Friday, May 31, 2019

Can Prayer Change Prophecy?

            Quite a few Christians believe that [determined] prayers can alter a prophecy. Is this a tenable belief or not?

            God is the source of prophecy. The prophet bears God’s message. This message need not always be a prediction or foretelling of future events but this message can simply be instructional (Acts 21:4), warning (Jonah 3:4), etc.

            A presupposition to the notion that prayer can change a prophecy is that God is capable of changing HIS mind. But God cannot change HIS mind. This Divine Constancy contains various aspects: God cannot change quantitatively or qualitatively and God’s nature does not undergo modifications. Hence, God cannot change HIS mind.

            In an earlier blog entitled, “Could We Change God’s Mind?” I addressed this subject. Here’s a relevant excerpt:1

Can God change HIS mind?
There are two diametrically opposite answers to this question. Some Christians believe that God can change HIS mind, whereas others assert that God does not and cannot change HIS mind.
Let us briefly study their assertions.
God Changes HIS Mind
Some Christians think that God can change HIS mind, “…advocates of a theory called open theism have argued that God can and does change and that we can cause that change. They find their support for this in passages such as Genesis 18, where Abraham intercedes before the Lord for Sodom and Gomorrah, and God seemingly changes His mind. They claim further support from passages like Jeremiah 18:7–10, Jonah 3:10, and Genesis 6:6, which speak of God repenting or relenting or being sorry.”1
These Christians, upon reading these verses, believe that God changes HIS mind:
 “The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.” (Genesis 6:6, NIV, Emphasis Mine).
 “And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people.” (Exodus 32:14, RSV, Emphasis Mine).
 “If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it." (Jeremiah 18: 7-10, NIV, Emphasis Mine).
 “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.” (Jonah 3:10, NIV, Emphasis Mine).
God Cannot Change HIS Mind
Pastor, theologian, and author, R.C Sproul, unpacks this dilemma from the vantage point of God’s omniscience.2
There’s one sense in which it seems God is changing his mind, and there’s another sense in which the Bible says God never changes his mind because God is omniscient. He knows all things from the beginning, and he is immutable. He is unchanging. There’s no shadow of turning within him. For example, He knows what Moses is going to say to him in Numbers 14 before Moses even opens his mouth to plead for the people. Then after Moses has actually said it, does God suddenly changes his mind? He doesn’t have any more information than he had a moment before. Nothing has changed as far as God’s knowledge or his appraisal of the situation.
Is God confused, stumbling through all the different options—Should I do this? Should I not do that? And does he decide upon one course of action and then think, Well, maybe that’s not such a good idea after all, and change his mind? Obviously God is omniscient; God is all wise. God is eternal in his perspective and in his full knowledge of everything. So we don’t change God’s mind. But prayer changes things. It changes us. And there are times in which God waits for us to ask for things because his plan is that we work with him in the glorious process of bringing his will to pass here on earth.
Similarly, Dr. William Lane Craig explains this theme from the perspective of God’s foreknowledge and the need for us to understand the literary genre’s of the Bible and the literary devices used by the biblical authors for an effective narration. If we understand these details, we will be able to accurately interpret the Bible. Thus we would possess a proper understanding of God. Here’s William Lane Craig:3
I don’t think that God can change his mind, because as an omniscient being, he knows everything that will happen, including his own decisions. God has foreknowledge not only of everything that creatures will do, but also knowledge of his own acts…If God knows the truth value of all true future tense propositions — then he will know the truth value of propositions about his own actions — like God will part the Red Sea; he knows that. So, God would have knowledge of everything in the future, and therefore there could be no basis for changing his mind. An omniscient being cannot change his mind, it would only be an ignorant being, a being that is ignorant, that could acquire some new reason for doing something that would cause him to change his mind…
There are some Scriptures which, at least superficially to a layperson, looks like God’s changing his mind. Jonah and the whale and Nineveh where God was going to destroy the city unless something happened, and he seemed to change his mind.
It’s vital that we understand the literary genre, or type, of most of these biblical stories. The Bible is in the form of narratives. They’re stories about God told from the human point of view. And so, a good storyteller will tell his story with all the vivacity and color that he wants to enhance his narrative.
And so, you’ll find stories in the Bible about God, told from a human perspective where God not only lacks knowledge of the future, but even lacks knowledge of what’s going on presently. God comes down to Abraham and says, “I’ve heard the outcry in Sodom and Gomorrah. I’m going to go see if what I’ve heard is really happening there.”
Well, that would deny not only God’s foreknowledge, but his knowledge of the present. And there are other passages where God is spoken of in anthropomorphic terms of having nostrils and eyes and arms and other sort of bodily parts—wings. If you take all of these literally, God would be a sort of fire-breathing monster.
And so, these are anthropomorphisms. They are literary devices that are part of the storyteller’s art, and shouldn’t be read like a philosophy of religion or systematic theology textbook. There’s just a naïve view of the type of literature that Scripture is.
            To conclude, let us briefly consider two instances in the Bible that some Christians use to contend that God changes HIS mind.

