God order killing?

Despite being a Christian, I still can’t fathom how could God order Joshua to kill everybody, male to female, old to young in Jericho. Then in other passages, God ordered His people to massacre Gentiles. One of the most disturbing in the Bible is that the Levites came together and killed their brothers and relavtives.

Can anybody give me answer why would an all-loving God do this?

UnityofTrinity in Christ,

I have not examined every instance in scripture concerning God’s commands to kill individuals or particular groups of people. Therefore, I will answer your question in a general way that applies generally to most situations.

First of all, it is important to remember that God made everything and has “unlimited” rights over his creation.

The distance between man and God is infinite, while the distance between man and lower living creatures is finite and very small relative to our position vis-a-vis our creator. Man is completely justified in annihilating germs and microbes that cause disease and no one bats an eye. Likewise, man kills termites by the millions and no one cries over them either. We can go up the hierarchy of living creatures and few will ever get excited about a man catching, killing and then eating a fish. Man has dominion over the lower creatures and no one gets worked up over the actions of man until we get pretty far up the hierarchy of living creatures. Even then, most will not get excited if we kill a beautiful wild beast in self defense or if we need it for food in order to survive.

We have dominion over lower living organisms, but our dominion is not the same as the infinite rights possessed by God over his creation which he “continuously” maintains in existence.

Secondly, man is not in a position to know and see what God does, and man is not in a position to even begin to appreciate God’s justice. Likewise, man’s sense of justice, love, and mercy are imperfect while God’s sense of these things is infinitely perfect.

Thirdly, man is not infinite or perfect. Man is prone to sin and often commits sin. Man, who is finite sins against God who is infinite. The seriousness of the sins of finite man against our infinite God dwarf the seriousness of a dog mauling its master’s child. In the latter finite case and circumstance, no one has a problem dispatching the canine offender.

Keeping all of these things in mind, helps us appreciate that the standards man applies in his daily living, to whatever degree they are good, are only appropriate in so far as they apply to finite men dealing with other finite creatures such as themselves and other lower forms of life. It is totally inappropriate for us to try applying our judgment, as if it is somehow the standard, to the actions of God. We have only fragments of the picture and have little or no clue what is proper.

God would be perfectly within his rights if he chose to simply shut the power off to all that he has created. God’s love, mercy, and divine plan come into play in ways that explain why he has not done that very thing. No one has earned God’s love and mercy nor do we deserve it. Instead, it is freely given but not at the expense of God’s perfect justice. The problem is that we do not properly appreciate the justice, let alone the love and mercy that is God’s.

I hope this helps.

[LEFT]**“How Can God [in the OT] Order the Killing and Massacre of Innocents?” [Amalekites, etc.] **

Because God is Creator He also has the prerogative to judge. This is analogous to our experience. Society takes it upon itself to judge the criminal and punish him if he supercedes the “just” laws that govern the society, in order to prevent chaos and suffering. If that is true of human society (one man to another), it is all the more of God, because He is ontologically above us (Creator and created).

more at socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/11/how-can-god-in-ot-order-killing-and.html

[/LEFT]

Along the same subject lines, you might find this blog or this one an interesting read.

Consider reading Scripture from a human point of view…this is a record of people’s experience of God. Ancient people lived in a very different culture etc. Their understanding and interpretation of God’s action in their lives is different than ours.

So, we need not read those troubling passages as meaning, only and simply, that God commanded such horrors, but rather, it may simply have been the understanding of the contemporary people, expressed in their thoughts and language, however imperfectly it reflected God’s true will.

The real meaning of love has been lost in our society. It has been reduced to mere sentiments, for the most part. Gushy “feelings.”

Love, however, is not a “feeling.” It is a choice, an act of the will.

We also forget that God is not only infinitely merciful, He is infinitely just.

