How can a loving God commit atrocities?

Why do you think that there are so many atrocities in the Bible? Budism, for instance, prides itself on the fact that their holy book is calm and peaceful. Looking through the Bible, there are many horrible acts carried out by a so-called 'loving' God. If he is so loving, why would he commit these acts?

For example: Hosea 13:16, I Samual 15:3, Genisis 19:24, Exodus 22:18

My response is in Green:

I guess it depends on what you call a loving God. This whole question hangs on that one concept. But before we answer that we have to understand who God says He is. God says that He is holy, He says that He can't abide sin and that all sin is against Him and His holy nature. God says He never changes, He has always been holy and always well be holy. This is important because it explains a lot. We live in a world which is evil and it is evil because of the sin that mankind has committed. It started with Adam and Eve and has continued down the line all the way to us.

I was a Deputy Sheriff for 7 years and believe me mankind's heart is evil. It is unbelievable what people do to each other. But anyway, the point is this; God can't stand evil and because He is holy His holy nature demands punishment for all sin. The punishment for sin, all sin is death. Not just physical death, which only came into creation after Adam sinned, but also spiritual death, meaning eternal separation from God's love and mercy in payment for our sins.

So since that is true we go back to what is a loving God. Would God be loving if (remember, He can't change who He is or His nature) He never told us or showed us what the penalty for our sin was? Would He be a loving God if He kept quiet and allowed us to happily go down the road to eternal destruction? Or would He be a loving God if He did everything possible to show us how serious our sin is and how serious the consequences of that sin is?

Now we go back to those passages in the Bible where you think that God did horrible acts to people. That is called judgment and it was carried out against those people because they deserved it and as a warning to others. The Bible is the account (for the most part) of God's people, the Israelites. It shows us how God dealt with them, but for the most part it does not tell us how God dealt with other people. Except in the rare occasion of passages like these where God brings judgment on someone.

Don't mistake the Bible's silence on this as evidence that God did not also deal with other people. For an example of what I am talking about read the story of Jonah. You will see that God was dealing with a nation other than the Jews. In fact that is what the problem was, Jonah knew how merciful God was and he did not want the people of Nineveh to be saved. He knew that if they would repent God would forgive them, so he figured if he did not preach to them they would not repent and then God would destroy them. The point is this, God is loving and He is merciful, but He only gives so many warnings and so much time for people to repent. If they do He has mercy on them, if they don't then He has no mercy on them.

So I ask again, which is a more loving God, one who tells you right up front what He expects and what the consequences are or one who hides these facts until it is too late?

Let me ask you one more question to try to put this into perspective. Would you agree that God is further above us than we are above the animals? After all He created us and He created them. But yet I want to use an example of us and the animals to make a point. Say that you raised dogs and after doing so for a while you had a litter that was evil and dangerous. Every time you tried to feed them or be nice to them they tried to bit and kill you. Would it not be your right, or even your responsibility to destroy them before they did any real harm? Would you be cruel or unloving for doing so? What gives you the right to kill them? Do you see my point? Believe me it is not the same with God and us. We are so much lower in comparison to Him than dogs are to us that it is not even a good example, but it is the best I can do.

Do we as humans have the right to kill bacteria? That still is not a good example because there is even more of a difference between us and God as there is between us and bacteria, but hopefully you are beginning to see my point. God owes no man an answer, we owe Him. Yet He loves us and sent His only Son to die in our place. That is what I call love. I believe (although the Bible does not specifically say) that God had dealt with those people whom He destroyed in those passages, but that they rebelled (knowingly) against Him. He did not have to put those stories in His word, but He did it so that we might be warned and thereby escape punishment ourselves.

Buddhist might pride themselves on their peace loving books but it won't save anyone and therefore is worthless. The Bible on the other hand is honest and pulls no punches and has the power through its words to save souls. I will take the Bible.

Ralph

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