Did God condone and order mass killings? October 1, 2005Posted by roopster in Bible, Christianity, church, faith, God, Religion, spirituality, Theology.
In a previous blog “Will the real god please stand up?” I explored the different portrayals of God within the Hebrew Bible a.k.a. Old Testament. Today, I would like to discuss the contrast between the God we, as Christians, serve and the God of the Hebrew Bible. I previously explored this point in another blog entry, however, my focus centered around the question, “Is the Bible THE Word of God?”
What many Christians ignore is the fact that the God described in the Hebrew Bible is NOT the God they believe in. We believe God is a loving Father who cares for his children. God is merciful, kind, compassionate, and a protector. While those types of images are portrayed in the Hebrew Bible, the exact opposite is also displayed. How can this be reconciled?
Let’s look at a small sampling of these images of God. God killed the enemies of his chosen people, the Children of Israel. He even killed those among his chosen people who dared defy him.
1 Sam.15:2-3 This is what the LORD Almighty says: `I have decided to settle accounts with the nation of Amalek for opposing Israel when they came from Egypt. Now go and completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation–men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, camels, and donkeys.’ ”
Ezek.9:5-7 Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all–old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin your task right here at the Temple.” So they began by killing the seventy leaders. “Defile the Temple!” the LORD commanded. “Fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill! Go!” So they went throughout the city and did as they were told.
Jer.13:14 I will smash them one against the other, even parents against children, says the LORD. I will not let my pity or mercy or compassion keep me from destroying them.’ ”
Lam.2:2 Without mercy the Lord has destroyed every home in Israel. In his anger he has broken down the fortress walls of Jerusalem. He has brought to dust the kingdom and all its rulers.
Num.25:4 The LORD issued the following command to Moses: “Seize all the ringleaders and execute them before the LORD in broad daylight, so his fierce anger will turn away from the people of Israel.”
God killed children for calling his prophet “baldy.” He even killed someone for trying to keep the Ark from falling and killed 70 or more men for simply being too curious and looking into the Ark.
1 Sam.6:19 But the LORD killed seventy men from Beth-shemesh because they looked into the Ark of the LORD. And the people mourned greatly because of what the LORD had done.
(Note: NKJV says 50,070 men).
These images of God cannot be reconciled with how we view God. Yes, we have our “covenant” explanations, but we do also believe that God cannot and does not ever change. He is the “same yesterday, today, and forever.” How can these radically different portrayals of God be reconciled?