God killing (or ordering the killing) of human beings is never unjust, because it is His right to kill anything/anyone that He creates. We think of killing as wrong, which it is, because we don’t have the same rights as God to kill anyone. When we kill someone, we are usurping God’s rights to do the same. When God does it, it is always right and just.

when the Israelis commited any unjustice to anyone, God always punished them. if God determine that someone had to die, it is because God uses His justice. there is no injustice in God. that is all that we need to know.

dont confuse justice with fairness.

Just because God loves everybody, it doesnt mean He will let us get away with everything.

What’s the point of that list? The author could have spared himself the trouble and just realized that God has killed every human being who has ever lived. God also created every human being who has ever lived. But it was by the envy of the devil and man’s sin that death became a reality of our lives, and it was by Jesus’ death and resurrection that we are given the opportunity to be resurrected on the last day.

The question of whether or not God determines anyone has to die is open to speculation and opinion. It’s not a clear cut fact according to Catholic teaching.

Sure but as you say, when we kill it is for food/security of our home/etc. Killing in any manner which prolongs suffering unnecessarily WILL have people worked up because it is wrong and people do go to jail for that.

We have dominion over lower living organisms, but our dominion is not the same as the infinite rights possessed by God over his creation which he “continuously” maintains in existence.

sure, but being omnibenevolent along with omnipotent means that God would do things in the ‘best’ possible way, always.

Secondly, man is not in a position to know and see what God does, and man is not in a position to even begin to appreciate God’s justice. Likewise, man’s sense of justice, love, and mercy are imperfect while God’s sense of these things is infinitely perfect.

This line can be used to justify anything, in any religion.

Thirdly, man is not infinite or perfect. Man is prone to sin and often commits sin. Man, who is finite sins against God who is infinite. The seriousness of the sins of finite man against our infinite God dwarf the seriousness of a dog mauling its master’s child. In the latter finite case and circumstance, no one has a problem dispatching the canine offender.

yes, but again, the dog wouldn’t be mauled to death as a punishment, it is killed quickly.

It is totally inappropriate for us to try applying our judgment, as if it is somehow the standard, to the actions of God. We have only fragments of the picture and have little or no clue what is proper.

again, we have intelligence and must be able to use it to determine which religion is likely to be the most accurate. Were one to evangelize to another and not be able to explain a concerning issue such as this, to some degree at least, that person would be left not as confident that Catholicism is the true religion.

God would be perfectly within his rights if he chose to simply shut the power off to all that he has created. God’s love, mercy, and divine plan come into play in ways that explain why he has not done that very thing. No one has earned God’s love and mercy nor do we deserve it. Instead, it is freely given but not at the expense of God’s perfect justice. The problem is that we do not properly appreciate the justice, let alone the love and mercy that is God’s.

I hope this helps.

So why wouldn’t an omnibenevolent God just snap a finger and have these people instantly die? What is the purpose of children witnessing the horror of the slaughter of their families before suffering a painful death themselves? Why is this the better method for a perfect God to employ and how does the seemingly preventable suffering of children fit with God’s perfect nature?

Kate50,

I think you may be nit picking my statements as opposed to appreciating the points made in the manner in which they were intended.

Nevertheless, I’ll take your challenges as stated. First of all, we are only sensitive to killing animals “quickly and mercifully” because our particular society has decided that it’s a good thing. This, however, is not universal even within our own country. We catch fish in nets and their deaths are neither quick or painless. Nobody is going to jail for that, and no one is going to jail for catching fish with hooks and lines that inflict pain and suffering either. Moreover, our particular sensitivities are not universally accepted by the rest of the world.

You say that God’s benevolence means that he will always do things in the “best” possible way. The best possible way is certainly not established by you or I and by our vantage point and perspective. Sometimes, however, we can get a glimpse and explanation that is quite reasonable for purposes of understanding why an entire people might be subject to something that you consider to be less than good and merciful within the OT.

