2 Chronicles 32: Attacking God with a Straw Man

I’m not an expert on debate techniques yet, but it seems as if in 2 Chronicles 32, the king of Assyria was ordering his men to commit a pretty large logical fallacy as they tried to dishearten the defenders of Jerusalem.

Hezekiah was absolutely certain that God would be able to defend Jerusalem.

2Ch 32:7  Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him:

2Ch 32:8  With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

However, the men of Assyria took a shot directly at this claim indirectly if that makes sense. It is similar to a straw man argument.

2Ch 32:15  Now therefore let not Hezekiah deceive you, nor persuade you on this manner, neither yet believe him: for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people out of mine hand, and out of the hand of my fathers: how much less shall your God deliver you out of mine hand?

Hezekiah presented the first argument that said that God would be able to protect the city of Jerusalem and all the people. That is what should have been the debate topic.

Rather than debate the argument directly, the Assyrian presented the argument that no other god had been able to stop his army yet. Based on that argument, he then said that the God of the Bible would not be able to stop him.

Do you see the problem with this argument? He was setting up an argument that he knew was true, but he did not take the current situation into account and actually avoided the topic altogether. He had never come up against the one true God, so it is kind of irrelevant what happened with all the other deities.

I have become very interested in this field of apologetics lately, and this is very similar to what we often encounter in the world every day. I am not saying that we all need to become brilliant orators, but it is beneficial to think about the situation and be able to follow a conversation.

If you need a good resource to get you started, check out my review of Tactics by Greg Kokul. I would definitely recommend it.

About Zak Schmoll

Zak Schmoll is the founder of Entering the Public Square, and Managing Editor of An Unexpected Journal. He earned his MA in Apologetics at Houston Baptist University and is currently a PhD student in Humanities at Faulkner University. His work has been featured on several websites including The Federalist, Public Discourse and the Fourth World Journal.

Posted on August 25, 2013, in 2 Chronicles and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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