I always have trouble explaining how it was perfectly just for God to command the Israelites to kill even women, children, and infants when they were sent to destroy the cannanite tribes who sacrificed children to their gods, among other sins. Any help is appreciated - I know others struggle with this.
The Old Testament reveals a God of immediate justice different from the merciful God we know after the Redemption of His Son. The OT God makes you into a pillar of salt for looking back with regret on a bad life, whereas the NT God gives us time to repent and change. Its an illustration of OT/Justice and NT/mercy.
Also, the OT is a prefiguration of many things to illustrate real life. As you know, the Cananites are an illustration of sin. In order to defeat sin in our own life, we must root it out mercilessly, down to ‘every man, woman, and child’.
I agree with the previous poster.
The OT if full of symbolisms that are a prefigure of the NT,
It is true it the Cananite’s way of life could represent sin and that could be the reason of their destruction.
Also remember that the OT was written by human authors inspired by God thousands of years ago when life, in general, was kind of “savage”. Scenes of killing and destruction of wars were common. That was the “normal” way how people conquered new lands. The Israelites conquered the land in the "usual"way to their times and the authors of the Bible were only using their every day language. That is very important to note to children.
In the NT, Christ changed all of that forever with his teachings of love.
According to scripture, God wiped out every living person (save 8) with a world-wide flood.
Apparently God can do with His creatures whatever He chooses. I trust that He knows what He is doing.
If you still have doubts, you can ask Him about it when you get there…
God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. As finite creatures, we can only see finitely whereas God (who is infinite) sees infinitely. In our time and in our present state, we can never hope to be able to see as God sees.
We need to remember our place as the creation - not the Creator. To assume that we would know better than the Creator is the tantamount to Lucifer’s original sinful pride. Does the pot question the potter?
Having said that, we shouldn’t waste our time banging our heads for answers that we could not even grasp even if God provided them. It would be like my 4 yr old trying to grasp advanced physics theories when he hasn’t even learned basic mathematics.
Despite God’s seemingly harsh judgements in the Old Testament, we also need to remember that God (the Son) came to earth to die for the sins of all mankind - including the slain. That one act of eternal Love exceedingly outweighs any temporal judgements He may have allowed.
Jimmy Akin has discussed this issue on his blog.
Hard Sayings Of The Old Testament**