            Consider the prophecy to King Hezekiah. The omniscient God knew that when Prophet Isaiah warned King Hezekiah (about putting his house in order else he would die), Hezekiah would pray earnestly to HIM, and that HE would extend Hezekiah’s lifetime by 15 years. Hence, if we consider the foreknowledge of God, wherein HE knows every future event, we cannot construe this instance to that of God changing HIS mind.

            Similarly, in Jonah’s case, God knew that the Ninevites would repent upon hearing Jonah’s preaching/prophesying. Therefore, it was not a change of mind that prompted the forgiveness of God. Rather the plan to forgive the Ninevites was always in God’s mind because of HIS foreknowledge of all future events.

            Therefore, a proper interpretation of every prophecy in the Bible would render the notion of God changing HIS mind as untenable. It’s not that God does not change HIS mind; it’s that you and I, however righteous our prayer may be, cannot force God to change HIS mind. So no amount of prayer can change a prophecy, unless God, according to HIS foreknowledge, has already determined another course of action based on the response to a particular prophecy.



Website last accessed on 31st May 2019.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

How Do Some Christians Tolerate Failed Prophecy?

            My previous blog, written in the form of a public letter to Dr. Paul Dhinakaran about his failed prophecy, elicited interesting responses. Intriguingly, a few well-meaning Christians were not as critical as I was about that failed prophecy.

            Some urged me to wait for a longer time. The prophecy, they contended, would be fulfilled if only we were to give it more time.

            Others pointed out a few prophecies from the Bible that were supposedly erroneous and used those prophecies to validate this failed prophecy. 

            My understanding of the term prophecy is defined by this verse, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21, NIV, Emphasis Mine).

            Furthermore, my understanding of God complicates my position on (any failed) prophecy. As a classical theist, I subscribe to a position that God is the absolutely metaphysically ultimate reality and HE is immutable or changeless. Hence, God must be impassible (HE cannot be affected by anything external in the created order).   

            A word of caution would serve us well before we proceed any further. We should be unambiguously clear that our stand on prophecy does not determine our salvation. In other words, we could be poles apart on our comprehension of the gift of prophecy in the local church; yet, I believe our growth in Christ could be unimpeded.

            So we come back to our question, how do some Christians tolerate failed prophecy?

            Wayne Grudem’s exemplary work on Systematic Theology offers an interesting perspective. He begins by defining prophecy as “telling something that God has spontaneously brought to mind.” Do note that Grudem does not define the gift of prophecy as “predicting the future” or as “proclaiming a word from the Lord.”

            He goes on to add that the terms prophet and prophecy were used of ordinary Christians, who spoke not with absolute divine authority but simply to report something that God had laid on their hearts or brought to their minds.

            This ordinary gift of prophecy had a lesser authority than the Bible in the New Testament and even less than that of recognized Bible teaching in the early church. Grudem refers to the prophecy referred in Acts 21:4, Acts 21:10-11, 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21, and 1 Corinthians 14: 29-38, as a case in point. 

            Furthermore, in the New Testament, prophets from the local church spoke with less authority than the New Testament apostles or the Scripture. Nowhere does the New Testament command us to “obey the words of the Lord through your prophets.” So Grudem comes to the conclusion that the prophecies of today need not necessarily be construed as “the words of God.”

