman barbarians depicted in the Bible.

God is imaginary, just like Baal. That is proven to us every day by God's complete and total failure to do anything in our world.

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by Marshall Brain

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