Funny False Teaching

Doctor's note diagnosing God with alzheimer's and infertilityThis blog addresses serious theological problems, including when people deliberately confuse all kinds of Bible teaching. But there are times when we accidentally misstate things. Here are some examples found in my work as an editor/proofreader. These all speak to the nature of God (uh… well…). Let’s have a theological chuckle—and maybe learn a bit about good writing too.

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“Despite fertility issues and advanced age, God…”

That inadvertently reads that God is infertile and old. The problem here is referred to as a misplaced (or dangling) modifier. When my sister heard this blooper, she thought for a minute (after spitting her iced tea across the room!) and responded, “Well, God is quite old, and he did manage to have only one Son!” Seriously, our sentence should have said: “Despite Abraham’s and Sarah’s issues of fertility and advanced age, God provided them with a son.”

“When he and Sarah had no children, God…”

Same problem as the one above. It needs to read, “When Abraham and Sarah had no children, God…”

“Even before he was born, God told Hagar how hostile he would be.”

Problems galore! Was God born? Was God talking to Hagar before he was born? Would God himself be hostile, or was he speaking of someone else? And possibly, the someone else was hostile before he was born. So let’s start over: “Even before Ishmael was born, God told Hagar that the child would become a hostile man.”

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We sure seem to have lots of problems with God’s nature as relates to the family of Abraham! A couple of non-Abraham misstatements about God:

“Throughout these more than 35 years with Alzheimer’s, God…”

Poor God. Besides being old and infertile, he also has Alzheimer’s? Of course, the writer should have said “my mother’s” instead of “these.”

“Joseph surely had the right to hate his brothers, Potiphar and God.”

That sentence provides a strong defense for always using the serial comma (which would be a comma before that “and”). As is, it misreads that Potiphar and God were Joseph’s brothers. And that God deserved being hated.

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Gotta love those word funnies! But this post still provides a reminder of the importance of portraying God as he really is—as his Word describes him.


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