            The Charismatic churches accord much importance to prophecies today. Grudem refers to the Charismatic teachers who believe that contemporary prophecy is not equal to Scripture in authority. Grudem writes, “Though some will speak of prophecy as being the “word of God” for today, there is almost uniform testimony from all sections of the charismatic movement that prophecy is imperfect and impure, and will contain elements that are not to be obeyed or trusted. For example, Bruce Yocum, the author of a widely used charismatic book on prophecy, writes, “Prophecy can be impure — our own thoughts or ideas can get mixed into the message we receive — whether we receive the words directly or only receive a sense of the message.”

            However, complications arise when contemporary prophets preface their prophecies with the common Old Testament phrase, “Thus says the Lord.” Grudem asserts that even though it gives an impression that the words that follow this phrase are God’s very words, the charismatic spokesmen would not want to claim it for every part of their prophecies.

            So those Christians who hold to a similar position (as cited above) could tolerate a failed prophecy. Whereas Christians who believe that prophecies are the very words of God, especially if it is prefaced by phrases similar to “Thus says the Lord…” cannot tolerate a failed prophecy.

            But whatever be our position on the contentious topic of prophecy; even if we believe in Cessationism (the doctrine that spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophecy, and healing ceased with the apostolic age.), please note that we can agree to disagree and yet, remain as brothers and sisters in Christ.


Wayne Grudem’s quotes are taken from his work Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Inter-Varsity Press, England.

Friday, May 24, 2019

A Christian’s Public Letter to Dr. Paul Dhinakaran about his False Prophecy of the 2019 Indian Elections

            Dear Dr. Paul Dhinakaran,

            Your prophecy about the 2019 Indian elections failed miserably. As a fellow Christian, I believe I am well within my rights to take issue with your prophecy, for you boldly claimed that God was the source of your prophecy.1 I believe God could not have been the source of your failed prophecy.

            You are a highly esteemed evangelist. Scores of Christians consider you as a man of God. Even a large group of my relatives and my Christian friends glorify your image and your ministry. To them, you are their supreme Pastor and leader.

            There are more than 200,000 views for your prophetic video on YouTube. Tens of thousands have watched your prophecy and many more may have heard about your prophecy.

            Sir, I reiterate that your prophecy regarding the elections in India failed. Neither has God quietened the present leaders nor has HE established young leaders in authority. The same leadership will continue ruling India for a second successive term.

            Please explain why your prophecy failed. You owe it to your ardent followers, and the Christian community, at large. If you still believe that God spoke through you, then do enlighten us as to how and why God’s Words were not fulfilled.

            You have done a great disservice to Historic Christianity. Not that Historic Christianity will be destroyed, but you have empowered the detractors to mock the Historic Christian faith. Your failed prophesy has provided the detractors of Christianity further ammunition to continue their mocking.

            You have confused many Christians through your prophecies.

            Millions of Christians do not know their Bible. They merely listen to preachers like you. They think your words are the very words of God.

            They may wonder why God erred. These rather naive Christians could think that God’s plan for India has failed. Some of them may even think that the finite man has defeated the infinite God’s plan for India.

            They may also think that God has no control over India. But every sincere student of the Bible knows that God is in control over everything, India included. Of course, God may allow certain perplexing developments. But in no way can we come to the conclusion that God is not in control. The sovereign God rules over everything.

            Little do these naïve Christians know or realize that God, who is the greatest conceivable being, cannot fail. God cannot err. Whatever the sovereign and supreme God decides will happen, come what may. But, alas, your failed prophecy has placed a barricade in an honest disciple’s growth in Christ.

            Did God change HIS mind?

            Some of your very ardent followers may think that God changed HIS mind after speaking with you. But God is good and HE is just. HE cannot change HIS mind so much so that HE misled you into deceiving HIS people, and in the process shaming you as well.

            But the reality is this. God did not speak through you.

            Failure on your part to acknowledge that God did not speak through you is tantamount to cheating your gullible followers. They believe that God spoke through you.

            But God did not speak with you or through you. You spoke out of your own accord. Period.

