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December 15, 2015


“The only means of prohibiting all recourse to violence by ourselves is to insist that violence is legitimate only when it comes from God…. My thesis that the practice of non-violence requires a belief in divine vengeance will be unpopular with many…in the West…. [But] it takes the quiet of a suburban home for the birth of the thesis that human non-violence [results from the belief in] God’s refusal to judge. In a sun-scorched land, soaked in the blood of the innocent, it will invariably die…[with] other pleasant captivities of the liberal mind.7
In this fascinating passage Volf reasons that it is the lack of belief in a God of vengeance that “secretly nourishes violence.”

Excerpt From: Keller, Timothy. “The Reason for God.” Penguin Group, Inc., 2008. iBooks.
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I could not reconcile Jesus the Prince of Peace with Jesus the God of wrath in the Old Testament. But then it became clear that he is the same in both testaments, only his plan for his followers is different under the New Testament.

He still visits wrath on sin as always, only instead of using the defunct Church/State of Israel, he uses the nations of the world and the same four judgments of history; war; famine; disease; and nature.

Where God destroyed all but eight people in the Flood, he will destroy all but his people in Christ once again, this time by fire on the last day.

The fact that Mr. Runyon considers the death of approximately 25 million people 'evil' seems to be problematic for his argument. By what standard does Mr. Runyon base his characterization of these deaths as 'evil'? If there is no transcendent standard, then his strong feelings are merely that, feelings. However, if he believes that his feelings are rooted in a intuition regarding the existence of objective good and evil, then the 25 million deaths cannot be viewed as evil either. The Canaanites, Amalekites, Hittites, and others were purveyors of divination, witchcraft, male and female temple sex, adultery, homosexuality, transvestitism, pederasty, beastiality, incest, and child sacrifice. Thus, God's command to destroy them was capital punishment, not genocide.

Moreover, if Mr. Runyon wants to argue that if God exists, then his command to destroy these nations is evil, also does not take into account that God is the creator, and the world and everything in it is his. So he does not need to justify any of his actions. An example I heard several years ago makes the point. If I walked up to Mr. Runyon on the street and told him that I didn't like his shirt, and then proceeded to rip it off his back, it would be perfectly reasonable for him to get angry, for I destroyed something that was not mine. But if I walked up to him wearing the exact same shirt, told him I didn't like the shirt, and then ripped the shirt off my back, he might find it strange, but would have no grounds from which to characterize my actions as immoral.

The heart of the matter is that Mr. Runyon doesn't believe in a God, and therefore feels perfectly willing to place himself in that position and make proclamations based on his own opinions as the gold standard.

There are 3 things to draw out of this challenge. First is the righteousness of God. Then Second is the deceitfulness of the Devil. Third is the unrighteousness of man. All 3 have to be put in correct perspective.

God is the only just judge! Part of being God is being the judge for all mankind. Since He is the only being that knows everything that would make Him the only one who judges correctly with no error 110% of the time. Just like with a judge in the court room. You would not call a judge a murderer for giving someone the death penalty if they deserved it. Here are a few verses that talk about it.Job 36:6 "He does not keep the wicked alive, But gives justice to the afflicted." Psalm 94 talks about how God judges against evil.

God wants us to see that, we are not perfect. He is perfect but loves us in spite of that.

They devil is the one who murders. John 8:44 says it all. "He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. " We need to separate those 2 out.

The devil wants you to look and see God killing us innocent people who never do anything wrong. Which is a lie. He wants you to die.

So the challenge comes from someone who does not trust that God has this quality. I would say that God's knowledge and His never changing consistency are what makes Him worthy to trust more than anyone.

The people who are dead (in the challenge)are the most important subject here. Each of them, did something bad . The bible teaches that we are all sinners and no one is good. Not one. It also says the penalty of sin is death. So by that scale we are all worthy to go into judgement.

The most important point would be that all of the people that were or will be judged had/have the choice to freely accept the gift of eternal life and circumventing the judgement of the second death. The trust in God, respect that he is the judge, and fear of damnation leads to faith that God stands by His Word. He sent Jesus to pay for our sins. We can have faith that Jesus is our free gift that rose from the grave and saved us doing so. All we need to accept it and have faith in Him that only Jesus can do that.

I'm not sure where the challenger gets the number.

But it matters little, because it is off by the total number of humans that have ever lived, minus 25,000,000.

Because God is responsible for the death of every single human being that has ever been.

Then again, an executioner is responsible for every person he executes.

It does not follow from that that the executioner, or God, are morally culpable for what they do.

I have a few thoughts on this one. First, the challenger describes certain deeds God did in the Old Testament as “evil.” If God does not exist, as the challenger believes, then what moral standard is he subscribing to in order to call these deeds evil? At best, he can only say that the deeds he reads about in the Old Testament do not meet his preferences and that he does not personally agree with them. But he cannot call them evil because his own atheistic worldview does not support the concept of evil.

Second, it’s true that Jesus did not deny the Old Testament and Christians should not discard it. But it’s very important to read those passages in proper context. Greg Kokul once wrote that “one must accurately understand God’s intention before he can accurately assess God’s commands.”

It's clear from Scripture that part of God's reasoning was to protect Israel from pagan corruption like with the Canaanites. He did not want their idolatry and corrupt behavior to contaminate the people He chose to work through to bring salvation to the world.

Researcher Clay Jones says that the command was God’s judgement on the Canaanites for their corrupt, evil ways. If God needed justification to destroy the Canaanite people, He had plenty of it. The Canaanite culture was full of horrific practices, not the least of which was child sacrifice.

