Just wondering if anyone has a link about the genicide in the Bible? I don't seem to be able to find a reason why God said DO NOT KILL and then told them to KILL THEM ALL...including innocent babies & children...I always was told that He was purging the land and the blood line for Chirst or because those nations were the nations sacrificing children to pagan gods (satan), etc...but then God ends up justifying killing children, etc by genicide. And what about "love your enemies and do good to them". Anyways, just a question I've been thinking about...
This is from my book. Hope it helps:
The Judgments of God
What are we to make of passages in the Bible that characterize God as extremely harsh and judgmental, to the point where the "punishments" appear to far outweigh the crimes? Examples include depictions of "Hell" as a place of torment, God's apparent use of war and genocide in the Old Testament to accomplish His purposes, the Genesis Flood, and so on. Is God really this harsh and judgmental, or were the writers of the Bible mistaken in ascribing these acts of judgment to God? In my view, God's judgments can be extremely harsh and, indeed, they often do outweigh the crimes. The writers of the Bible were correct in ascribing these judgments to God.
In order for human history to play itself out in a context of free will, God has given man the ability to make his own decisions, whether good or evil, for the most part, without coercion on God's part. If rewards and punishments were immediately handed out directly by God, or by some natural law of reciprocity, then man's moral and ethical and spiritual decisions could not possibly be freely made. If every evil act were directly followed by punishment, and every good deed immediately followed by a reward, then the human race would be just like lab rats, and all human actions would be little more than conditioned responses to direct stimuli. God wants man to become inherently good and do good things because he is good, not because he has no other choice. God wants us to learn how to love as God loves, with agape, self-sacrificing love. This would not be possible if rewards were immediately handed out after each act of love. You can see the dilemma that God faces. He wants to reward our good behavior, but at the same time He does not want rewards and punishments to be direct motivators of our actions. Thus, He has placed us into a world that is inherently unfair. The natural consequences of man's sinful behaviors include suffering, war, starvation, disease, and much unhappiness. Sometimes good behavior is rewarded, sometimes not. Sometimes the punishments far exceed the crimes. Sometimes good behavior is punished and bad behavior rewarded.
For centuries man has wondered why a God of love would allow so much evil and suffering to exist in this world. Well, now you know why. Ultimately good will be rewarded and evil punished, but, in most cases, rewards and punishments must be delayed and not directly and immediately connected with man's acts of obedience or disobedience. God does intervene in human history to affect the outcome of our lives, but He does it in very judicious ways. He intervenes at critical points in history in order to generally "steer" things in the right direction, and there are limits on just how often, or how directly, He intervenes. At one critical point in history He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to reveal more about God to us and to pay the ultimate price for all of our sins on the Cross of Calvary. At critical points in Old Testament history, God intervened to alter the natural course of human events.
Because God is the original "cause" of everything, we can say that all events in human history are, at the very least, indirectly caused by God. God is completely "sovereign" over His creation in the sense that He caused it all and has the ability to change the course of history at will. Because God brought the universe into being, knowing full well what the outcomes would be, and because He does not directly intervene to eliminate all sin, suffering, natural calamities, starvation, murder, violence, war, and all other forms of evil, then it could be correctly argued that it is God's will for both good and evil to exist. This being the case, then the only way God can be truly loving and just by nature is for the final outcome of human history to be a "good" one. This I believe to be the case.
Historical events must not be judged as "good" or "bad" in and of themselves. Ultimately, all events fit into God's plan of redemption, but in the short term, from our human perspective, these events may be assigned a purpose in our lives by God and the short term outcome may be "good" or "bad" for us depending on how we respond. Most of us have heard the saying in Romans that "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28). Christians who respond correctly to these events will experience a "good" result in their lives, while those who respond incorrectly may experience an adverse result.
It is important to remember that most of the world's tragedies are not directly caused by God, but are a result of random natural processes and man's inhumanity to man. Let's examine, for example, a situation where a parent loses an infant child to an unexpected accident or illness. While it is true that God could have miraculously intervened into human history to prevent the death, we know from experience that He generally does not act in this way. Instead of directly causing or preventing human and natural events, God instead assigns purposes to these events as they occur. The parent who responds in the correct way to the death of the child may be drawn closer to God and family through the experience and be better enabled to comfort others when they also experience loss in their lives. If they respond in the incorrect way, their relationships with God and others may suffer. Sometimes, through acts of grace, God brings about a good result, even when we respond in the wrong way. Potentially there may be numerous short-term "good" or "bad" outcomes, depending on God's purposes and man's responses. In the long term, I believe all outcomes to be "good" because God is ultimately sovereign over His creation, and God is good.
