Pardpn the title but I was wondering why does God order death so often? For example all the Canaanite people or the first born of Egypt. Why, if he is merciful, does he order this?
Nobody, except maybe Mary glorified, can succeed at tracking God’s ways. I too don’t know sometimes why he does X or Y or Z. All we are called to do (and really, all we can do) is to trust in him with all our soul. Just think of it this way: if we could track his wisdom, he wouldn’t be God.
Did you not hear the Christ proclaim:
In all truth I tell you, the hour is coming – indeed it is already here – when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and all who hear it will live.
The Old Testament mus be read in the light of the New Testament, otherwise we cannot understand the heart of Christ and its burning mercy.
A question for you, before I respond to your assertion of ‘murder by God’: is earthly life the highest good that a person can attain? That is, ‘murder’ is the unjust taking of life. If earthly life is the highest good that a human can possess, then any impingement upon earthly life is unjust; however, if earthly life isn’t the highest good, then it is possible to have both justice and the taking of life. So… is earthly life the highest good that a person can attain?
With the Egyptian first born, its a little easier to understand. Basically, none of us own our own life, like Job said, The Lord gives and The Lord takes away.
Murder is the unlawful killing of an innocent life. So God CAN’T murder, because He’s the Author of Life. We’re ALL only even kept alive minute to minute because God is keeping us. He can call our souls back to him any second. I could die right now as I’m typing this, that wouldn’t be murder for God, anymore than if a father gives his son a hammer to play with and says “you can keep it until I need it back.” And then after a while or not a while, the father takes it back. That wouldn’t be stealing, even if the kid started to get attached to the hammer and threw a fit that daddy stole it from him. The hammer never really belonged to him anyway.
So with the Egyptian first born, that’s basically what happened. God just stopped sustaining them. He called their souls home. It was justice for what pharaoh did also. He murdered millions of Hebrew baby boys.
This therefore, doesn’t contradict God’s mercy because 1) the only thing keeping us alive is Him. 2) He can decide when to call us home. 3) He would have dealt with the firstborn justly in the next life. Death isn’t the final say. Thats what Jesus came to show us on the cross!! And 4) this established God’s justice on pharaoh. You can’t just flaunt God’s laws and expect no consequences.
But the Cannaanites are a little harder to understand, though ultimately it’s the same principle at work. The Canaanites were even more morally corrupt than the Egyptians! I’ll have to do a full answer on another post in a little bit. I have a few things to do that ive been putting off. :o
Hopefully this helped a little with the Egyptian part at least. I’ll come back and answer the second half in a little bit.
Thank you all.
Although this is true, it doesn’t inoculate you from the accusation that God is a tyrant…
Please answer my question, after which I’ll explain my point of view…
True! But to me thats kind of like the teenage girl who thinks her dads a tyrant (didn’t we all?:D) because he took her car away, even though it was his car all along. After all, he kinda paid for it, all she did was drive it around a little.
Ok so I found this at William Lane Craig’s website. Its not a complete answer but its kind of interesting. Theres more complete answers on his website but I just chose this one because it was a little more shorter and could fit in the post. There’s a link to the website at the bottom if you want to check it out and get the longer answer
There is one important aspect of my answer that I would change, however. I have come to appreciate as a result of a closer reading of the biblical text that God’s command to Israel was not primarily to exterminate the Canaanites but to drive them out of the land. It was the land that was (and remains today!) paramount in the minds of these Ancient Near Eastern peoples. The Canaanite tribal kingdoms which occupied the land were to be destroyed as nation states, not as individuals. The judgment of God upon these tribal groups, which had become so incredibly debauched by that time, is that they were being divested of their land. Canaan was being given over to Israel, whom God had now brought out of Egypt. If the Canaanite tribes, seeing the armies of Israel, had simply chosen to flee, no one would have been killed at all. There was no command to pursue and hunt down the Canaanite peoples.