            As your brother in Christ, my heart goes out for you and many other false prophets and teachers who are roaming the earth doing a great deal of disservice to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I feel for you because the Word of God condemns false teachers/prophets. Here’s an excerpt from 2 Peter 2:

But there were also lying prophets among the people then, just as there will be lying religious teachers among you. They’ll smuggle in destructive divisions, pitting you against each other—biting the hand of the One who gave them a chance to have their lives back! They’ve put themselves on a fast downhill slide to destruction, but not before they recruit a crowd of mixed-up followers who can’t tell right from wrong.
They give the way of truth a bad name. They’re only out for themselves. They’ll say anything, anything, that sounds good to exploit you. They won’t, of course, get by with it. They’ll come to a bad end, for God has never just stood by and let that kind of thing go on…
God is especially incensed against these “teachers” who live by lust, addicted to a filthy existence. They despise interference from true authority, preferring to indulge in self-rule. Insolent egotists, they don’t hesitate to speak evil against the most splendid of creatures. Even angels, their superiors in every way, wouldn’t think of throwing their weight around like that, trying to slander others before God.
These people are nothing but brute beasts, born in the wild, predators on the prowl. In the very act of bringing down others with their ignorant blasphemies, they themselves will be brought down, losers in the end. Their evil will boomerang on them. They’re so despicable and addicted to pleasure that they indulge in wild parties, carousing in broad daylight. They’re obsessed with adultery, compulsive in sin, seducing every vulnerable soul they come upon. Their specialty is greed, and they’re experts at it. Dead souls!...
There’s nothing to these people—they’re dried-up fountains, storm-scattered clouds, headed for a black hole in hell. They are loudmouths, full of hot air, but still they’re dangerous. Men and women who have recently escaped from a deviant life are most susceptible to their brand of seduction. They promise these newcomers freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, for if they’re addicted to corruption—and they are—they’re enslaved.
If they’ve escaped from the slum of sin by experiencing our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ, and then slid back into that same old life again, they’re worse than if they had never left. Better not to have started out on the straight road to God than to start out and then turn back, repudiating the experience and the holy command. They prove the point of the proverbs, “A dog goes back to its own vomit” and “A scrubbed-up pig heads for the mud.” (2 Peter 2: 1-3, 10-14, 17-22; MSG)
            There are a few Christian friends who are distraught over your failed prophecy. I pray that every Christian and every honest seeker who’s caught in the crossfire of your failed prophesy, the actual election results, and the mocking of the detractors of Historic Christianity would continue to seek the face, the presence and the blessings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

            I do hope and pray that you would do what is good for the sake of the Christian community. I most certainly pray that your ministry would be pleasing and acceptable to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.


Rajkumar Richard


1I refer your prophecy conveyed through a YouTube video entitled “Prophecy 2019 | God's Plan For India | Year of Deliverance | Dr. Paul Dhinakaran.” (

Website last accessed on 24th May 2019.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

When God Seems So Far Away; How Do We Survive?

            ‘Hiddenness of God’ is an ancient and a complex theme. It is portrayed in subjective and objective questions such as, ‘Where is God when we need HIM the most?’ and ‘Where was God during the Holocaust?’ respectively.

            “Deus absconditus is the Latin phrase that describes this phenomenon—the hidden God,” writes Margaret Manning Shull in an article she authored in  

            Trials and tribulations are the existential staple for many people from various faiths. Deliverance from these painful situations may not be in sight for many.

            They say there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. But the journey towards this light could be so burdensome that death, depression or insanity seems more existentially plausible than comfort, peace, and deliverance.

            Yes, deliverance from pain and misery may not be everyone’s lot. It is most certainly an ardent desire for all, but need not be a reality for everyone reeling under pain.

            But pain and distress are not the only premises emphasizing God’s Hiddenness. True; we yearn for God when we are amidst trials and tribulations. Not only during trials and tribulations, but we yearn for God during other circumstances as well.

            Another article in authored by Margaret Manning Shull explains this situation well, “Why isn’t God more obvious? This question is often asked in many ways and in many contexts, by people of all levels of faith. When prayers go unanswered, why is God silent? When suffering or tragedy strikes, why would God allow this to happen? Why wouldn't God want more people to know God's good news? When all the "evidence" seems to counter the biblical narrative, why doesn't God just give the world a sign? If God was revealed through many wondrous signs and miracles throughout the Bible, why doesn't God act that way today? All of these examples get at the same issue—the seeming "hiddenness" of God.”2

            Hiddenness of God is an ancient theme. The Bible portrays God’s Hiddenness through these verses:

            Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? (Psalm 10:1, NIV)

            Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy? (Job 13:24, NIV)

            “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. (Job 23:8-9).

            Man, then and now, suffers from the same dilemma. He seems to not find God when he needs HIM the most.

