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Does God condone lying?

Submitted: 8/24/2008
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Question: How do I explain to Christians on Rahab`s lying to save the lives of the spies in Joshua 2? Does God condone lying?

Answer: God does not condone lying. But every untrue statement is not necessarily a lie. The motivation is everything. For example, if I was hiding Ann Frank's family during WWII and the Nazi's came along and asked if I was hiding any Jews in my home, I would tell them no. The commandments of God are not arbitrary and do not exist in a vacuum. The purpose of the commandments is that our lives would go well. But sometimes we must say something that is not true for the sake of preserving life. This is not lying. The story of Rahab is an example of this.

In the modern world many people believe in moral relativism, which is the belief that right and wrong behavior can only be determined by the circumstances. Though there is a certain degree of truth to this doctrine, the problem with it is that it usually gets used to justify lying for ones own selfish interests. This is not what the Bible teaches.