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Christians, particularly Creationists and presuppositionalists have a strong tendency to claim that God lacks the ability to lie. The claim is explicitly documented in varying places in the Bible, and should be examined because many biblical literalists claim the Bible, as the word of God who cannot lie, disproves evolution and other scientific theories prima facie. Criticism of this doctrine is usually done by showing the strange philosophical and moral consequences it entails.

Biblical claims of divine honesty[edit]

The Bible explicitly claims God is unable to lie in the following passages:

  • Titus 1:1-2
    Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
    In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
  • Hebrews 6:18
    That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
  • 2 Samuel 7:28
    And now, O Lord GOD, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant:
  • Psalm 119:159-160
    Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness.
    Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

Philosophical and moral consequences[edit]

Lack of omnipotence[edit]

This proposition simply implies that God is not omnipotent, and raises the question of why deceit would be more difficult than, say, granting arbitrary miracles or creating the universe. And, remember that their version of God is so far above mere human standards as to freely commit mass killings and destruction without blame - why would a little white lie about science be so out of the question?

Arbitrary tests of faith[edit]

Creationists in particular has a tendency to put the scientific evidence reality that contradicts scripture as "tests of faith", especially before they have a semi-coherent way of reinterpret the evidence to fit their presupposition. Examples of this include the hypothesis that God created starlight in transit to Earth as one of the solution to the starlight problem.[1].

The problem with that is best sum up with another section of the same scripture:

Romans 1:20
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Saint Paul in the epistle said that the nature of God can be known from the things that he created. What morally and philosophically would result from a God who is willing to plant false evidence as test of faith is open to interpretation.

An Additional problem with such deception is why would God need craploads of faith-testing props lying (pun intended) around everywhere? Remember God created everything including whoever planted those faith-testing props, so God is ultimately responsible for the existence of these in one way or another.

Breaking the infinite regress[edit]

In presuppositional apologetics, God is claimed to be the solution to the infinite regress the apologist created in epistemology. As a result, it is a necessary condition that their version of God lacks the ability to deceive. the following is an example from Sye Ten Bruggencate:

See also Deuteronomy 13:1-5 and 18.20 which basically make it clear that if someone comes saying they have a revelation from God that the way to test the truth of this is whether or not it agrees with what has already been revealed - if it contradicts the revealed Word of God in the Bible then that revelation is not from God.- Sye Ten Bruggencate

The problem with such a position is clear: What do you use to check the first piece of information revealed to you (which is the Bible in most cases)? The morton's fork is applied in this case:

  • The choice of not to test the first revelation when it is first revealed to you implies said revelation is indistinguishable between authentic revelation and faith-testing trickery.
  • The choice of having something to test the first revelation against would be, by the fact itself, imply neither the first revelation nor the reference to test things against can possibly be from God.
  • The third choice of testing the first piece of revelation with another revelation means either the argument becomes circular or chain of infinite regress does not end there.

Lying by omission[edit]

One interesting dilemma will come to pass given such a rule: is God capable of lying by omission?

For Abrahamic religions, the problem is that the scriptures are written in sequence regardless which religion you are in:

As such, the argument is that since new contents are introduced (rest of Tanakh, New Testament, Qur'an or Book of Mormon) at each of the religions, the first parts of the scripture are inherently incomplete. Therefore, If the entire body of scripture are to be treated as divine revelations, each of the revelations are themselves incomplete at the time they are given.

See also[edit]


  1. For the record, both Answers in Genesis and Creation Ministries International at some point started discouraging people from using this argument when they spotted the problem about this bad argument.