Please note that our modern standards should not be applied to the standards of the ancient middle east and pagan societies. If you study practices and behaviors of the OT neighbors of ancient Israel, you will quickly realize just how corrupt and evil they were. Their pagan practices included everything imaginable including painfully sacrificing their children to their pagan gods.

Likewise, the pagans believed that their gods were more powerful than those of their neighbors and they took their idols with them into battle. Victory simply reinforced their pagan beliefs and practices. Unfortunately, even the Israelites would sometimes fall into idolatry and pagan practices. The Israelites, at times, even fell into the practice of sacrificing their children to the pagan idol Molech.

God dealt with primitive pagans in ways that these people understood. Unfortunately, they only understood brute force, and would not submit. Their cultures were so imbued with this sort of activity, and their gods thought to be so powerful, that the remedy would be of a type that got the message across. The wars and punishments doled out to the pagans by the Israelites were arguably the only methods that would convince them that their pagan gods were mere idols and that the God of Israel was the one true God. An examination of the historical record strongly supports this view.

We can even see a demonstration of this with the example of Pharaoh and his refusal to free the Israelites. God’s power was demonstrated gently and then Moses asked Pharaoh to let his people go. Not surprisingly Pharaoh refused. It then took a series of terrible plagues culminating in the death of the first born of each Egyptian to force Pharaoh’s hand into releasing the Israelites.

We are not in a position to understand or appreciate all of the actions of God, and it is prideful for us as mere human beings to make any assumption that we can. This is not a recipe for justifying anything and everything. If that is somehow true, then the opposite view is a recipe for justifying any and all criticism of the actions of God by human beings, and thus to quickly destroy any reason for faith whatsoever.

I hope this begins to help.

What you see as nit-picking is faith harming for some. Many, many people have serious issues with this topic. If it bothers you or you don’t have time for this level of detail, I am fine with searching for another person to discuss this with.

When we cause unnecessary suffering, people do go to jail over it for animal cruelty. Catching fish with nets does not fall under this category because that is the best way that these people are able catch them for food. Some suffering will obviously be had to sustain us, but people like Michael Vick go to jail for animal cruelty when the animal suffering does not serve a purpose for food/security/etc.

While yes, the OT’s way of life is different than our own, and our standards can not always be applied to the people of earlier times, God is perfect throughout time and would not do something morally wrong simply because it may suit the culture of the time. God does not ‘stoop’ to our level of morality, rather, His is far superior to our own.

As a side note, you mention they painfully sacrificed children to their gods - do not forget that this was almost carried out in the name of God too in the Bible.

You have not answered why causing pain and suffering to children is morally superior than instant death for them - or no death.

I disagree with your last paragraph’s seemingly core message that dialogue of hard issues is not a good thing and leads to pride. While obviously God is far superior, if we can not make rudimentary sense of something that seems on the surface cruel(because other options seem better), then how can the faith be defended? The purpose of this conversation is not to judge or criticize God, (as God is obviously perfect) but it is to have a better understanding which will lead to better faith.

True…Michael Vick and others get punished for what we consider to be cruelty to animals. From our human perspective some things that we do to other living creatures is overlooked as perfectly okay while others result in punishment. Fishing is not considered to be cruel, even when it is done for sport. One could argue, however, that sport fishing is not much different than Vick’s adventures in cruelty.

Now, if you could talk to bacteria, fish, and dogs and ask them what they thought about the painful and deadly things inflicted upon them by human beings, I’m afraid that the bacteria and fish would be just as upset as the dogs that were mistreated by Michael Vick. Once again, it is all based upon perspective. We think that the bacteria should be destroyed and we have many justifications that we can use for making that decision. In God’s judgment and from his perspective, the evil done by man may very well justify annihilation and severe punishments. The bacteria and fish don’t like what happens to them from their perspective anymore than human beings like what happens to them for their sins.

When we destroy bacteria we do so even though bacteria have not actually sinned. When we fish we go after fish even though they have not sinned. When man is punished, it is because man has sinned and his transgressions are against the Creator. The difference is enormous. Bacteria, fish, dogs, and men are all finite. God is infinite and the difference is immeasurably greater than that between man and other creatures.

