Did he commit genocide by 'causing' the flood? Did he really ask his people to wipe out nations and to cut babies in half?
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(All quotations from the King James Version unless stated otherwise).
It will not have escaped your notice that all die. Some barely make it out of the womb, others (relatively few) live past 100 years. They die from disease, accident, natural disasters, the hand of their fellowman, or old age.
If we enquire why this is so, we find the answer in just one place – the Bible.
The Bible records that there is one God who created all things, including the first man and woman. He created them with freewill and gave them one commandment to keep; the disobeying of which would result in death.
Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and were sentenced to death. In eating they condemned their offspring to inherit both mortality and the proclivity to sin.
All mankind are condemned to die for two reasons:
1. They are mortal descendents of Adam.
2. They cannot live a life without sin.
None is guaranteed either length or quality of life.
Ezekiel 18:4... the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death...
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
It is not unreasonable to accept that because God gives life in the first place, he is perfectly entitled to take it away both when and how he sees fit.
Deuteronomy 32:39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
Job 1:21... Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
Job 2:10... What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?...
Paul gives us an insight into why God endures evil men.
Romans 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
Did God commit genocide by 'causing' the flood?
Over the 1.1/2 millennia from creation, evil had increased and the earth was filled with violence.
Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD....
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. 13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth...
17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.
What would we expect God to do? God is a righteous judge. He judged the inhabitants of the earth (already under sentence of death) and brought death upon them.
What you label ‘genocide’ was in fact righteous judgment.
You and I are alive today because God had mercy on Noah and his family. The lesson should not be lost on us.
2 Peter 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
As God judged the world at the time of Noah, so he is to judge the world again. This time it will be by the return of his son and the establishment of his kingdom.
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
Did he really ask his people to wipe out nations?
The nations living in Canaan had no time for God, they had made their own gods and they lived evil lives. To Abraham God says that he would allow them to continue in their evil ways for another 4 centuries:
Genesis 15:13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.16 But in the fourth generation they (Abraham’s descendents) shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
In Abraham’s time the inhabitants of Canaan saw the judgment of God on Sodom and Gomorrah but it had no effect on them.
When God brought Abraham’s descendents (Israel) out of Egypt and gave them the land of Canaan they were told to destroy the inhabitants because if they didn’t they would lead Israel into their idolatrous and evil ways.
Deuteronomy 7:1 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; 2 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: 3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. 4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. 5 But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. 6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God:
Israel didn’t do as they were told and the result was that predicted.
Psalm 106:34 They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them: 35 But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. 36 And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. 37 Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, 38 And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. 39 Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions. 40 Therefore was the wrath of the LORD kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.
and to cut babies in half?
God did not command the cutting of babies in half. I think you may be referring to Solomon’s ruse to decide which woman was the mother of a child.
Kings 3:22 And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king. 23 Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living. 24 And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. 25 And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. 26 Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. 27 Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof. 28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.
Or are these narratives of how people thought God was talking and relating to them? Or are they stories and myths that demonstrate God's holiness, righteous anger and standards
The Bible was written by some 40 different men over a period of 2000 years. They claim to have written by inspiration of God.
Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son...
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Its message of salvation stands or falls upon the integrity of what is written. If any of it can be proved to be a myth, then it is not the word of God.
It is precisely because all are guilty before God and condemned to die that the life and sacrifice of Jesus is so important. This life is both temporary and probationary, what God offers is eternal life by resurrection from the dead. If we believe and obey the gospel of Christ God will remit our sins and raise us from the dead to eternal life when Christ returns to judge the earth. He will reign on the earth for one thousand years, at the end of which a final judgment will eradicate sin and death.
As all are sinners, the depth of God’s love, forgiveness and grace is, as you say, shown in the giving of his son.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
God must of necessity judge his people in the fulfilment of his purpose. He is to fill the earth with his glory in the form of men and women raised to the divine nature in which he will dwell forever.
1 Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
To do this he endures the evil generations out of which the number of elect is made up. Whatever God does is for the eternal benefit of those who respond to him, love him, and try to do his will.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
We trust that whatever God does is true and righteous and in accordance with his declared character. That character that was manifested in Jesus Christ.
Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. (of them that hate me - Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 5:9)
God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11) and is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9) but men and women must make their choice and God must judge accordingly.
1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
If you want to come to grips with what the Bible really teaches, why not take the free Bible study course on www.thisisyourbible.com? You may take this course either online or by regular mail.
This course will give you a background in the major themes of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. As with everything we offer, there is no cost to you other than your time and effort. You will also have a personal tutor to whom you may pose questions either from the course itself or those questions which come to you as you read the Bible.
I hope you have found this helpful.
May God bless you,