I was recently visiting a popular Atheist website. The writer was claiming that the Bible was perverse and disgusting and promoted immoral activity. He then quoted the following verse to substantiate his point:
Genesis 19:32 "Come, let us make our father drink wine, and let us lie with him, that we may preserve our family through our father."
Now based solely off of what is written, I would agree that this incestuous behavior is pretty disgusting. But the real question is whether or not the quoted text is actually representative of what the Bible is teaching. Remember, the Bible in many places is written as a historical narrative. That means that it records what actually happened and just because something is recorded doesn’t mean the behavior was approved of. Let’s now look at the entire story in context (remember Lot and his daughters just barely escaped Sodom and Gomorrah as God began to destroy it and Lot's wife died in the process).
Genesis 19:30-38 “And Lot went up from Zoar, and stayed in the mountains, and his two daughters with him; for he was afraid to stay in Zoar; and he stayed in a cave, he and his two daughters. Then the first-born said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and let us lie with him, that we may preserve our family through our father. So they made their father drink wine that night, and the first-born went in and lay with her father; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. And it came about on the morrow, that the first-born said to the younger, "Behold, I lay last night with my father; let us make him drink wine tonight also; then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve our family through our father. So they made their father drink wine that night also, and the younger arose and lay with him; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father. And the first-born bore a son, and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. And as for the younger, she also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi; he is the father of the sons of Ammon to this day.”
There are several important things to note here. First, Lot was not aware of what was happening so he did not approve of this behavior. Secondly, his daughters secretly plotted against him, drugged him, and then finally raped him. Each bore a son as a result of this activity. (It is also important to note that the daughters were not driven by lust. Rather they were driven by the fear they would never marry and therefore they would be left with no one care for them. This certainly doesn't excuse their immoral behavior, but it does show how the sinful culture of Sodom and Gomorrah caused them to justify their actions.) God will not be mocked and even a cursory study of the Old Testament will show that the Moabites and the Ammonites were among the most wicked people alive during that era.
The sin exhibited by Lot’s daughters had a long and lasting outcome that affected thousands of people. (Think about people you know who seem to have a long family line of problems. They are affected by other’s choices much the same way). The Bible did not record this activity because it supports the behavior but rather to show the real consequences of sin in real people’s lives.
Not simply looking at a verse but the entire context of the passage could be used in many other situations as well. For example, John 11:35 simply says “Jesus wept.” Now if we just look at this verse, someone could claim that an all powerful God was actually more of a crybaby. However, looking at the verse in context we can see that is far from the truth and that in his crying he was not only proving his humanity, but expressing deep heartfelt emotion. Therefore when life throws us its worse and we are heartbroken, we can know that we have a God in heaven who can empathize with us.
This post has gone on to be a bit longer than I intended. I hope you found it useful and see the importance not only for your own understanding of the Bible but in refuting those who simply pick and choose verses to make the Bible say what they want it too. If you’d like more information on this topic, you can CLICK HERE.