Man’s sins against man often make these examples look like child’s play. Likewise, some modern examples make some of the pagan OT activities look less heinous even though we don’t seem to think so. For example, most people in the U.S. feel that dropping the atomic bombs on Japan was necessary. Naturally, the Japanese don’t see it that way. Likewise, the fire bombings of Tokyo in WWII are considered war crimes by the Japanese, but Americans hardly consider the issue at all. Our perspectives are what they are and they are often shaped by our sensibilities and experience. We have to be extremely careful in all of this. We justify, and perhaps rightly, many different human actions. Nevertheless, we have nothing in the way of rights as compared to the Creator.

The goodness of God and his mercy are that of an infinite being and are perfect. I have not suggested that God stoops to our level of morality. Instead, one must always consider God’s perfect justice as well as his goodness and mercy. Our examination of OT events needs to keep that perfect justice in mind. That is why I gave the examples such as that of Pharaoh. God gave Pharaoh every chance, but it took extremely stern measures to make him yield. Such was typical of pagans in ancient times. From the standpoint of sin, self idolatry, and the appropriate justice, Pharaoh is lucky to have come out of all this alive.

If you are referring to Abraham sacrificing Isaac then you are only supporting my point. God tested Abraham, and it is appropriate that Abraham should be willing to obey at all costs. God tested Abraham, but did not let Abraham kill Isaac. It is important to see that God has “all” of the rights over his creation and this is clearly understood by Abraham. God could have exercised that right, but did not. God only “tested” the man that scripture declares to be our father in faith. We need to think and believe as did Abraham.

When a culture/people lives in a fashion that is cruel, evil, and in most ways highly uncivilized, that culture/people will reap what they sow. Does that make the savage people or their savage children feel better when it comes back to haunt them? Well, of course not, but that is what happens. If you live by the sword you die by the sword.

The OT Jews spoke almost exclusively in terms of primary causes. They normally did not speak in terms of secondary causes and attributed everything to God. There are real possibilities in the interpretation of scripture that would explain the point you’ve raised as actually being a function of a secondary cause as opposed to a primary cause attributable to God. That may be the kind of explanation that you are looking for.

I did not mean to suggest that dialogue about hard issues leads to pride. It is fine and profitable to examine everything, but it is prideful for us to assume in any way that God is somehow cruel even on the surface. Instead, we have to assume the exact opposite and then look for the logical, scriptural, cultural, and historical explanations that give us the insight we need. So all in all, I think we agree on this last one.

God bless.

Sorry for the delay in responding, I have been caring for an ill family member.

That is a good point about sport fishing, however, I think in general people agree that causing suffering to a creature without a ‘good’ purpose(such as a quick killing for food, or killing bacteria to ensure our safety) is acceptable. A wolf is not considered evil for killing a squirrel to eat, for example. Obviously the squirrel doesn’t like it, but the wolf is just filling a biological requirement to live, so the wolf can’t be in the wrong by living. Likewise, if we don’t kill bacteria, the bacteria could easily kill us, so fulfilling a biological need for safety can not be considered wrong either, as long as we do it the best way we can.

But were we to poke out a cow’s eyes and cut off its legs before killing it for food - that, I would argue, would be immoral. We have other options we can use which would cause less suffering to the cow and still obtain the meat, and we should morally use those options. I don’t see how the morality of killing bacteria is based simply upon perspective as you seem to state. The issue is not about killing(for a purpose), the issue is about causing unnecessary suffering instead of just ‘getting the job done’.

God has every option in the world available to accomplish things. Therefore, should God deem it for the best that one should die, I don’t see why their ‘eyes should be poked out and their legs cut off’ first before getting the deed done, so to speak, especially when it comes to a child. As God has the ability to make children die without suffering, I don’t see why that was not done. The issue is not about God killing/ordering killing - its about children suffering unnecessarily - that is what doesn’t make sense to me. Where does justice come in to play regarding a child suffering?