It is therefore completely misleading to characterize God’s command to Israel as a command to commit genocide. Rather it was first and foremost a command to drive the tribes out of the land and to occupy it. Only those who remained behind were to be utterly exterminated. There may have been no non-combatants killed at all. That makes sense of why there is no record of the killing of women and children, such as I had vividly imagined. Such scenes may have never taken place, since it was the soldiers who remained to fight. It is also why there were plenty of Canaanite people around after the conquest of the land, as the biblical record attests.
The Italian Franciscan St. Leonard of Port Maurice (1676 - 26 November 1751) teaches that the apparent difference between the Old Testament times and the present is that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was not yet instituted to support us. He calls the Holy Mass a prop which holds the world upon its base, without which it could not bear the weight of its iniquity. This and more can be found from his book on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass called The Hidden Treasure.
St. Leonard of Port Maurice:
Some are surprised at its really seeming as if since ancient time our good God had in some sort changed His mode of government. He then caused himself to be called the God of armies and of battles, and spake to the people from the midst of clouds, with lightnings in His hand. He then chastised sin with all the rigour of justice. For one adultery, the fell by the edge of the sword five-and-twenty thousand of the tribe of Benjamin. For the pride of David in numbering the people, He sent a pestilence so malignant that quickly seventy thousand persons were no more. For one curious and somewhat irreverent look, he overthrew in frightful slaughter more than fifty thousand of the Betsamites. And now He will bear with patience not only vanities and frivolities but adulteries the most base, scandals the most iniquitous, and blasphemies the most revolting, vomited forth against His most Holy Name by many Christians every hour of the day! How comes this? Why so great a difference of government? Are, perhaps, our sins of ingratitude more excusable than those of old? Quite the contrary, They are much more culpable, since there is the addition of benefits so immeasurable. The true reason of a clemency so stupendous is the Holy Mass, in which is offered to the Eternal Father, the great Victim, - Jesus.
Since I am catholic I think you know that my answer is no.
That is an interesting quote.
the bible explains that each soul will be Judged upon his or her own deeds but the sins of the father will be visited upon the son. Curses as a result of sin carry through to the 3rd and 4th generations and blessings carry on 1000 generations.
That’s all explained in the bible. The wages of sin is death so If your father has sinned, God can take your life on earth and be justified in doing so.
God is a Loving God pure and simple and he never changes.
But I remember a verse from the Old Testament where Jesus tol of a good father a sinful son and a good grandson. He said each was not punishe or rewarded for the sins or good of eaches father. I cannot remember the verse though. Why this apparent contradiction?
I mean new testament. My mistake.
Also, the body dies but the soul lives on! I guess either in Hell or in Heaven.
Cool. Ya never know, though…!
OK, then: looking in Joshua, we don’t see assertions that they were evil, per se. Just thinking out loud, I’m wondering whether their situations (at the time that the Israelites entered the Promised Land) isn’t similar to those who today have never had the opportunity to embrace the Gospel of Christ: God wishes all to be saved, and even though the normative way that we know about for salvation is baptism and Catholic faith, this doesn’t mean that God cannot save others who have not formally embraced the Church, even if they don’t know God or the Church.
So, if earthly life isn’t the highest good, and life with God in heaven is, then why are we saying that God is mean by making room for the Israelites by saving the Canaanites from themselves (and from corrupting the religious belief of the Israelites)?
Here’s my take: in the OT, the Jews didn’t have the concept of heaven. (In fact, in Jesus’ time, the Sadducees still didn’t believe in it, and the theological debate was still raging!) So, in OT times, one obtained ‘eternal life’ through the lives of children and their families: if your memory was still revered by your descendants, that was the closest to eternal life that was possible. So, a punishment (or a blessing!) that maintained through a number of generations wouldn’t be seen as an unjust imposition upon descendants, but rather, as a reflection upon the ancestor.
In Jesus’ time, since he’s talking about individual judgment, the notion of a blessing/punishment on a person based on his ancestor would, at that point, seem unjust. Hence Jesus’ unwillingness to go with the flow on the traditional teaching. Is this a contradiction? I don’t think so: in the OT, this is the understanding of the ancient Israelites; in the NT, this is the teaching that Jesus is providing to us…!
Thank you Gorgias. You have been a big help. In the back of my mind I was considering leaving Christianity over this. Thank you.