            Hiddenness of God is a complex theme. Some Christians who are in pain and suffering seem to have found God’s peace. They may have not necessarily attained deliverance from pain, but they dwell in the peace of God. Other Christians, who are suffering, run helter-skelter trying to find God, which turns into a futile exercise for them.

            Ravi Zacharias often quotes the hymn He Giveth More Grace written by Annie Johnson Flint. Here are the context and the lyrics:3

Annie Johnson Flint, the author of these words, lived a life on this earth full of pain and suffering. She was orphaned as a young girl, lived as an unwelcome burden with her first foster family. However, she finally did find love and acceptance with a new family, only to be orphaned again as a teenager. She suffered many physical afflictions that left her bedridden, incontinent, and in constant pain. And yet she wrote some of the most beautiful, faithful words you’ll find.
“He Giveth More Grace” by Annie Johnson Flint
He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
            This then is one facet of the complexity that requires greater detail. Some Christians, who are in suffering, find God and thus are able to be at peace with God even during their painful predicament. Some others become angry, bitter, and depressed and are at constant war against God during their painful predicament.

            Dr. Bart Ehrman, an erstwhile Christian, currently an agnostic, departed from the Christian fold because of God’s Hiddenness (especially during suffering). He wrote, “Suffering increasingly became a problem for me and my faith. How can one explain all the pain and misery in the world if God—the creator and redeemer of all—is sovereign over it, exercising his will both on the grand scheme and in the daily workings of our lives? Why, I asked, is there such rampant starvation in the world? Why are there droughts, epidemics, hurricanes, and earthquakes? If God answers prayer, why didn’t he answer the prayers of the faithful Jews during the Holocaust? Or of the faithful Christians who also suffered torment and death at the hands of the Nazis? If God is concerned to answer my little prayers about my daily life, why didn’t he answer my and others’ big prayers when millions were being slaughtered by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, when a mudslide killed 30,000 Columbians in their sleep, in a matter of minutes, when disasters of all kinds caused by humans and by nature happened in the world?”4

            God’s Hiddenness is real. How do we cope with God’s Hiddenness?

            It may be depressingly difficult to offer an answer to this highly complicated question if this theme was not addressed in the Bible. The Bible, speaking about God’s Hiddenness is tantamount to God acknowledging HIS hiddenness from HIS people.

            A loving, gracious, merciful and a just God who acknowledges HIS hiddenness from HIS people will always reveal HIMSELF to HIS people. In other words, HE will not let HIS people down.

            The key attribute in finding God during our pain and misery is patience. But godly patience is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. So those who remain in Christ even during their trials and tribulations are more likely to be patient.

            How long do we have to be patient for? I have not the least iota of an idea.

            The Bible says, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8b, NIV).

            Giving God an ultimatum to show up need not work always. Let not man dictate to God as to when HE should show up. This attitude does not work. This attitude will always be to man’s detriment. 

            There is also another possibility – a precarious one at that.

            God may never show up. Even that is within HIS sovereign prerogative. It does not violate any of HIS attributes such as justice, love, mercy or grace.

            The Bible addresses this situation as well.

            Prophet Habakkuk professes faith in God regardless of his circumstances. He affirms his faith in God even if God should allow more suffering and misery, “When the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vines; when the olive trees do not produce, and the fields yield no crops; when the sheep disappear from the pen, and there are no cattle in the stalls, I will rejoice because of the Lord; I will be happy because of the God who delivers me! The sovereign Lord is my source of strength. He gives me the agility of a deer; he enables me to negotiate the rugged terrain.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19, NET).

            Trusting in God even when we do not find HIM during our trials and tribulations is indeed a glorious faith. By trusting in God regardless of our circumstances we echo this wonderful verse, “Will not the judge of the whole earth do what is right?” (Genesis 18:25b, NET).




3Thankfully, Phil Schneider’s blog offers the context and the lyrics for this song:


Websites last accessed on 16th March 2019.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Does The Bible Endorse Suicide Bombing? What Motivates Suicide Bombers?

            Suicide bombing has been a terrorism staple for years. A suicide bomber is one who sacrifices his life and kills many more for the sake of his religion or for the sake of principle.

            Can a Christian be a suicide bomber?