I know that there are a lot of threads about the atomic bomb already, and that’s a very involved issue, but if you would like to start another on that topic, the door is open.

My point about bringing up Isaac was that you can not call one culture evil for sacrificing to their gods, but ignore that Abraham was about to do the same.

While adults in a particular culture should reap what they sow, I fail to see how it is perfect justice that children who had no say in being born or where they were born, should suffer because of the parents.

I’m interested to hear more about how primary vs secondary causes may fix this issue of the suffering of the children? There are many passages in Joshua where it states God is directly commanding him to kill everything.

I have the same issue with the story of Noah, and that the world’s children suffered by drowning, instead of the myriad of other ways that were available. The only way I’ve ever been able to ‘solve’ these issues in my mind has been to consider the stories as non-literal.

Kate50 in Christ,

God bless you for taking care of your family member.

When we are at war we often kill women and children in the process. The atomic bombs are the perfect example of weapons of mass destruction that do not discriminate between the victims. Many argue that such weapons are immoral. I happen to agree, but I find many that do not. The actions of our country in WWII demonstrate that disagreement, and contrary opinions and arguments rage on today.

I am able to make many reasonable judgments of earthly things concerning men and their responsibility toward animals. Likewise, I can make reasonable judgments of earthly things concerning men and their actions toward men. The problem is that I cannot “always” make a reasonable judgment and many people have widely varying views. My ability to make judgments about God and his actions toward men are considerably less clear and are often a bit of mystery. You’ve pointed to this mystery with the following:

Children may or may not be as innocent as we might think. A child raised by wolves will not be like any child we know, and rehabilitation, even at a relatively early age, may very well be impossible. That could also be the case with primitive pagan peoples that engaged in the worst sorts of behaviors and exposed and subjected their children to the same.

Over and above that, if the language of scripture is “literal”, then the killing of the entire people including children may have been just, efficient, and “necessary” for the purpose of instructing the pagan enemies of God that they were to leave the chosen people alone, and that there really is but one true God that is capable of vanquishing all those that oppose his people. The imprinting of that truth on the pagans may have been most efficiently and effectively accomplished by way of the actions of the Israelites that were commanded by God. There is also the possibility that it was the “only” way to accomplish it. The darkness of their minds may have been such that it was “necessary” because other more gentle methods simply did not and would not work.

cont. on next post

cont. from prior post

There is a huge difference here even beyond what I mentioned earlier about Abraham and Isaac. First of all, idols are creations of men and are made by human hands. Idols are inanimate objects. Idols have no rights over creation whereas God does. Likewise, scripture refers to some idol worship as worship of demons. Demons have no rights over creation either, and sacrificing human beings to them is an incredible insult and blasphemy against the God that did create everything and who retains all of the rights over his creation. Abraham’s “willingness” to sacrifice Isaac is a good act. Pagan willingness to sacrifice to idols is an intrinsically evil act followed by the actual performance of the act. Moreover, this was only a test of Abraham and the Judeo/Christian tradition does not promote human sacrifice and God does not require it.

In ancient Israel everything seemed to be expressed in primary causes. God was responsible for pretty much everything and secondary causes were not given much consideration at all. When Israel vanquished an enemy they had good reason to trust that God’s divine providence was with them. Likewise, they had good reason to know and understand that when they were engaged in idol worship and sin that God’s divine providence was taken away. They felt this quite keenly when taken into the Babylonian captivity and on other occasions as well.

Primary vs. secondary causes can also involve figurative language. We read for example the following:

Zechariah 9:15
The Lord of hosts will protect them, and they shall devour and tread down the slingers; and they shall drink their blood like wine, and be full like a bowl, drenched like the corners of the altar.