Unlike the infant's death above, however, some catastrophic events, such as the Genesis Flood, were directly caused by the miraculous intervention of God. Can this type of intervention on God's part be justified, given God's loving and forgiving nature? Some may argue that the story was not an actual historical event, or that the details of the event were embellished as a result of the story being transmitted for centuries by oral transmission before being committed to writing. It may be correctly argued, even from the perspective of the literal inerrancy of the Scriptures, that the flood was localized to the Mesopotamian area, where most of the civilized world resided. Whether localized or not, the event was still a major catastrophe. If the Flood were not caused by God's direct intervention, but were only a natural occurrence which God used for His purposes, would that make God any less harsh than a God who directly caused the catastrophe? If God allowed the event to occur without intervening, He would be just as responsible for its occurrence. The important thing to remember is that, unlike natural occurrences, the Genesis Flood, although catastrophic to some, did serve a redemptive purpose. Mankind got a fresh start, and although sin would eventually regain its foothold on mankind in future generations, who knows how much worse things might have been had not God intervened? Although the general pattern of mankind at the time of the flood was evil, there were undoubtedly many "innocents" who died. If God is good, and fully intends to redeem all mankind, then we can assume that those who died in the Flood, both guilty and "innocent" alike, will eventually join with all creation some day in acknowledging Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Another example of this type of intervention on the part of God would be the apparent God-sanctioned genocide in Joshua. To view this in proper perspective it is important to understand that the harshest judgment that God can inflict upon sinful mankind is to stand back and allow history to take its natural course. Although God's judgments and corrections may seem harsh, they are less harsh than what naturally occurs on a daily basis in human history. When God steps in to alter this natural state of affairs, He is usually performing an act of redemption, as well as of judgment. According to the Bible narrative, after the Exodus, God ordered the Hebrew people to return to the land of Canaan, their ancestral home. The assumption was that they would have to take the land by force of arms. According to Deuteronomy 20:16-18, Moses instructed the Hebrews to completely destroy the people living in the cities of Canaan and not leave anything or any one alive, including the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. According to Moses, this was the command of God. The purpose of the destruction of these peoples was to punish them for their detestable sins and immorality, and to prevent them from teaching the Hebrews to worship false gods and commit the same types of sins. According to the Book of Joshua, acts of genocide were carried out against some, but not all of those cities.
Proponents of the literal inerrancy of the Scriptures, although perhaps disturbed by the harshness of God's commands in this regard, have no problem accepting the narratives at face value. There are two different schools of thought, among those who hold a more liberal view of the Scriptures, regarding the issue of God-approved genocide in the Bible. The first view is that God never actually commanded the Hebrews to commit these acts of genocide, and that what we are reading in the Scriptures is a record of what the writers thought God wanted, and that they were mistaken. The idea is that God's revelations to us are progressive in nature, culminating in the teachings of Christ, who instructs us to love our enemies, turn the other cheek, and return good for evil. The idea is that the God we have come to know and understand is primarily a God of love, not judgment.
The other school of thought is that although the narratives may not be historically accurate in many of the details, the major thrust and intent of the narratives must be taken seriously. The Bible, although not verbally inerrant in every respect, is, nevertheless, the Holy Spirit-inspired record of man's "genuine" encounters with God. I, myself, subscribe to this view. It is hard for me to believe that the events of the Exodus and the subsequent resettlement of the Land of Canaan, which are so central to the major themes of salvation history, were carried out in direct opposition to the commands or intentions of God. If you believe that the Bible is man's "mostly mistaken" point of view regarding his encounters with God, I wonder how genuine those encounters could actually have been. You leave room for huge latitude with respect to the handling of Christian doctrine and pretty much give yourself license to believe whatever you want. Whenever the Scriptures teach something you don't like, it is easy for you to just dismiss the teaching in favor of other teachings which are more in harmony with your views. The Scriptures cease to be the God-inspired source of authoritative information about God. On the other hand, if you believe the Scriptures to be man's Holy Spirit-inspired record of genuine encounters with God, and if you believe that this record was believed and attested to by the larger community of faith in which the writers operated, then you have to take very seriously even the teachings which don't easily fit into your theological systems of thought.
If the Old Testament accounts of God-approved genocide during the conquest of Canaan don't fit very well into your views about God and the way He works, then maybe you need to reexamine those views. Far worse catastrophes have occurred in human history than the events surrounding the Exodus and the conquest of the land of Canaan. In addition to natural disasters which take the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year, millions of people have been killed in acts of genocide throughout the history of mankind. Examples include constant warfare and genocide among various nations in Old Testament and New Testament times, the persecution and torture of Christians by non-Christians, the persecutions and torture of non-Christians by professing Christians of all ages, and in this century, the extermination of six million Jews by the Nazis, the extermination of tens of millions of innocent citizens of Communist Russia, China, Laos, Cambodia, Viet Nam, and the list goes on. In our current day, as we speak, millions of people in third world countries are dying from starvation, disease, war and genocide. And God does not intervene to prevent any of this from happening.
No matter how you look at it, God is directly or indirectly responsible for all that occurs in human history. If God were to intervene today and instantly destroy the millions of evil people in the world, would we angrily accuse Him of genocide, or would we rejoice and praise Him instead?
The truth is that God takes no pleasure in judging sin or in allowing it to occur without restraint in our present age. But in order for mankind to develop good qualities in a context of freewill, without direct coercion on God's part, He must for a period of time allow sin to run its full course. The judgments of God which take the form of direct intervention into our individual and corporate human lives, are not nearly as harsh as the judgments which we humans inflict upon ourselves.
On the cross of Calvary, Jesus, took upon Himself the penalty for the sins of all mankind and achieved total victory over sin and death. From God's perspective in eternity, the ultimate restoration of all humanity to right relationship with Himself, has already occurred. From our human perspective within the context of our limitations of space and time, we still have a long ways to go, and many life lessons must be learned along the way. The various forms of suffering and adversity which we experience in this present age, are important and necessary for our development, but cannot be even remotely compared with the wonderful things God has in store for all mankind one day.