            If the Bible supports suicide bombing and if a Christian can be a suicide bomber, then Christians cannot condemn any act of terrorism that involves suicide bombing. Some of our Muslim friends believe that the Bible endorses suicide bombing. 

            A Christian cannot be a suicide bomber. In other words, a Christian cannot kill people.

            However, a Christian can be a martyr for his faith as the apostles were. The Bible espouses martyrdom (cf. Stephen’s martyrdom in Acts 6 & 7; Matthew 5:11, 10:39; Revelations 20:4). Therefore, a Christian can die (sacrifice his life) for the sake of his faith.

            However, some Muslims inaccurately claim that the Bible endorses suicide bombing.1 They cite Samson’s death as a case in point.

            Christian apologist and blogger, Andy Wrasman, debunks the notion that Samson was a suicide bomber in his article entitled Samson is not a Biblical parallel to Suicide Bombers! Find below an excerpt of his article – the titles of the four distinctive points:2

1st – Samson was a judge over Israel, the people of God.  The position he had was appointed by God.  Justice needed to be served.  The false god and the temple of the Philistines should not prevail against the real God of the universe.
2nd – Samson’s strength always came from God.
3rd – Samson’s death was far different from that of a suicide bomber.
4th – From the Biblical worldview, all life comes from God and it is his to give or take.  All humans die as punishment for our sin (man, woman, or child).  When and how death shall come is a matter left to God.

            Therefore, Samson’s death cannot be associated with suicide bombing.

            Saul’s death can also not be associated with suicide bombing. Saul committed suicide. Period. 

            Interpreting Saul’s death as an endorsement of suicide bombing is an exercise in Eisegesis,3 not Exegesis.4

            Since both the Old Testament (Exodus 20:13, 23:7; Proverbs 6:17) and the New Testament (Matthew 5:21-22, 15:18,19; 1 John 3:11-12) prohibit us from killing people, we could reasonably conclude that a Christian cannot be a suicide bomber.

            So the Bible prohibits the despicable act of suicide bombing. But that does not prevent a Christian from sacrificing his life for the sake of Christ, albeit without harming others.

            The Bible endorses martyrdom.

            The Bible speaks of martyrdom. The Apostles died for the sake of their belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. They died because they literally saw the risen Lord. They knew their life on earth was short and fleeting. They believed they would continue to live after their death and they would be in the presence of God forever and ever.

            The Bible teaches afterlife. Jesus gave the apostles the assurance that they will continue to live even after they die, ““I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26a, NIV). They believed Jesus. Hence, they died for HIS sake.

            Therefore, Christians can sacrifice their lives for the sake of Christ, but they cannot be a suicide bomber. The Bible does not condone suicide bombing.

            What motivates suicide bombing?

            Religions motivate suicide bombing. For instance, Islam endorses suicide bombing.

            Islam also teaches afterlife and martyrdom. A Muslim believes he/she will be in paradise if they die for the sake of Allah (Sura 47: 4-6, 15). Sura 3:157,165-167,169-171&195b teaches that Allah will blot out the sins of the martyrs, and they will go to paradise.

            Atheism, as a religion or a worldview, cannot prevent suicide bombing. If atheists desire to be a suicide bomber, their worldview tacitly endorses it.

            Atheists believe that there is no afterlife. Lack of afterlife is also a motivating factor for martyrdom.

            If there is no afterlife, and if this life is all that there is to be, then what prevents a desolate or a deranged atheist to be an agent of death? Nothing!

            Afterlife is not the only motivating factor for a suicide bomber. There are other factors too. Chief among them is national humiliation.

            BBC cites a study of suicide bombers (because of suicide attacks that failed for a variety of reasons) from Tel Aviv University and reports that ‘national humiliation’ is another motivating factor, “…"national humiliation" ranked higher as a reason for an attack." This was by far the clearest, strongest motivation they expressed. “It is not a matter of personal suffering; they tried to avenge their communities suffering. They mentioned events that they saw on television, not events that happened to them personally.”5

            Therefore, the belief or unbelief in afterlife and/or national humiliation are indeed motivating factors for suicide bombing.




3An interpretation, especially of Scripture, that expresses the interpreter's own ideas, bias, or the like, rather than the meaning of the text:

4Critical explanation or interpretation of a text or portion of a text, especially of the Bible:


Websites last accessed on 7th May 2019.