Righteous Deceit: An Implicit Doctrine of Scripture
The Bible explicitly prescribes deceit as being sinful, and yet there are a variety of descriptive accounts in which deceit seems to be presented implicitly in a positive and even commendable light. This presents the reader with an apparent conflict: If deceit is always sinful, how is it that some accounts portray it positively? This thesis demonstrates that deceit is indeed portrayed in a positive light under specific circumstances, and therefore at times can be called righteous. This thesis also demonstrates that the apparent conflict between the prescriptive and descriptive deceit accounts is resolvable using various ethical approaches, with varying levels of success. Graded Absolutism is shown to present the fewest theological difficulties, however difficulties remain. A blended approach will be endorsed. Finally, this thesis proposes the use of the label, “righteous deceit” to help teach and explain the often difficult “deceit” accounts in Scripture.