Ultimately though, if God exists, then He is the Author of life and is sovereign over His creation (which is the universe). As Kokul writes:

"Put another way, God is God and we are not. He is not to be measured by our standards. Rather, we are to be measured by His. And that brings us to the root of our difficulty with God’s judgment of the Canaanites. The heart of the problem is the heart, ours.

"In a certain sense, the lesson of the conquest is a simple one: God punishes evil. For many in our culture, though, the Canaanite offenses simply are not offensive. “Divination, sexual adventure, adultery, homosexuality, transvestitism, all evil? Please.”"

Jones sums up the issue this way:

"We do not appreciate the depths of our own depravity, the horror of sin, and the righteousness of God. Consequently, it is no surprise that when we see God’s judgment upon those who committed the sins we commit, that complaint and protest arises within our hearts."

For my last thought on this, it’s clear that the challenger expects Christians to account for each of the murders involving God in the Bible, yet he (along with many other atheists) seem to conveniently forget the atrocities committed in the much more recent 20th Century by secular, atheistic regimes like Stalin, Mao Zedong and Pol Pot among others. Combined, the actions of these regimes account for the deaths of 100 million people – four times the amount of deaths he counted up in the Old Testament relating to God. See, when we apply this same problem to atheism, it can’t even stand up to the alleged issues of the Old Testament.

First off it seems as though this person is making a moral claim about these things being wrong in some way. Why are these things wrong? What is this person grounding their morality in?

Secondly, there are responsibilities that God has that we as humans don't have. For example in the parent/child relationship, there are certain responsibilities that I have, that my kids don't. If I tell my kid not to play with the stove, because as the parent I know there is no reason for them to use the stove, am I therefore forbidden to use the stove? Of course not, I have different responsibilities. I have to feed my children, and I know how to use that stove. In that same way, God has different responsibilities than we as humans do. Every time someone dies, is God murdering? God is the one who gives life, He has appointed death to everyone. God is already in control of who lives and who dies. So how that happens is really up to Him.
Another responsibility that God has that we don't have is ultimate judgement over men. How He chooses to enact that judgement is again up to Him. If I now have my child come in and help me cook, I am the one guiding them to stir the pot on the stove, the very stove I told them to stay away from, is that child doing something wrong? No, of course not, because I am there guiding them and directing them and using them to help accomplish my responsibility.

So is God a murderer? My question is, how is that even possible?

Gordon Clark pointed out that sin is a want of conformity to a law. Since God has no other god (law) he must answer to, he cannot sin. Even if what he does would be considered sin for us. It is perfectly right for him to do whatever he wants to.

As others have already pointed out, this challenge must first assume some objective moral framework before it can even get off the ground. The challenger seems to be putting forth more than a mere personal or cultural preference, saying “I really don’t like these things and today’s society really doesn’t like these things”, but rather that these things are actually wrong whether someone likes them or not; that these things are objectively evil. But if this challenge rests on there being some objective measure of morality, then God must exist. For if God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist. But this challenge seems to rely on the existence of certain objective moral values and duties (namely, that genocide, infanticide, filicide, etc. are objectively evil). Therefore, the challenger must concede that God exists. This challenge, in the words of C. S. Lewis, “turns out to be too simple.”

But then, how do we reconcile this within the framework of Christianity? It is right to eliminate any distinction between the God of the Old Testament and that of the New. Jesus was in the beginning with God and is God, therefore sharing in the cause of any Divine action recorded in Scripture. B.E. Hunt commented above, rightly pointing out that “[t]he Canaanites, Amalekites, Hittites, and others were purveyors of divination, witchcraft, male and female temple sex, adultery, homosexuality, transvestitism, pederasty, beastiality, incest, and child sacrifice. Thus, God's command to destroy them was capital punishment, not genocide.” Indeed, after listing such things as gratuitous incest, child sacrifice and other such horrendous acts of depravity, God states “for by all these, the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you.” (Lev. 18:24). This is not genocide, this is judgement.

“Sure” it might be granted by the challenger, “those guilty of such crimes were given just reward. But what about the innocent children that were killed? Certainly they were not guilty of these also!” Indeed, no crime had been committed by the children, but the question is asked, How has God wronged the children? By taking their life? Let it not be forgotten that it was He who first gave it (Eccl. 12:7)! One cannot steal that which he owns already. Further, only he who assumes that this life is all there is can object to God’s actions, for “[t]he righteous perishes, and no man takes it to heart; merciful men are taken away, while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil. He shall enter into peace; they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.” (Is. 57:1-2). Where is the injustice in taking a child away from a depraved people and in turn giving him eternal life, so that each one should rest in their own beds? God has stolen nothing and has given everything. Further, as dave has pointed out in his comment above, this is not the first time that God has done this and it will not be the last. God destroyed the world in a flood and he will destroy everyone when He comes again, burning women, children and men alike in fire. The ball, as they say, is now in the challenger’s court.

If one takes, for the sake of argument, the existence of God to be a given then to determine whether causing death is wrong requires a definition of what death is.

If there is a God, death is not the same result as if there is not a God.

If God chooses to allow someone into heaven, death brings reward, as I assume it is better than here.

If God chooses to deny heaven, one is denied X years on Earth but it is merely an early arrival at their final destination, which they would have arrived at anyway.

Either way you are only pushed to the head of the line to a destination that you were travelling to already. You just get denied the enjoyment of part of the trip.

The objection seems to assume that death brings eternal punishment. It doesn't. Sin, unrepented, does. Whether on is killed or not does not determine the ultimate punishment. It merely reduces the harm that one can cause on Earth before one receives it.

The only real question is why we equate death at the hand of God with death at the hand of another human in a world without God? When you create a universe, you can do what you want with it. For now, you are stuck as the creation of someone else, who had a plan in mind when he did it.

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