No one reads this verse literally in the sense that the soldiers would devour the flesh of their enemies and literally drink their blood. Cannibalism was forbidden. This was a non-literal expression designed to describe total decimation of the enemy and ultimate victory of the Israelites.

Speculations about the suffering of children are difficult as are speculations about what is and what is not just. We do not really know how much they may or may not have suffered. They may have been annihilated quickly and efficiently without suffering any conscious physical pain. Scripture does not tell us those details. We can speculate about Noah and the Ark and the suffering that children may have undergone in the flood, but we cannot be sure of anything. The narrative on Noah doesn’t even speak of children. One can assume that children were among those that were not in the Ark, but as likely as that is, it is not a certainty. Likewise, if there were innocent children then perhaps they were spared suffering in the process of being swept away. We simply don’t know those details, but we can know and understand the message that the narrative is designed to get across.

Natural disasters strike all of the time and children are routinely among the victims. Shall we blame God in some fashion for their suffering? In Noah’s case, God simply protected the just man, Noah, and his family from the natural disaster that struck everybody else. If Noah and his family are the only people God saw as fit for saving, then it is very reasonable for him to protect only Noah and his family from the disaster that would have otherwise killed them too.

I simply see no injustice in scripture on God’s part for the various reasons I’ve mentioned, and because God has all of the rights and knowledge in every case and scenario. Since we have neither, we are no different than the millions of bacteria that we kill by simply cleaning our kitchen counters. We didn’t create our kitchen counters out of “nothing”, yet we muster and exercise every bit of human control we can over them and all of the living creatures that might otherwise occupy them.

We have every human right over our kitchen counters and bacteria which we did not create. God has all of the “infinite” rights over everything which he created out of nothing.

The goodness of God and his mercy are that of an infinite being and are perfect. I have not suggested that God stoops to our level of morality. Instead, one must always consider God’s perfect justice as well as his goodness and mercy. Our examination of OT events needs to keep that perfect justice in mind. That is why I gave the examples such as that of Pharaoh. God gave Pharaoh every chance, but it took extremely stern measures to make him yield. Such was typical of pagans in ancient times. From the standpoint of sin, self idolatry, and the appropriate justice, Pharaoh is lucky to have come out of all this alive.

Unlucky about all the Egyptian citizens though eh?

Pax,
Thank you, I am relieved that the illness seems to be passing.

Regarding the atomic bomb, while it is a very difficult topic, the Catholic view is that the ends can not justify the means - CCC 1759.

Even children who are raised by wolves or brought up in terrible homes are given opportunity to reconstruct their lives(though admittedly, we need to work on making the foster child system better). Just as the safety of the unborn are so fiercely guarded by Catholics, so too should children be.

If the language is to be considered literal, the slaying of children by man ordered by God, even if ‘efficient’, still causes suffering to children which could have been avoided. They still suffered the trauma of hearing the screams of the city, seeing family and friends killed, and being killed themselves. It doesn’t make sense that a child deserves God-ordered pain simply because they were born to the wrong parents. There was another way which would have caused no suffering to the children, which was not utilized. If God deems they should die for some reason, fine, but do it in the best way possible.

The ends do not justify the means, so adding undue pain to a child should not justify whatever means it may accomplish, even if the children suffering would have sent a stronger message to others.

That is a very good point that people likely attributed to God things that were not necessary commanded by God, however, specific quotes are listed multiple times in the Bible from God (i.e. Then the LORD said to Joshua “…” ) which command destruction of entire cities. Why would a line that specific be interpreted as figurative/symbolism when it is so repeatedly and directly stated that it is from God’s own command?

Scripture tells us how cities were destroyed by the hands of men, and it states specifically that young and old were killed. Men of that time did not have the ability to kill without causing suffering but God did.

Natural disasters are not caused by God directly, so they don’t apply here. Noah’s story was not a natural disaster - there is nothing natural about water covering the entire earth before receding. The flooding was directly and purposefully caused by God supernaturally.

While it is obvious to us in our current day that the sun does not have the ability to think and decide on whether or not to rise, nor does polytheism exist, people have believed otherwise and did what they thought their gods wanted, just as Abraham was doing what he thought God wanted. I recognize this is a very simplistic statement, and people with evil motives did exist in these cities, but part of the history of human sacrifice is that people believed that they needed to do these things for the welfare of their community. I don’t think people as a whole can be condemned as pure evil if they think they are doing the ‘right’ thing. I think Abrahams’ readiness to sacrifice his son shows shows that it wasn’t about the act itself being wrong, but was about what the people of that time thought their god wanted. I’m slightly disappointed that Abraham did not do more to verify that this wasn’t the devil impersonating God or some other trick, before he attempted it.

I am glad for your faith that you see no injustice in these matters, but I continue to see problems with it as long as the OT is considered to be recounting actual events. God is perfect, so there should be no case which does not portray that. Unnecessary suffering of children does not portray God’s perfect nature.

You continue to bring up bacteria example, but I don’t see how it applies because I don’t have an issue with God terminating His creation, nor do I have an issue with a creature fulfilling their biological needs for food or self defense, but I do have an issue with unnecessary suffering (especially towards children), considering a perfect God exists. Bacteria has many times been the cause of human death, so attending to our biology to ensure our survival can not be considered immoral and has nothing to do with whether or not we created the bacteria. Were we to kill in self defense via a slow and painful method when we have quicker options available, that is what would be wrong.

Kate50,

I bring up the issue of bacteria because in comparison to God we are nothing, while compared to bacteria we are something even though in the natural order we are fairly high up the chain relative to bacteria. Absolute rights over something changes the equation when it comes to moral equivalence. God has every conceivable right while human beings have a rather limited bundle of rights that result in stewardship between finite human beings and other finite creatures.

God, not only rightly and fairly judges and punishes any and all, but the Father likewise sent his only begotten son, Jesus, to suffer humiliation and extraordinary torture unto death for the sins of men. Was the Father, who is one in being with the son, somehow unjust in setting this in motion? Meditation on this tells us otherwise especially when we begin to appreciate and comprehend who God is versus who and what we are. There is an important lesson in terms of Jesus suffering and death and the punishment that is due all of mankind because of sin. There is no innocence on man’s part. All, including infants, have at least original sin and most everyone has personal sin. Likewise, until we are justified in Christ there is absolutely nothing we can do to please God or to lift ourselves out of sin.

The commission of sin by finite man against the infinite God is punishable in any way, shape, or form that the creator sees fit. The only just sentence for sin by a finite being against the infinite God is death, because man, who is finite, cannot provide an appropriate “infinitely” valuable sacrifice that provides atonement for his sin. That is why only the sacrifice of Jesus, who is both God and man, could provide the sacrifice that could redeem us.

People simply do not see sin by finite beings against the infinite Creator for what it is. Likewise, we need to realize that since we cannot ourselves provide atonement, propitiation, and redemption for our offenses that the only appropriate punishment is death. Likewise, there is no way for us to “earn” or expect a merciful death. Offenses by one human being against another are punished according to standards that are appropriate to the actions of one finite being against another finite being. Restitution or an appropriately measured punishment are possible between finite beings and they are necessary and appropriate. Humanly devised methods of restitution/punishment are simply not in the equation when the offense is committed by a finite being against an infinite being, any more than bacteria have or should have any say so in how we eliminate them. Bacteria are in no position to make any moral judgments or claims against man, and man is not in a position to make any moral judgments or claims against God.

I hope this helps.

Nooj,

Actually, scripture indicates in the book of Exodus that a large mixed multitude including Egyptians left with the Israelites after Pharaoh finally relented. This seems to me to be a good thing.

Do I take pleasure in human suffering? Absolutely not! Do I want to see people punished? Absolutely not! The issue under discussion, however, is not answered by human sentiment in determining how we should or should not view the actions of God in the OT.

God bless

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